Most of the cafes littering Jebl Qasioun, high above Damascus, opened 6 years ago.
During the spring of 2003, lots of florescent multi-coloured cafes and restaurants appeared. Through the spring of 2009, many of them have vanished.
If you look up at the mountain from the city below, the mountain road used to be quite clear to see – a line of green, red and yellow lights. Like a sky-high funfair peering down on Damascus. But it’s always had a reputation. The cafes and restaurants are generally known for their poor food, and prices as high as the mountain they’re on.
Now, if you look up at the jebl, something’s changed. There are gaps in the lights along the road. Many of the cafes have closed – leaving just a handful of the more reputable places. And they haven’t just shut – they’ve been bulldozed.
The street-side Nescafe vendors – many who’ve come from outside Damascus looking for work – have taken their place, setting up their plastic chairs on the rubble overlooking Damascus.