Souk El-Hamidiyeh, Damascus

19 Reviews

Been here? Rate It!

hide
  • A textile market off of Hamidiya
    A textile market off of Hamidiya
    by mikey_e
  • Night shopping at Al-Hamidiya
    Night shopping at Al-Hamidiya
    by mikey_e
  • More of the night market
    More of the night market
    by mikey_e
  • TheWanderingCamel's Profile Photo

    Who will buy?

    by TheWanderingCamel Updated Jan 28, 2007

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Shapping mall - Syrian style

    Light twinkles like stars through the bullet holes in the iron roof of the Hamidiyeh Souq, and the lamps lining the wide passage give the whole place a glow. Below is a seething, heaving mass of people - local women shopping for everyday items, girls pointing at elaborate wedding dresses, carpet and curio salesman trying to lure tourists in to their shops, men with stuffed hawks sitting on their wrist, boys selling the flourescent-lit tubes and other knick-knacks you see all over the world, families heading for the icecream parlours. Druze women in their delicate white muslin veils, old men in traditional dishdashas and checked keffiyehs, young girls in jeans and their mothers in hijab. On and on it goes, until finally you come out into the sunshine of the newly smartened-up square in front of the Omayyed Mosque.
    Come back again after 6 and all is shuttered and closed. A few last people are drifting around but that is all. Now is the time to see just how big the souq is before you too take yourself off to your evening pursuits.
    Before it closes for the day, stop at the icecream parlour (the second one down) for a mastic icecream covered in chopped pistachios. I'm not all that fond of it, MrL loves it - you need to try it though, it's a favourite Damascus treat.

    Was this review helpful?

  • Bavavia's Profile Photo

    Souq al Hamadiyyeh

    by Bavavia Updated Mar 18, 2008

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    1 more image

    This bazaar is very busy and crowded all of the time. There are pushy merchants of course here and in all bazaars, but I found the pressure much less here than in Cairo for example where the merchants are very pushy and pratically follow you and plead with you to visit their shop....so I found it much easier to navigate through this bazaar....it was very crowded, people everywhere, but the merchants didnt really bother you much.

    Was this review helpful?

  • iwys's Profile Photo

    Souk Al-Hamidiyya

    by iwys Updated Apr 14, 2007

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    4 more images

    Souk al-Hamidiyya took its current form in the 19th century, when the governor of Damascus enlarged a much older souk and covered it with its characteristic corrugated iron roof. It is named after the Ottoman Sultan Abdel Hamid II. The two-storey shops which line it sell a range of goods including clothes, accessories, jewellery and carpets.

    One thing you will notice is the dappled lighting affect produced by the sun streaming in through the hundreds of bullet holes in the roof. these were cause by celebrating Arab riflemen after the Turks and Germans retreated in 1917. Then more were added in 1925 by machine guns in French planes, firing down at Syrian rebels.

    Related to:
    • Work Abroad
    • Architecture
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • xaver's Profile Photo

    souq al-hamidiyya

    by xaver Written Jan 6, 2004

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    souq al-hamidiyya

    I always look for and appreciate local markets, but the ones I love more are definitly arab souks, I never found anywhere else so much variety of colours, smells, tastes.
    This the most important souk in Damascus and it is definitly a must see, I could have spent the day there simply tasting their icecreams, their sweats, wandering through shops and watching the life go on.

    Was this review helpful?

  • xristos83's Profile Photo

    Souq Al-Hamidiyeh

    by xristos83 Written Mar 31, 2006

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Roman arches mark the entrance of the Souq
    1 more image

    This souq is gigantic and crazy! I personally did not like it as the souq in Aleppo was much better and relaxed (it put me in the buying mood). This souq is nice for people watching though, but as far as shopping goes I though there was too much junk to sift through in order to find anything. The Al-Tekiyeh Al-Sulaymaniyeh Mosque is a MUCH nicer place to buy gifts as the merchandise is higher quality.

    Was this review helpful?

  • MM212's Profile Photo

    Souks of Damascus

    by MM212 Updated Apr 10, 2008

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Souk al-Attarin
    4 more images

    Since ancient times, Damascus has been known as a commercial centre due to its strategic position at the end of the southern caravan routes traversing through Arabia and Africa. As a result, it developed a large market (called "souk") which has become the focus of daily Damascene life. The souk is in fact divided into several adjacent souks, each sometimes specialising in a different product (silk, spices, etc.), though over time, this feature became less pronounced. The most famous is called Souk Al-Hamidiyya, which runs just south of the Citadel from the western city wall to the Roman Propylaea and the Omayyad Mosque. Others include Souk al-Bzouriya (spices, nuts), Souk al-Harir (silk), Souk Midhat Pacha, and Souk al-Attarin (perfumes). These souks tend to be covered to shelter shoppers from summer heat. When visiting Damascus, you must allow yourself at least a day to wander through the souks and discover intriguing merchandise. The friendly shopkeepers are usually delighted to offer you tea. For more photos, click on the travelogue: Souks of Damascus.

    Was this review helpful?

  • MalenaN's Profile Photo

    The Souq

    by MalenaN Updated Apr 22, 2005

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Souq al-Hamadiyya, Damascus
    2 more images

    Many visitors enter the souq and the Old City via Souq al-Hamadiyya, which goes from the west to the Umayyad Mosque. It is the main street of the covered bazaar, a wide street with several souvenir shops. South of the Umayyad Mosque you will find narrower streets and a density of goods for sale. Take your time to walk around on back streets and to look in to courtyards of khans, madrasas, mosques and hammams.

