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Painted sketch of Damascus. Damascus was the chief city of ancient Aram (Syria). The city was located on a very high plain (2300 feet above sea level) about 70 miles inland from the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, in the valley of the Abana and Pharpar rivers. It was a very fertile area, with many gardens, orchards, and meadows. A traveler could leave Damascus along one of three major trade highways, each leading to either the west, south, or east. The Bible mentions Damascus in the time of Abraham, and Israel went to war many times with the Syrians. Damascus was conquered by the Assyrians in 732 B.C.