Strolling through Damascus‘ Al-hamidiyah Souq, one comes across many Levantine delights. The goods on sale include items of local copperware, wooden mosaic artwork and much, much more. Everyone should sample the delights of the Bekdash Ice Cream shop, which serves first-rate, locally made ice cream to help you gain weight! After a wonderful walk, you find yourself in the shadow of the the beautiful Umayyad Mosque.
Built in 1780 under the rule of sultan Abdul Hamid, the souq is named after its creator, hence ‘Al-hamidiyah’. This souq was expanded in 1884 and, later on under the order of Hussain Basha Alazem, its walkway was enclosed by an ornate iron cover that is still there to this day.
The souq also plays host to the bouzuria (spice market) within its long, extending roof. As a result, one can smell all sorts of spices whil wandering through the hall. Spices give Al Hamadieh souq its unique aroma, but the scent of other types of food also fill the air. The top two places to eat are:
1) Bakdash Ice Cream Parlor, which makes pistachio covered pounded ice cream made from mastic and “sahlab“.
2) Abu Al Aiz Resturant, which serves local dishes such as kibbe, tabouleh, fattoush, kabbab, and much more!
The souq tends to be bustling with activity between 11:00 am and 10:00 pm. After 10:00 pm the shops close for the evening.