One little-known landmark in Damascus is the world’s largest restaurant: the Damascus Gate Restaurant. Including both indoor and outdoor seating, the Damascus Gate Restaurant has a total 6,014 seats and covers 215,277.4 square feet (20,000 square meters). According to Guinness World Records, seating is available seven days a week except for the outdoor restaurant area from November through January.
Based on The Economist’s Global Liveability Ranking, Damascus is the world’s least livable city among 140 cities studied. In the study, Damascus scored poorly on key factors such as stability, health care, infrastructure and education.
Nevertheless, Damascus continues to be a major cultural center of the Arab world and for Levant countries. The latter embraces parts of Cyprus, Egypt, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine and Turkey in addition to Syria.
Nicknames for Damascus include Al-Fayhaa which is Arabic for spacious, and the “City of Jasmine” for its shrubs and vines in the olive family.
From an international trade perspective, Syria exported an estimated US$462.2 million worth of goods around the globe in 2019. Syria’s most valuable exports are olive oil (19.9% of its global total), cumin and coriander seeds (12%), pistachios (6.3%), apples (5.4%), tomatoes (4.4%), fresh cherries, plums, peaches and apricots (3%), spices (2.5%), calcium phosphates (2.5%), barley (2.2%) and wool (2.2%).
Capital Facts for Damascus, Syria: Quick Reference
Capital landmarks: Umayyad Mosque, Souq al-Hamidiyyeh street market, Old City and the Fortress Wall
Below, you will find 10 of the most famous people born in Damascus, Syria.
- Bashar al-Assad, president (born Sep. 11, 1965)
- Ghassan Massoud, actor & filmmaker (born Sep. 20, 1958)
- Assala Nasri, singer (born May 15, 1969)
- Naser Khader, Danish politician (born Jul. 1, 1963)
- Heba Nour, actress (born Jul. 11, 1987)
- Ziad H. Hamzeh, film director & producer (born Jan. 22, 1959)
- Abbas Al-Noury, actor (born Dec. 8, 1952)
- Wael Sharaf, actor (born Jul. 15, 1977)
- Ghada al-Samman, journalist & novelist (born 1942)
- Kinan Azmeh, jazz fusion clarinetist (born Jun. 10, 1976)
Note: Data for our Famous People tab was sourced from Google searches mostly targeting published Wikipedia articles specific to each person’s name.
Demonym for a Damascus resident: Damascene
Population: 2,392,045 (Damascus urban area) at June 28, 2020
Density: 58,343 people per square mile (22,781 per square kilometer)
Population: 17,498,631 (Syria) at June 28, 2020
Density: 247 people per square mile (95 per square kilometer)
Median age for all Syrians: 25.6 years old
GDP: US$50.28 billion in 2015 (Syria, per CIA World Factbook)
GDP per person: $2,900
Note: The above country-level GDP metrics are on a Purchasing Power Parity basis and are in U.S. dollars. Credible city GDP statistics for Damascus were unavailable.
Official currency used in Damascus: Syrian pound
Brookings Institution, Global Metro Monitor Report (includes GDP data).
Central Intelligence Agency, World Factbook, Field Listing: Major Urban Areas.
Central Intelligence Agency, World Factbook, Middle East: Syria.
CityMetric, Where are largest cities in the world? 2015 edition.
Demographia, World Urban Area, 12th Annual Edition.
Guinness World Records, Largest restaurant.
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Databases.
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on August 1, 2017
Official Website, Damascus, Syria (Embassy of the United States.
The Economist, The Global Liveability Ranking. Accessed on August 24, 2017
Wikimedia Commons, City Flags.
Note: Some city flags were unavailable. If so, attribution belongs to Wikimedia Commons for pertinent country flags.
WorldOMeter, Syria Population.
Syria exited from the League of Nations mandate under French administration on April 17, 1946. Syrians celebrate Independence Day each April 17.
The city perimeter for Damascus contains 41 square miles (105 square kilometers) and was home to an estimated 2.4 million residents including its built-up urban area in June 2020.
At the country level, Syria’s land area covers 70,900 square miles (183,630 square kilometers). The national population count was 17.5 million inhabitants as of June 2020.
Population density is more intense for Syria’s capital city with an average 58,343 Damascenes per square mile (22,781 per square kilometer).
Zooming out to Syria’s overall land boundaries, population density dilutes to an average 247 people per square mile (95 per square kilometer).