    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • fouads's Profile Photo

    souk

    by fouads Updated Aug 25, 2003

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    damascus

    From the most important thing to do in Damascus is visiting the coverd bazar (alhamedya souk ) it,s really wonderfull and you can see there many local things and gifts , hand made textiles and bnoxes .

    Was this review helpful?

  • uglyscot's Profile Photo

    Al hamaidiya indoor market :-

    by uglyscot Written May 31, 2010

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    inside the market
    4 more images

    This souk is similar to but smaller than that in Istanbul. The main section is devoted mainly to clothes, especially for women, There are shops for tablecloths and decorated table mats, sheesha pipes, toys and a myriad other things. Light filters down from the roof or from side streets.
    It can be very crowded, but also great for people watching. The drink sellers in their fez and bright garments are photo-shy which is a pity as they are so colourful.
    At the end on the market is a courtyard with some ancient pillars and then the entrance to the Omayyad Mosque.

    We were not tempted to buy anything.

    Related to:
    • Business Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • sorrow's Profile Photo

    Souq al-Hamidiyeh

    by sorrow Written Nov 26, 2003

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Souq al-Hamidiyeh

    It dates back to 1863, to the rule of the Ottoman Sultan Abdul-Hamid, after whom the souq was called. It is covered with high iron vaulting, so old that sun rays filter through it into the darkness of the souq. The shops here sell everything from tissues to leather-work, from sweets and ice-cream to exquisite handmade brocades, mosaic, and copper inlaid with silver

    Was this review helpful?

  • DunaKal's Profile Photo

    The old souk

    by DunaKal Updated Dec 13, 2005

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Souk El-Hamidiyeh:

    one of Damascus oldest places,it`s filled with shops and restaurants.
    The prices here are very cheap,make sure you bargain to get the best price for your souvenirs.

    It runs 500 meters from east to west and ends at a Roman archway before the Umayyad mosque.

    This bazaar has been rebuilt several times, most recently in the 13th century. It is built on the site of an ancient Roman fortress. Some of these remains can still be seen as you walk through the souk.

    Related to:
    • Budget Travel
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • call_me_rhia's Profile Photo

    souq al-hamidiyya

    by call_me_rhia Written Jan 20, 2003

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    bracelets at the souq al-hamidiyya

    The souq! This is the posh and covered part of the damascus souq! It's "ceiling" is very high and shaped as a vault, shops here are two storey high, which I believe is quite a rarity. Most of the shops - though very nice to look at - are generally speaking quite tourist-oriented. They do sell some really nice things - and it's worth to look out for the dresses here: a mix between western and syrian style; which is something that one might still want to wear once home. As for all the other items - tablecloths especially - it's possibly to find cheaper ones just around the corner, in the rest of the souq. In case I gave you a dab impression: thissouq is spectacular: not for buying but for window-shopping. At night, when it's lit up and the shops are closed, it's really something else

    Was this review helpful?

  • atufft's Profile Photo

    Temple of Jupiter turned Souq

    by atufft Written Mar 24, 2006

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Souq al Hamadiyyeh
    4 more images

    The Souq al Hamideh is not as large as the souk in Aleppo by my reckoning, and bargains seemed fewer. However, the retrofit iron and steel roof, shot full of holes by French air assault in 1925 and again in 1945, provides a curious appearance of a constellation of tiny lights in an otherwise dimly lit environment. Outside the citadel wall entrance, the image of Assad reminded had everyone that little would change as long as he's in power. On the first visit, we walked past the shops and spent most of our time examining the columns and arches that are the remains of the Temple of Jupiter.

    Related to:
    • Archeology
    • Festivals
    • Architecture

    Was this review helpful?

  • mikey_e's Profile Photo

    Make way for shoppers!

    by mikey_e Written Nov 16, 2012

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Night shopping at Al-Hamidiya
    3 more images

    If Damascus is one of the oldest cities in the world – if not the oldest city in the world – one would expect it to have a considerably old souq. Damascus does not disappoint whatever the visitor’s expectation might be in this regard. Al-Hamidiya Souq is a massive complex, teeming with merchants selling everything imaginable, as well as restaurants and sweet shops that cater to traditional tastes (such as the ice cream shop Bakdash). Of course, many of these stores, at least before the outbreak of unrest and the civil war, had an eye to the tourists came in from Europe and North America, but their main clients continued to be Syrians and the hordes of Iranian tourists who came for religious pilgrimage and stayed for the shopping. Al-Hamidiya may have a covered arcade that is similar to shopping areas in Paris or Brussels, but it is in fact a remnant of Ottoman rule, despite incorporating older architectural features, such as the Ruins of the Jupiter Temple.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Architecture

    Was this review helpful?

  • PierreZA's Profile Photo

    A Main Attraction

    by PierreZA Written Apr 16, 2010

    3 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Souk El-Hamidiyeh

    This massive souk seems to be the main thoroughfare into the old city, as it ends on a square at the Umayyad Mosque. It is not the most exciting of the Damascus souks, but still a great place to stroll. It is always busy.

    Mostly textiles and clothing are sold here, although there are also some souvenir shops.
    There are many touts approaching you with invitations to their shops, located in other souks or areas.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

Instant Answers: Damascus

Get an instant answer from local experts and frequent travelers

66 travelers online now

Comments

View all Damascus hotels