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Animal Hides Furs in Damascus Market

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Animal Hides Furs in Damascus Market

I like to wander through the markets of old cities just to see what I can find. In Damascus my delights were endless. There are few things that I like more than seeing something odd and having its usage explained to me. This is just one of the regular lessons of the traveler university.
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Wade from Vagabond Journey.com
in Aqaba, Jordan- April 23, 2009

In Damascus I came upon a street that was bespeckled with shops that sold exotic animal hides and furs. There were leopards, tigers, and wolf hides, but I harbored deep suspicions about their authenticity. I was not aware of many tigers prowling about the Middle East. So I went into the shops and started asking questions.

I began poking around a shop and, thinking he had a fish on his line, the keeper invited me into the back room. I could see that the room was piled high with animal skins over his shoulder, so I accepted his offer. I found a room that had stacks and stacks of skins everywhere. I pointed at a skin whose fur was orange and spotted with the marks of the leopard. I asked the shop keeper what animal it was from.

“Ocelot,” he spoke without hesitation.

I then pointed to another skin that had tiger strips across it.

“Tiger,” the shop keeper told me.

I then pointed to a skin that was plain and grey.

“Fox,” I was told.

I found it very odd that the “ocelot,” “tiger,” and “fox” skins were pretty much the same size and shape. As I ran my fingers through the fur of each, I started to get the impression that all of the skins may have been from the same kind of animal and were dyed for effect. But the prices differed greatly by how exotic the hides appeared to be.

They may have been genuine – I must admit that I am no connoisseur of animal hides – but my suspicions were aroused. I suppose that it is a good possibility that these expired exotic animals could have been farmed for their coats in Syria.

I then made a gun shooting motion and asked if these animals were hunted. The shop keeper answered in the affirmative. I asked where they were hunted, and he passed up my question by showing me another hide.

After digging through boxes of animal hides in the back room of a back alley shop in Damascus, I somehow miraculously talked my way out the door without being adorn in the skin of another creature – what ever that creature may have been.


Fur and animal hide shop in Damascus.


Merchant trying to sell Wade exotic animal furs.


Exotic animal furs in the Damascus market.


Wolf hide for sale in the Damascus market.


Animal furs for sale in Damascus, Syria.

Animal Hides Furs in Damascus Market

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Filed under: Middle East, Syria

About the Author:

Wade Shepard is the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. He has been traveling the world since 1999, through 76 countries. He is the author of the book, Ghost Cities of China, and contributes to Forbes, The Diplomat, the South China Morning Post, and other publications. has written 3048 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

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Wade Shepard is currently in: Polis, Republic of CyprusMap

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