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The Eighth Gate of Damascus is becoming reality

December 1st, 2008 · 10 Comments · Uncategorized

There are seven gates on the Old City of Damascus. Now an eighth one’s being built. The Eighth Gate project isn’t actually anywhere near the Old City. It’s in the millionaire-suburb of Yaafour.

We first learned about it two long years ago. And they started selling the unfinished properties earlier this year. Apparently, there is already huge demand – even though we haven’t been able to walk inside the new town. And it’s already nearly two years behind schedule. Some things never change.

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I say town, because that’s what it will be. It’s not a shopping centre, it’s not a block of flats. It’s not even a large development. It will cover 300,000 square metres. Suddenly the word ‘gate’ doesn’t seem appropriate – Eighth Gate will need a whole set of its own gates.

The company goes even further: “This vibrant city will encapsulate the modern and progressive energy of any of today’s modern city centres.”

It’s also going to be the site of the Syrian Stock Exchange.

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Here’s what you can expect: apartments, offices, restaurants, the largest shopping mall in the Levant, a five-star hotel, gyms, parks, a river – with waterfront cafes. And the whole place will be covered by high-speed wifi (free?). It’s a self-sufficient town. There’s no need to leave the development.

The Emirati creators say they want to put a bit of Dubai luxury into Damascus. And that’s exactly what it looks like. Rich Damascenes will no longer need to move to the Gulf, or America. They’ll have it right here.

But it’s not all for the elite. To get the licence to build this new city, Emaar had to guarantee a number of affordable (i.e. cheap) properties.

That’s the same kind of deal companies have to sign up to in London. And it has helped reduce the number of homeless people. Now that is ‘development’.

UPDATE: In the comment section Jabi adds that they started selling the apartments in 2007. Prices are a quarter of a million dollars for 100 square metres. Nearby, the French Carrefour supermarket is planning to open its first branch in Syria.

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10 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Jabi // Dec 1, 2008 at 4.36 pm

    Yes, they started selling Office spaces actually in the summer of 2007. It took them 2 days to completely sell the offices (or have people listed to buy the offices). An office of 100 meters squared would cost around $250,000.

    Besides the Eighth Gate, there is another development owned by a Syrian Businessman called Riyad Kahaleh, which is two large residential complexes as well as a supermarket which is going to be operated by the French carrefour group.
    Interesting to see though where all that water will be coming from.

  • 2 Moey // Dec 2, 2008 at 3.15 am

    That is great news.

  • 3 Dania // Dec 2, 2008 at 12.21 pm

    This project is so “commercial” to be called the eighth gate, it just doesn’t fit and it is just using the in inheritance of Damascus in a way that doesn’t fit.

    Using the old city style in a big shopping centre is just intellectually immoral, or let’s not get so extreme, it’s just tacky and cheap.

    Damascus will never become Dubai, that will never every happen.

  • 4 Sarah // Dec 2, 2008 at 8.59 pm

    Ugh. I certainly hope Damascus never becomes anything like Dubai.

    But I guess we know where all the American embassy officials will want to live now…because for God’s sake, I’ve never met a set of people living in Syria who seemed to know so little about the country.

  • 5 lirun // Dec 3, 2008 at 10.54 am

    sounds very impressive.. i hope syria can sustain this project during a time of global property price contraction..

    i wouldnt be proud of having the largest mall in the levant.. malls are foul.. i would much prefer to have the largest souk.. anyday..

  • 6 Maria // May 23, 2009 at 10.41 pm

    Hmmm… Syria becoming Dubia?? No thanks, there is nothing becoming of Dubai.
    Syria has a charcteristic that the people in Dubai can only dream of.
    As for the large Malls, they are for the lifeless shopper, I much prefer the adventure of the markets. I hope that this desease of million dollar living isn’t catchy!

  • 7 Maysaloon // May 24, 2009 at 3.16 pm

    What are the old souks if not the shopping malls of their time? With the best of intentions, I think that people who wish to keep Syria as some quaint and authentic tourist destination can do more damage than benefit. Ours has always been an industrious, commercial region so this is nothing new, if slightly bland looking.

  • 8 Umniya // May 24, 2009 at 4.11 pm

    in Yaafour?..Great ..go on people..cut down more trees.. let Syria go to hell..let Damascus burn in polution.
    !!

  • 9 nami // May 24, 2009 at 9.54 pm

    its so freakin’ awesome!!! it’s hot! people are gonna be embarrassed to go to damasquino once this project is done! i bet people who live in sham would take a room in the hotel of how cool it is…i know i would

  • 10 Linda // Apr 28, 2010 at 3.09 pm

    Hi, its nice to read your blog and learn more about what is new in Damascus/Syria and such. Its equally as interesting to read the replies. Thanks guys for posting your thoughts!

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