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Damascus Cafes,C*Temperament of Peoples.

Dec 13, 2010

Damascus, (SANA)-The moderate weather in Damascus almost all year long has given rise to social groupings known as cafes.Peoples inhabiting the Levant are known for being eager to build friendships, organize friendly get-togethers and discuss the social, economic and political situations of the country, which necessitated the existence of places for fun and discussion.

Given the absence of clubs as is the case in other countries such as Egypt, the Damascene cafes came to be a substitute for intellectual and literary clubs where poets and literary figures exchange, discuss and criticize their products.

The Damascene cafes are steeped in history.

The initial reference to those cafes came in the memoirs of a French traveler named '' Jean Tefeneu'' who visited Damascus in 1664.

Tefenu described the cafes as ''Commonplace and available in great numbers in the city''.''All the Damascene cafes are charming, with abundant water, but the most charming are located in the suburbs,'' he added.In his memoirs, he gives a lengthy description of a cafe called ''The Great Cafe'', named thus for the wide area it occupies and made even more charming by virtue of the big number of fountains.

Henry Mondrel, an English traveler, visited Damascus in early seventeenth century.

Fascinated by the beauty of its cafes, he gives an account of these places, describing them as marvelous places where people relish the greenness, water and beautiful faces.The Damascene cafes are also known for the traditional storyteller (Hakawati) who narrates traditional epics of popular heroes such as like al-Zir Salem and al-Zaher Baibars.

He uses a way of narration that inspires suspense and holds the attention of his audience.Major changes have swept the Damascene cafes, yet they retained their old luster, with coffee and tea as the primary drink served there.

Above all, they preserved their place as forums for those interested in literature, poetry and social affairs.M.


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Publication:Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA)
Geographic Code:7SYRI
Date:Dec 13, 2010
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