This is the street called straight. The idea of “straight” streets as found in Jeresh, Antioch in Syria and here in Damascus was the idea of constrained areas of trade hence “strait” streets. This was the prescribed location for genuine government sanctioned business.  The significance of this did not strike me until standing in the middle of the street with vehicles and pedestrians passing the narrow passage. This was the shopping mall of Damascus. That the Apostle had been blinded and his sight restored was to be no secret, as everyone in Damascus would have been speaking to their families and colleagues about the experience that day. This was not done in a corner!

The street runs east west as designed under the greeks. It is called Al-Shāri` al-Mustaqīm  or in roman times Decumanus Maximus, and the only roman remnants are seen at the eastern end at bab Sharqi, as a roman arch for the god of the sun. A fallen arch to Jupiter has been reconstructed by the Syrian antiquities department in 1974 at the inteersection with the north-south road, the cardo maximus. The western end is felt by some to be the site of the temple of Jupiter, and a theatre by Herod.

Medhat Pasha built a lead shade over the souk, and the remnants of this protection is seen in the photogrpah above