Thursday, October 19, 2006

Damascus in 1936

If you are interested in history, you can download this film clip of Damascus recorded exactly 70 years ago by an American traveller, Paul Devlin.

Damascus 1936. (AVI format, 14 megabytes)- see the comments section at the bottom of this post for instructions on how to download it.

Mr devlin was fascinated by the history of Damascus but not very impressed by its inhabitants. Remarks such as "not very sanitary", "the baker is not wearing gloves" and "cheap soap on sale but judging by the appearance of the people, there isn't much demand for it" really shocked me, but I found myself totally agreeing with him. Plus ca change...! Basic hygene is still a huge problem in the whole of syria to this day. Rather than be ashamed to admit it (and expect tourists to come back), people and the government should clean up their act. You can see camels wandering about in the city centre alongside trams and horse-driven coaches.


Philip I said...

If you are not familiar with the rapidshare site, do the following:

1) copy and paste the link into your browser and hit return
2) You will be asked whether you want to use the free or premium download option, select "free"
3) make sure you have javascript enabled and third party cookies allowed in the privacy/security settings of your browser
4) a digital counter will countdown for about 60 seconds,then a security code will appear on the page as an image, which you have to copy into a box on the same page. A new link will then appear for you to click on to download the file.

Yazan said...

This is sooo good,


Omar said...

This is amazing.. I am watching this and don't know if this is now or 70 years ago.. the faces, places and actions are still exactly the same..
shows how slowly we are catching up..

عشتار said...

Hi Philip
I downloaded the file but couldnt see picture only sound , though i would like to see Damascus , before 70 years and also now
I just met someone who came from Damascus yesterday and he was telling me that it looks very much like the old parts of Cairo
(ill be taking photos from old cairo and posting on my photography blog soon)
But i beleive that hygene is a middleastern problem , i always told my friends if you want to enjoy cairo you should try to forget about hygene , which is very hard to do!!
but it starts from the people first of all , and most of them dont realy care and not even bothered...

Philip I said...


Try using an up to date version of Microsoft Media Player. It has a wider range of "codex" (coding-decoding algorithms) for playing such files.

In fact, the film clip is bigger than the one I posted. It includes a section on Jerusalem in 1936 which is even longer than the one on Damascus. Since I believe you will be "mildly" interested in seeing it :) I will uploaded the whole uncut file (32 megabytes) as soon as I can. The rapidshare site is not allowing uploads at present. All their drives are full! Alternatively you can send me an email (to and I will reply with a temporary link to a private server from which you can download the file.

shyju said...

hey it says file not available... can u pls email me the video, really appreciate, i am doing a seminar on the 6day war, wil appreciate any resources on teh same..thank you..