National Geographic : 1911 Jan
DAMASCUS, THE PEARL OF THE DESERT SHRINE TO JOHN THE BAPTIST IN THE GREAT MOSQUE AT DAMASCUS The most costly shrine in Damascus, supposed to cover the place where the head of John the Baptist was interred, after being unearthed by one of the Saracen heroes of Damascus. It is revered alike by Christians and Mohammedans, but the latter claim the privilege of keeping it in good repair. Note the rugs. interior, which is quite 300 feet long, has a very imposing appearance, the numer ous huge columns on either side adding materially to its grandeur. These col umns, each 20 feet high, were all quar ried in and brought from the adjacent mountains of Lebanon, and, for finish and workmanship, speak well for the ability of the Damascus stone mason. The floor of the mosque is usually covered with costly and beautiful rugs, the gifts of rich Mohammedans from all parts of the Orient. On entering this magnificent place of worship the eye is at once attracted by an imposing and elaborately decorated structure that has a place between two of the massive columns near the center of the building. On inquiry you will be told that it is the tomb of John the Bap tist's head, a shrine respected alike by Mohammedans and Christians.