Syria: Damascus – Exploring Damascus Old City

The old city is a relatively small area geographically but it’s so easy to get absolutely lost in this total maze of narrow streets and building with balconies and second/third floors overhanging the streets and obscuring the sun. Add to this dozens and dozens of military checkpoints guarding every and all entrances to the old town and major people-gathering places like mosques and bazaars. Photography of anything check-point or military-related is strictly forbidden; the problem is – sometimes you don’t notice them or they sit in a really picturesque area like in front of a Roman arch which is tempting. When I was photographing a fresh orange juice stand, I didn’t notice a military checkpoint nearby and a 15-minute apologetic conversation with our guide with all paperwork checks ensued. But the juice was worth it – freshly-squeezed and delicious, with a confused seller-boy, a near-panicked guide, and a menacing military checkpoint soldier with AK-47, while the portrait of a smiling Bashar Assad staring at the seen from the wall.