new town, Damascus
New Damascus is not exactly a pretty sight, in terms of things to see: the hejaz train station, the national museum, Takiyya as-Suleimaniyya - and very little else. However I love it. It's centered around al-Merjeh square (the Martyr's square), is home to many hotels and... it's as sleezy as Syria can get. This means very little sleazy, but still I really adored the slight hint of very tame red light district - very interesting...
Fondest memory: Walking around and enjoying the sight of the many wannabe porno cinemas and films... the area is as safe as anywhere else in Damascus or Syria. And being frequently stopped and asked if i was Russian... which I translated into "prostitute" since someone told me that the "pro's" mainly come from there... and then beingoffered apologies for the inappropriate question. Fun!
Central Damascus is the modern heart of the city to the west of the Old City. It is characterised by medium-high rise office and apartment blocks topped with a sea of satellite dishes, small shops, big roundabouts, street vendors, roads full of small Chinese and Korean cars and hazy air, which is usually polluted enough for you to notice it. This is also where most of the hotels are, ranging from the glitzy five-star Cham Palace to shabby, backstreet doss-houses.
Highlights for the visitor are the Hejaz Railway Station and the National Museum.
Favorite thing: some areas are extremely rich, for instance "mezze" , where you will see big cars from the gulf or emirates