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AC1 Souk Al-Silaah

The Souk al-Silaah

The Souk al-Silaah (English: Market of weapons) was the largest commercial center within the city of Damascus during the twelfth century. Located at the northeast center of the Poor District, the market was owned by the black arms merchant Tamir during the Third Crusade. As a secret member of the Templar Order, Tamir was targeted by Altaïr Ibn-La'Ahad, and it was here that he met his end at the hands of the Assassins in 1191.


By 1191 at the height of the Third Crusade, the Souk al-Silaah had become the greatest center of trade in Damascus.[1] A myriad of wide-ranging goods was traded there daily, including oils, perfumes, fruits, bread, vegetables, pottery, and weapons. The lively marketplace at this time was under the oversight of a black arms trader named Tamir who supposedly served Saladin, manufacturing weapons for the Sultan of Egypt and Syria. A powerful man with high expectations of his workers, Tamir dominated the local merchant guild and the market with an iron fist and was known to publicly execute those who defied him.[1][2]

That same year, Tamir was responsible for supplying enough weapons to field the army of the Knights Templar, where his true allegiances laid. At least a thousand weapons were requested by Grand Master Robert de Sablé, all in a short span of time, and Tamir's blacksmiths simply could not satisfy the demand in the time allotted despite working overtime. Outraged, Tamir summoned the merchant guild to the souk, berating one of the merchants for failing to fulfill the order. When the elderly merchant argued back that the expectations were unreasonable, Tamir murdered him before the eyes of everyone in the market, leaving his corpse to bleed in the central fountain.[2]

Not long afterwards, while Tamir was inspecting the stalls around the market, scolding each of their traders one after another, he was assassinated from behind by the Assassin Altaïr Ibn-La'Ahad. His guards failed to catch the Assassin, who escaped by traversing the beams along the arcades of the souk and with the aid of vigilantes.[2]


Typical of many Arabian markets during this era, the Souk al-Silaah was a permanently enclosed trading center whose layout consisted primarily of intersecting vaulted arcades. Each of these arcades had numerous shops set into them along each sides while also providing each of the souk's five public entrances. The only section of the market exposed to open air was the central courtyard, which commonly had stalls set along its walls as well. At the center of this courtyard stood a pergola, under which was set a small fountain that was the center point of the entire souk.[2] From above, the courtyard gave the souk the appearance of a ragged hole punched into the Poor District's expanse of cluttered, dilapidated buildings.[1]