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Damascus (pop. 1,378,000), capital and largest city of Syria, founded c.2,000 B.C. and possibly the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world. From its origin until A.D. 635 it was ruled by a succession of all the major powers of the Middle East, including the Egyptians, Israelites, Greeks, Romans, and Byzantines. In 635 it was taken by the armies of the new Muslim state expanding out of the Arabian peninsula. It has been Islamic ever since. During the Umayyad dynasty (661–750), Damascus was the capital of an Arab empire extending from Spain to Persia. After 750 it was held by many rulers, mostly Arab and Turkish. Its major architectural landmark is its Great Mosque.

See also: Syria.

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21st Century Webster's Family Encyclopedia21st Century Webster's Family Encyclopedia - Cretinism to Davis, David