The governorate of Damascus continues the execution of restoration plans across the country, particularly the Old City of Damascus, considered an important tourist destination due to its many ruins and shrines, the seven gates and various souks.
The Governor of Damascus has taken care of the Old City in recent years, resulting in an increased the number of tourists.
There are several restoration projects underway in the area, including the restoration of Nakkashat Avenue and the area surrounding the Sayida Ruqaya shrine, where resoration is now 90% completed.
The Director of Old Damascus Department, Tareq Nahhas, told Tishreen the about 400 Syrian Pounds of the 500 Syrian Pounds allocated to the project has already been spent.
"The work is continuing well, but there are some difficulties in the residential areas because…the streets of old Damascus are narrow. Sometimes we find ourselves obliged to block these streets to be able to work on the infrastructure of the area," Nahhas said.
"We faced another problem because the soil there is saturated with salty water and this makes the walls of many houses crack during the digging process."
Concerning the maintenance of restaurants and streets, Nahhas said: "The maintenance of restaurants is carried out by their owners because this is private property, while the Directorate of Old Damascus carries out the maintenance of the streets. Cleaning is carried out by a private company and the Directorate supervises the work. The crew of the company consists of 300 workers," he said.
Nahhas said suggested restoration plans for the current year include the restoration of Bab Touma, al-Fannanin and Huraiqa neighborhoods, in addition to the restoration of the external wall of Old Damascus and the rehabilitation of Kallasa and Asrounieh souks.
"We are also studying the restoration plans for Jazmatieh, Saroujeh and Dakkakin souks," Nahhas said.
Nahhas pointed out that the restoration of touristic facilities in Old Damascus (restaurants and hotels) is observed "on a regular basis by the Directorate of Old Damascus and the Directorate of Tourism."
"The Directorate studies the plans in light of the decisions of the executive bureau and the governorate's council," he said.
Translated and edited by The Syrian Observer