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Damascus (Arabic: دمشق‎{{#invoke:Category handler|main}} Dimashq) is the capital and the second-largest city of Syria after Aleppo. It is commonly known in Syria as ash-Sham (Arabic: الشام‎{{#invoke:Category handler|main}} ash-Shām) and nicknamed as the City of Jasmine (Arabic: مدينة الياسمين‎{{#invoke:Category handler|main}} Madīnat al-Yāsmīn). In addition to being one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, Damascus is a major cultural and religious center of the Levant. The city has an estimated population of 1,711,000 (2009 est.).<ref name="Syrian Population"/>

Located in southwestern Syria, Damascus is the center of a large metropolitan area of 2.6 million people (2004).<ref>Central Bureau of Statistics Syria Syria census 2004</ref> Geographically embedded on the eastern foothills of the Anti-Lebanon mountain range {{safesubst:#invoke:convert|convert}} inland from the eastern shore of the Mediterranean on a plateau {{safesubst:#invoke:convert|convert}} above sea-level, Damascus experiences a semi-arid climate because of the rain shadow effect. The Barada River flows through Damascus.

First settled in the second millennium BC, it was chosen as the capital of the Umayyad Caliphate from 661 to 750. After the victory of the Abbasid dynasty, the seat of Islamic power was moved to Baghdad. Damascus saw a political decline throughout the Abbasid era, only to regain significant importance in the Ayyubid and Mamluk periods. During Ottoman rule, the city decayed while maintaining a certain cultural prestige.{{ safesubst:#invoke:Unsubst||date=__DATE__ |$B= {{#invoke:Category handler|main}}{{#invoke:Category handler|main}}[citation needed] }} Today, it is the seat of the central government and all of the government ministries.


Damascus sections
Intro  Etymology  Geography  History  Economy  Demographics  Historical sites  Education  Transportation  Culture  See also  References  Bibliography  External links  

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