By Christa Salamandra
"[F]illed with infrequent encounters with Syria's oldest, so much elite households. Critics of anthropology's style for exoticism and marginality will enjoy this examine of upper-class Damascus, an international that's urbane and cosmopolitan, but in some ways as distant because the settings during which the simplest ethnography has typically been done.... [Written] with a nuanced appreciation of the cultural varieties in query and the way Damascenes themselves imagine, discuss, and create them." -- Andrew ShryockIn modern city Syria, debates in regards to the illustration, maintenance, and recovery of the outdated urban of Damascus have turn into a part of prestige festival and id building one of the city's elite. In topic eating places and nightclubs that play on pictures of Syrian culture, in tv courses, nostalgic literature, and visible artwork, and within the rhetoric of historical maintenance teams, the belief of the outdated urban has develop into a commodity for the intake of visitors and, most crucial, of latest and outdated segments of the Syrian top classification. during this full of life ethnographic learn, Christa Salamandra argues that during deploying and debating such representations, Syrians dispute the prior and criticize the present.Indiana sequence in heart East experiences -- Mark Tessler, basic editor
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Extra info for A New Old Damascus: Authenticity And Distinction In Urban Syria (Indiana Series in Middle East Studies)
Until the late nineteenth century, most domestic architecture in Damascus was built in the traditional Arab style, with a single entrance and a central courtyard onto which the rooms of the house opened. Grand houses consisted of several courtyards, but rarely more than two stories. Even poorer houses had wells, and sometimes fountains in their courtyard. Trees, bushes, or some form of greenery colored and shaded this central open space. In the early part of the twentieth century, urban notables began to leave their Arab-style, Old City houses for the newly built modern flats of the “garden districts” toward the slopes of Mount Qasiun.
Yet al-Maydan has long been Old Damascus’s most geographically and religiously heterogeneous quarter, a first stop for rural-to-urban migrants, especially those from the Hawran region of southern Syria. To the west of the old wall is the sixteenth-century quarter of alQanawat, formerly a district of notables, its bygone wealth still reflected in elaborate woodwork on balconies and windows. Suq Saruja, a quarter torn in half to make way for Revolution Street, lies “His Family Had a House in Malki” 37 to the north.
West of Sha>lan lies the palm-tree-lined Abu Rummaneh Boulevard, known officially as al-Jala< (Evacuation) Street, named for the withdrawal of French Mandate forces. This is Damascus’s embassy row, home also to the Arab Cultural Center and the French Research Institute (IFEAD). 8 Expensive, old-money apartment buildings occupied by Old Damascenes line the smaller streets on both sides of the boulevard, where average four-room flats sell for 15,000,000 to 25,000,000 SP, and rent for 800,000 to 1,000,000 SP per year.
A New Old Damascus: Authenticity And Distinction In Urban Syria (Indiana Series in Middle East Studies) by Christa Salamandra