It is not very often that the beauty of a building brings tears to my eyes, but a rare such occurrence happened to me when visiting the main mosque in Damascus, which has stood since 715 and is considered by many Muslims to be the 4th holiest place in Islam.
During the daytime the Umayyad Mosque was awesome and a fitting place to site the Mausoleum of Saladin, but it was night time that the place really shone brightly to bring out the emotion in me.
As day turned to dusk, the call to prayer summoned worshippers from all around the city. One thing that really stood out to me was the number of families enjoying the main courtyard for a relaxing stroll before going to pray in the main hall, divided into two halves – one for women & children and one for men.
The interior of the hall was wonderful with its ornate stucco mihrabs, plush carpets, carved columns, wonderful ceiling and richly decorated shrines.
However, it was the outside that really captivated me. The place was lit to perfection, shining golds & greens off the marble surface of the walls & domes and the stone minarets.
Lanterns hung from the ceilings of the columned arcades and all blazed away into the moonlit dark blue sky, .
I was spellbound, but recovered my composure enough to click away to capture the scenes for ever. That is until unfortunately the time came for the guards to quite rightly usher the few travellers out, to leave the majestic venue for the worshippers.