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Damascus is the capital and largest ancient city of Syria, believed to have been founded in the third millennium BCE. Damascus is located in the eastern foothills of the Eastern Lebanon Mountain Range, near the delta of the Barada River.

History[]

Middle Ages[]

Umayyad Caliphate[]

Between the 7th and the 8th centuries, Damascus was the capital of the Umayyad Caliphate where a great mosque was built in their honor. In 750, the Umayyads were overthrown by the Abbasid Revolution and Damascus lost its status of capital over the newly-founded Baghdad near the Tigris.[1]

Crusades[]

During the Second Crusade, around 1148, the city repelled multiple attacks until being acquired by Saladin in the year 1174. Upon gaining control of the city, he granted scholars from far and wide the chance to study in one of the many Madrasahs scattered throughout the city's neighborhoods. During the Third Crusade, it had an approximate population of 45,323. Since the city was virtually unaffected by the war, it remained an extremely clean and gorgeous site. During the same period, two factions brought their secret war in Damascus: the Templars, seeking to bring peace through total control; and the Assassins, defending the freewill of common people.[2]

In 1189, a Templar known as "the Hideout" had the Vejovis' dagger, a Piece of Eden. The Levantine Assassin and Vejovis' Sage Faisal went to Damascus and posed as a Templar when he met the Hideout to recover the artifact. They were interrupted by the Assassin Rafee who believed that Faisal betrayed the Brotherhood. Faisal was forced to kill Raffee but explained his act before he gave his last breath. Faisal left Damascus with the dagger travelling to Beirut before going to Constantinople.[3]

In 1190, the Templars Tamir and Alaat were in Damascus, working with the Order to find the Chalice, a mysterious artifact that could unify Holylands. In the city, the circus dancer Fajera had one of the three keys of the Temple of Sand where the Chalice was. The Master Assassin Altaïr Ibn-La'Ahad went into the city to prevent the Templars from recovering the artifact. He tracked Tamir who informed him about the Temple and Fajera.[4] After he killed Tamir, Altaïr met the dancer who granted him the key and tasked him to kill Alaat as they were enemies. The Assassin infiltrated the bathhouse of the noble district and killed the Templar.[5]

By the summer of 1191, the city was still under the influence of three high-ranking Templars: the arms dealer Tamir, the merchant king Abu'l Nuqoud, and the Chief Scholar Jubair al Hakim. Under the leadership of the Grand Master Robert de Sablé, they worked to conquer the Holyland for the Order. They planned to use an Apple of Eden to control a great army, Tamir using all his connections to create the weapons while Abu'l financed the operation.[6]

The Levantine Assassins' Mentor Al Mualim worked with the Templars to recover the Apple and sent Altaïr to eliminate any link between him and the Order.[6] While Tamir inspected his collaborators at the Souk Al-Silaah, the Templar was killed by Altaïr.[7] Later, Abu'l organized a party in his palace and poisoned the wine to eliminate the nobles of the city who financed Saladin army. While the last guests were slaughtered by the archers, Abu'l was killed by Altaïr.[8] Later, Jubair ordered the scholars to collect all the city's manuscripts to burn them in public bonfires, believing that knowledge only led to further division. During one of the bonfires, Chief Scholar was killed by Altaïr, ending the Templar influence on Damascus.[9]

Mamluk Sultanate[]

By the 16th century, Damascus was controlled by the Mamluk Sultanate. Around 1511, roads north of Damascus were blocked by Ottoman troops, crippling many of the city's northern trade routes. In spite of the truce with the Ottoman Empire, the Italian Mentor Ezio Auditore da Firenze sent Ottoman Assassin apprentices to drew the army away from their position by any means necessary.[10]

As the Assassins succeeded, a detachment of Safavid soldiers filled the power vacuum north of the city, the Mamluks Sultan Al-Ashraf Qansuh al-Ghawri making an alliance with them to attack Bursa. As they suspected an alliance between the two factions, the Assassins infiltrated the Safavid camp and discovered their plan.[11] As the Safavid high command was stationed in Damascus as the personal guest of the Sultan, they Assassins eliminated the Safavid generals and crippled their command structure.[12]

As the Assassins training facilities in Damascus were of middling quality, the Assassins stole Templars to upgrade their building.[13]

18th century[]

By the 18th century, Damascus was part of the Ottoman Empire. In 1757, the British Templar Haytham Kenway journeyed to Damascus to locate his half-sister Jenny, who had been sold into slavery in the palace of As'ad Pasha al-Azm. Haytham and Jim Holden disguised themselves as eunuchs to infiltrate the palace. However, while Haytham escaped with Jenny, Holden was captured fending off guards.[14]

Districts[]

Poor district[]

The Poor District was considered to be a very busy section and constantly packed with citizens. This caused a lot of traffic throughout the streets with many civilians moving about. It was home to the Sinan Pasha Mosque and the sprawling and very impressive Souk Al-Silaah, which was a major trading point within the city and dominated the surrounding area. Due to its eloquent ceremonial courtyard, situated in the center, the Souk was the site where the Templar and arms dealer Tamir conducted his daily business. Strangely, though, despite Tamir having stationed multiple guards in the nearby corridors, the security around the Souk was rather light. This allowed Altaïr to silently slip in and assassinate Tamir.[2]

Middle district[]

The Middle District contained schools and Formal Gardens. These featured larger east-west thoroughfares connecting the different areas. This section of Damascus included many places of learning, until Jubair al Hakim arrived and began a city quest to destroy all written text. The central feature was Jubair's Madrasah, where he and his scholars burnt all forms of books and scrolls they had taken from the city. When Altaïr traveled there to assassinate Jubair, the security was very high, due to the Assassins' continued success.[2]

Rich district[]

The Rich District stretched across almost half of the city, possessing many of the structural landmarks that attracted outsiders to the city. The partially rebuilt Citadel of Saladin was a key fortification that demanded planning for a successful infiltration. The most impressive feature of the district, and probably the entire city, was the Umayyad Mosque. Built by Al-Walid I in 715 CE, the mosque sat atop the ruins of the Roman Temple of Jupiter. Another renowned landmark in the district was the Merchant King's Palace.[2] The palace's interior was lightly secured, except for when the Templar and Merchant King Abu'l Nuqoud hosted one of his lavish parties. Traffic around the palace grounds was also rather light, given the location. Slightly north was the Sarouja Souk Market Quarter, where both traffic and security were moderate. Sarouja Souk held the reputation of being the largest market in the Holy Land. It was split into two separate structures that ran from west to east and north to south.[2] Though the Umayyad Mosque and Merchant King's Palace dominated the district, the Grand Courtyard north of the Mosque was equally an interesting place. Here, within the impressive district, Abu'l Nuqoud held immense power over the people.[2]

Industry[]

Damascus was renowned for the forged steel produced there, for which the steel was named Damascus steel.[15]

Animus simulated maps[]

Damascus Rich District Damascus Middle District Damascus Poor District
Rich District Middle District Poor District

Gallery[]

Appearances[]

References[]

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