Friday, February 11, 2005

Syrian Museum On-Line: Moubayed and Abd Rabbo

The first Online Museum of Syrian History

Sami Moubayed and Sahban Abd Rabbo began building a Syrian Museum on line some five months ago. It is the only such website devoted uniquely to Syrian history and covers the years 1900-2000. They have already posted thousands of pictures, sound recordings, audio-visuals, and documents to the site. Everything is in English so far, but they are hoping to add translations in Arabic as funding for their venture expands. Most of the documents on the site are scanned from Arabic originals with English captions. There is a section for downloading video clips -- the earliest dates from 1919. They have also put up numerous patriotic songs from the 20th century, which can be down-loaded. But the largest resource on the site is the photo gallery.

Its creators, Moubayed and Abd Rabbo, have gathered tons of wonderful photos of the men who shaped Syrian history in the 20th century - some of the more famous are Shukri al-Quwatli, Hashim al-Atasi, Said al-Ghazzi, and Faris al-Khury. Other pictures were collected from books and newspapers. There were some 1,500 photos on display by January 2005, but they add more every month as they collect them. The largest albums are those covering the years of presidents Shukri al-Quwatli (1943-1949, 1955-1958), Hashim al-Atasi (1932-1939, 1949-1951, 1954-1955), Adib al-Shishakli(1951-1954), and Hafez al-Asad (1970-2000).

In addition to covering political history, the website also allows its visitors to learn about the cultural, artistic, and social history of Syria through some of its major artists, writers and cartoonists.

So far the museum has been visited by more than 17,400 guests from around the world. The highest number of visitors come from the USA (10%) while the second highest number(9%) come from Saudi Arabia. It is a wonderful resource for historians, who need photos for books and articles. I have already incorporated photos from their site into my articles and plan to use them in my forthcoming book: Democracy in Syria.

Sami Moubayed is Syria's most promising young historian. Actually it is incorrect to use promising to describe Sami. Although he is only 26 years old, he has already gotten his Ph.D. in history from a British University, written three books and worked as a journalist. He has done more than many seasoned historians.

Like Sami, Sahban Abd Rabbo is one of Damascus' great talents. He is the webmaster, responsible for the handsome design of the site and for keeping everything up and running. The two can often be found sipping tea in Cafe Rawda, next to the parliament building, where they plot their additions to The Syrian Museum.

If you have photos to contribute to the collection, please contact Sami or Sahban at

visit at


At 2/11/2005 12:31:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you, this is indeed a valueble documentary resource.

At 2/24/2005 04:48:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very informative. I would have liked to be able to print the history timeline.

At 2/26/2005 05:10:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Try to visit
It is 6 months older than the one in this post and covers Syrian antiques since 100,000 BC!

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