City & Society

Return to the Origin: Negotiating the Modern and Unmodern in the Old City of Damascus



The 2002 government restoration of Suq inline image in Damascus led to disagreements between officials and merchants over acceptable spatial practice in the marketplace. Though both were vested in the Suq's introduction to the historic Old City, they had different interpretations of this role. Officials emphasized a sanitized and ordered space whereas merchants focused on the commercial activities necessary in the marketplace over discipline. Eventually both interpretations, though at times contradictory, were included in the project. This article illustrates how the replication of modernity in a public space with inherent contradictions is a result of negotiations between formal and informal modernitites.