The Umayyad Mosque of Damascus, the fourth holiest place in Islam, and erected over 1300 years ago on the site of an Aramaic temple dating to two millennia before the Common Era, a Roman temple to Jupiter in the 1st C of the Common Era, and Basilica to St. John the Baptist in the 4th C. of the Common Era. The present-day mosque was built from the stones of the Basilica and was for a period of time a joint cathedral-mosque.
Until this day the Umayyad Mosque welcomes into its sanctuary all peoples of faith who seek solace and peace. May it remain a symbol of peace and strength for the Syrian people as they succumb to a period of crisis and disorder. The Umayyad Mosque stands as a reminder that Syrian civilization has very deep and extensive roots, in a variety of faiths and peoples, that will transcend the barbarities of the present era.