|Writing is the mother of eloquence and the father
of artists, according to a Syrian saying. Syria has a rich literary tradition.
Poetry is highly regarded. The public recital of odes was a common feature
of Bedouin life. The public reading of poetry is still part of Arab culture.
Many contemporary Syrian writers have moved to
Lebanon, the publishing centre of the Arab world, where they have greater
freedom of speech. Syrian writers often see themselves as representing
all of Arab culture, not just Syrian culture. Two of the best-known Syrian
writers in Beirut are Adunis, a poet who criticizes social and political
structures, and Ghada al-Samman, a poet and novelist who focuses on feminist
|Syrias museums display sculptures and ceramic
art from thousands of years ago. Most of this art dates from the Byzantine
period. Islamic art can be seen in mosques in the form of calligraphy and
intricately patterned mosaics.
There are two types of music in Syria: classical
music, which uses Arabic instruments, and modern music, played by a European-style
orchestra with a lead vocalist and a chorus. There are many similarities
between Arabic music and Arabic literature. Both use repetition and exaggeration
to tell stories about love, honour and family. A traditional instrument
is the oud, a stringed instrument that is the ancestor of the European
film festival is held in Damascus every two years, in autumn. Damascus
also hosts a theatre arts festival in the fall.
|Since the Middle Ages, Damascus has
been famous for the quality of its woven textiles, which are known as damask.
Damask weaving produces a pattern on both sides of the fabric. Today, weavers
still create beautiful textiles from silk, cotton, linen and other fibres.
Other Syrian handicrafts include elaborate filigree jewellery of gold and
silver. Using small pieces of wood in different colours, woodworkers create
complicated patterns on boxes, trays and furniture, a technique known as
marquetry. Damascus is also known for beautiful blown glass.
steel is a special alloy of different metals that was used to make beautiful
swords and knives many centuries ago. This difficult and demanding art
form died out in Syria in the 14th century, but modern craftspeople throughout
the world still try to replicate the original process.