Shopping in Damascus
The best place to start shopping for crafts is the Tekkiye Suleymaniyye, where prices are fixed, the Hamidiyye Souk and the streets around the Umayyad Mosque where you need to bargain. The eastern end of Straight Street towards Bab Sharqi has several antiques and carpet dealers.
George Dabdoub, next to the Azem Palace in the Old City, stocks an excellent selection of antiques, carpets, textiles and ceramics as well as warehouses with old furniture. It is closed on Saturdays. Ghraoui, al-Muhafaza Building, Sharia al-Joumhouria, is famous all over the Arab world for its excellent chocolates, stuffed dates and glazed fruits.
The Grand Souk al-Hamidiyeh is the most famous souk in Syria. Sackfuls of spices, sweets and soaps are all on offer, as well as the local speciality of rosewater and almond-flavoured ice cream topped with pistachio nuts, available from the country's oldest ice-cream parlour, Bakdash. The Souk al-Bazuriye is good for spices and sweetmeats.
For indoor shopping, head to Damasquino Mall, next to the Cham Centre in Kafr Sousah, where you can buy local handicrafts for fixed prices.
Shopping hours in Damascus vary but are mostly from 0930-1900, with some shops closing from 1330-1600, particularly in summer. The souks are closed on Friday, except for the Christian Quarter where they close on Sunday.