Al Nawfara coffee shop

Lonely Planet review

Nestled in the shadow of the Umayyad Mosque's eastern wall, 'The Fountain' is the most atmospheric of Damascus' traditional coffeehouses. This is where you can watch Abu Shady, the last of the hakawati (professional storytellers). Every evening around 19:00 (give or take an hour or two), Abu Shady takes the chair to tell his version of fables and folk tales, and while his performance is in Arabic, it's enthralling.

If you can't find a table here, head across the lane to Ash-Shams, which occupies a former hammam.


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