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“Don't miss it” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of The National Museum of Damascus

The National Museum of Damascus
Ranked #7 of 40 things to do in Damascus
Attraction details
London, Canada
Level Contributor
57 reviews
22 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 57 helpful votes
“Don't miss it”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 19, 2010

Not many people pay this place a visit and i wonder why
the museum is literaly full of gems and rare artifacts
just be prepared that it lacks appropriate organization and everything there is written in arabic ...
don't miss the synagogue and the islamic section

4 Thank HistoryWoman
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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36 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • Arabic first
  • English first
  • French first
  • Greek first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Korean first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Level Contributor
22 reviews
20 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
“A must see”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 16, 2009

the wonderful thing about this muesum is how pervasive it is..it covers periods from the Neolithic age to Ottoman era...it was chosen in 2009 as one of best 10 world meuseums despite the old fashion way of exhibiting and mostly French interpretations and thats mainly due to the great value of the pieces
the must see stuff are:
1-Yarhai Palmyrian underground tomb..you have to ask for it to be open to you, since it is not open all the time especially off the high season..wonderful Palmyrian statues and sarcophagi showing the family love and every statue of every deceased.
2-The Dora Europos Synagogh, with its ancient colored frescoes close to 2000 years old
3- the First alphabet found on a small clay tablet from an ancient children school in Phenecian Ugharit on the mediterranean coast; of which all the greek and latin alphabets were later developed.
4-the facade of the museum which is the facade of the desert Western Hir palace which was transferred from the desert and reconstructed..its a great opportunity since its counterpart the Eastern Hir Palace ai even more perfect but due to distance tourits almost never get a chance to see.
4-the Mari Hall on the euphrates has beautiful rare art examples of the Sumerian era
5-the Ebla hall is an example of Amorite civilization art..and many others etc etc etc
Also..next door is the Ottoman Tekkia Suleimania with its art bazzar..you can take both in one day..enjoy

4 Thank eddnash
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
8 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Agree with first two reviews”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 3, 2009

This museum is worth visting. Not because it is some amazing interactive experience. If you need to be spoon fed your museums then this is certainly not the place. No this place has some amazing artefacts, some of which are not easy to find.

Please not the following:

1. Many signs are in Arabic and French only, some are also in English
2. Some displays have labels but they do not always make sense
3. Lighting is an issue so headaches for the not so perfectly sighted may ensue
4. The Synagogue is closed, though if you ask they will open it. When you enter the museum turn left and walk to the end of the corridor. There is a door into an outside courtyard in the far right-hand corner and there is a door into which you see a fresco on three sides of a large room, possibly several metres high.
5. You are not allowed to take photos, but a guard allowed me to and then asked for money. Be warned!
6. The garden outside is quite pretty and has so interesting pieces outside as well. For example there is a collection of stone doors, which are generally missing from the sites across Syria

4 Thank jsdaniels1978
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
41 reviews
17 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 87 helpful votes
“Lovely collection but needs more interpretation....”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 26, 2009

The museum has a wonderful collection taken (or plundered depending on how you view national museums cherry picking the best from regional sites) from across Syria.

There is a wide and variety collection of artefacts from different periods, but they are let down by the lacking of interpretation, which varies from being good in the more modern galleries to non existent in others and the garden. Its a shame as we plan to visit many of the sites in which the objects we found but it was difficult or impossible to tell which item came from which place in many cases. I was also concerned about the conditions within the museum, granted it was a hot day when we visited, over 37 outside and considerably hotter inside but the lighting was not suitable for museum objects being harsh strip lighting or natural daylight flooding in, I'm sure if I had a lux meter it would have been off the scale.

On a positive note there it does seem that work is being undertaken, so hopefully some improvements are on the cards and I was very pleased to learn that some of the collection had been transferred to a new museum at Homs, effectively returning the objects to the location in which they were found, which is much better as it both puts the objects in context and allows visitors to see the site and objects during the same visit.

If you go make sure you get to see the Synagogue, which was behind a locked door when we were there, so we had to find a man to unlock it and let us in, other visitors left without seeing it as its not signed from the main museums building, but its well worth a visit as it so unusual and well preserved.

The cafe in the museum grounds is quiet expensive and doesn't have menus so make sure that you ask the price when ordering or you could be in for a nasty surprise when the bill comes.

The museum closes for an hour on Fridays at 12.30 but the gardens remain open so if you haven't seen everything inside you can wonder or rest in the gardens until it reopens.

4 Thank VJ153
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
119 reviews
72 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 318 helpful votes
“Wonderful collection--well worth a few hours (don't miss the synagogue)”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 10, 2009

The National Museum of Damascus covers several thousand years of history in the Middle East. The exhibits are arranged roughly chronologically and most labels are available in Arabic and one Western language (which one seemed to vary according to who helped fund the particular exhibit or archeological exhibit--French and English were particularly popular).

The museum is sizable, but not overwhelming. I tend to do museums pretty thoroughly, and two hours or so was just the right amount of time for me.

The most unique piece in the museum, is the second century A.D. synagogue. The walls (covered with frescoes) have been moved here from elsewhere in the country. The synagogue was covered with sand with centuries, hence its preservation. The frescoes depicts scenes from the Old Testament and are amazingly vibrant in terms of colors. I have never seen anything quite like this in my travels. My one complain was that the synagogue was poorly lit, so making out some of the scenes was a bit difficult.

The museum also has a lovely courtyard that lends itself to photos, if that's your bag. There's also a little cafe in the courtyard (enclosed in winter)--it's incredibly overpriced, but if you're visiting in the winter and want a place that is actually well-heated for a little bit, it's worth the few extra bucks.

2 Thank travellerin30s
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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