Hans, or caravanserais, are amongst our favourite type of buildings and the old city of Damascus is rich in them.

Out in the countryside they were overnight halts for caravans transporting goods and people; the performed the same function in the towns and cities where they also acted as warehouses and workshops.

The old city of Damascus is rich in hans from the Azem han, recently restored, to decrepit old structures that seem to be on the point of collapse but are still in use.

Here’s a small one, with traditional pool in the centre of the courtyard, now housing an artist’s studio.

And here are views of the magnificent Azem han which, whilst in perfect condition, is sadly empty and, as far as we are concerned, crying out to be used.

Again you see the striped stonework which is a traditional Arab feature that, as we shall show you, can also be found in some places in Turkey.

We think the Azem Han would make a fantastic hotel – though the heating bills would be daunting!

Azem han Damascus Azem han Damascus