DAMASCUS

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DAMASCUS ; a city of Syria, the capital of the pachalic of the same name, situated in a fertile plain amidst extensive gardens, forming a circuit of between 25 and 30 miles. The streets are in general narrow, of regular width, though not in straight lines: they are well paved, and have elevated footpaths on each side. Damascus contains above 500 large and magnificent houses, which are entitled to the name of palaces: each house has a canal or fountain. The mosques and chapels are also numerous, and the grand mosque is of great extent and magnificence. An hospital for the indigent sick is attached to the edifice. This mosque is said to have been, originally, a Christian church, and the cathedral of Damascus. The mosques are mostly fronted by a court. One mosque is beautifully adorned with all kinds of fine marble, like mosaic pavement; and the tower or minaret of another is entirely cased with pantiles. There are several hospitals here, of which the finest is that constructed by the sultan Selim, consisting of a spacious quadrangle, lined by an interior colonnade, which is entirely roofed by 40 small domes, covered with lead. On the south side of the court is a mosque, with a magnificent portico and two fine minarets, which is surmounted by a spacious cupola. There is a Greek, Maronite, Syrian and Armenian church. There ore eight synagogues of the Jews* The castle, situated towards the southwest part of the city, and about three quarters of a mile in circuit, is a fine rustic edifice, with three square towers in front, and five on each side. This city is the seat of a considerable trade. It was celebrated for the manufacture of sabres, of such peculiar quality as to be perfectly elastic and very hard. Extensive manufactures are carried on in silk and cotton stuffs. Leather is likewise an article of manufacture here, but no linen is made. A great quantity of soap is fabricated, and exported to Egypt. Dried fruits and sweetmeats are sent to Turkey. Cotton cloths, handkerchiefs, slippers, copper kettles, horseshoe nails, tobaccopipes, and spiceries, shawls, and the rich fabrics of Surat, are brought through Bagdad; iron, lead, tin, cochineal, broadcloth, sugar, and such other European articles as are required in the city, come through Saida, Bairout and Tripoli. Commerce is carried on chiefly by caravans, of which the principal is that in which the pilgrims annually proceed to Mecca. Three caravans besides, each accompanied by above 2500 armed men, go thrice a year to Bagdad, the journey occupying 30 days; those to Aleppo travel twice or thrice a month; besides which, there are many to different parts of Syria* Damascus is a place of great antiquity and is alluded to in the account of the time of Abraham. The population amounts, according to Burckhardt, in his Travel.* through Arabia, to 250,000, including ma o ny Catholics and Jews ; the remaining inhabitants are Mohammedans. 136 miles N. Jerusalem. Lon. 36° 30' E.; lat. 38° 3CN.