…Damascus measures time not by days
and months and years,
but by the empires she has seen rise
and crumble to ruin. …
Damascus has seen all that has ever occurred on earth,
and still she lives.
She has looked upon the dry bones of a thousand empires,
and will see the tombs of a thousand more before she dies.
Though another claims the name,
is by right,
the Eternal City.
Sorry folks, it’s been a while since the last update and our time in Damascus now seems far behind us. Nevertheless, it’s a city that won’t fade easily from our memories, and one that we regretfully bade farewell to after our five, oh-too-short, days there. We could happily have spent many more days exploring the narrow lanes that snake around the old city, getting caught up in the frantic bustle of the souks, enjoying the stillness of the Chapel of St Paul, and tracing back through the remnants of early Roman, Christian and Muslim history that permeate the old city still.
From Damascus we also took a day to visit Maalula, one of only three remaining villages where Aramaic is still spoken as a daily language. We stayed overnight in a Greek Orthodox convent overlooking Thekla’s Gap, a canyon that apparently appeared in the rock to allow St Thekla to escape the Roman soldiers pursuing her, and celebrated Mass the following morning at nearby St Serguis monastery – just us and the Greek Catholic priest. At least one of us knew what was going on.
Maalulu is quite possibly the windiest place on earth and we have amusing videos of our attempts to make any progress walking into the wind to prove it….