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World Heritage Site Ancient City of Damascus

Founded in the 3rd millennium B.C., Damascus is one of the oldest cities in the Middle East. In the Middle Ages, it was the centre of a flourishing craft industry, specializing in swords and lace. The city has some 125 monuments from different periods of its history – one of the most spectacular is the 8th-century Great Mosque of the Umayyads, built on the site of an Assyrian sanctuary.

Criteria for inclusion as a World Heritage Site

iTo represent a masterpiece of human creative genius. All
iiTo exhibit an important interchange of human values, over a span of time or within a cultural area of the world, on developments in architecture or technology, monumental arts, town-planning or landscape design. All
iiiTo bear a unique or at least exceptional testimony to a cultural tradition or to a civilization which is living or which has disappeared. All
ivTo be an outstanding example of a type of building, architectural or technological ensemble or landscape which illustrates (a) significant stage(s) in human history. All
viTo be directly or tangibly associated with events or living traditions, with ideas, or with beliefs, with artistic and literary works of outstanding universal significance. (The Committee considers that this criterion should preferably be used in conjunction with other criteria). All
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World Heritage Site 1998
Ouadi Qadisha (the Holy Valley) and the Forest of the Cedars of God (Horsh Arz el-Rab)

The Qadisha valley is one of the most important early Christian monastic settlements in the world. Its monasteries, many of which are of a great age, stand in dramatic positions in a rugged landscape. Nearby are the remains of the great forest of cedars…

Atlas Obscura 2020
Nimrod Fortress

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World Heritage Site 1980
Ancient City of Bosra

Bosra, once the capital of the Roman province of Arabia, was an important stopover on the ancient caravan route to Mecca. A magnificent 2nd-century Roman theatre, early Christian ruins and several mosques are found within its great walls.

World Heritage Site 1984

The city of Anjar was founded by Caliph Walid I at the beginning of the 8th century. The ruins reveal a very regular layout, reminiscent of the palace-cities of ancient times, and are a unique testimony to city planning under the Umayyads.

Clarisses Sisters Unity Chapel
Hraiche Pool
World Heritage Site 1984

This Phoenician city, where a triad of deities was worshipped, was known as Heliopolis during the Hellenistic period. It retained its religious function during Roman times, when the sanctuary of the Heliopolitan Jupiter attracted thousands of pilgrims. …

Atlas Obscura 2020
The Egg

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Atlas Obscura 2019
Monastery of Our Lady of Sednayah

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Interdesign Building
Atlas Obscura 2021
Hunin Castle

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Convalescent Home (today: King Solomon Hotel)
Atlas Obscura 2017
Beirut’s Grudge House

The city's thinnest building was the result of feuding brothers.

Atlas Obscura 2019
Mount Tabor

Discover Mount Tabor in Shibli, Israel: This dome-shaped mountain boasts amazing views and has a rich religious history.

Atlas Obscura 2017
Tower of Claudius

Discover Tower of Claudius in Kesrouane, Lebanon: The ruins of a monumental tower in the heart of Lebanese mountains still puzzle archeologists.

World Heritage Site 1984

The ruins of many successive civilizations are found at Byblos, one of the oldest Phoenician cities. Inhabited since Neolithic times, it has been closely linked to the legends and history of the Mediterranean region for thousands of years. Byblos is als…

Atlas Obscura 2018
Zodiac Mosaic of Hammat Tiberias

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Atlas Obscura 2022
Ein Keshatot (Spring of the Arches)

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Post 2020
Which are the oldest cities in the world?
Dr. Melki Hospital
Our Lady of the Fortress Basilica (Saydet el Hosn)
Immigrants Hostel (today The Alfred & Irma Morgenthau Absorption Center)
Atlas Obscura 2018
Mount Arbel

Discover Mount Arbel in Hamaam, Israel: An iconic view point of the Sea of Galilee offers a look into Israel's past.

Brutalism 1962
Ministry of Defense
Atlas Obscura 2018
Byblos Archaeological Site

Discover Byblos Archaeological Site in Jbeil, Lebanon: A patchwork of ruins from various civilizations in one of the world's oldest continually inhabited cities.