Al-Armashi Archive documents Damascus International Fair

Damascus, SANA- The special archive owned by researcher Imad al-Armashi is one of the most important references for the Damascus International Fair in all its editions.

Al-Armashi’s archive is rich in pictures and rare information about the exhibition in all its economic, social and cultural activities.

Since 1979, al-Armashi has started to document and collect pictures and information about the Fair in its previous editions in order to preserve this important event in the history of modern Syria.

Speaking to SANA, al-Armashi said that his study of history has helped him to continue his research and documentation and to collect a lot of information and documents for the city of Damascus and its international exhibition in particular.

The idea of holding Damascus International Fair, according to al-Armshi, is based on the first local exhibition held in Damascus on November 12, 1927 which was opened in the Abbassia area of Victoria Street. It was an exhibition limited to agricultural products in Syria. In June of the following year, an exhibition was held in the heart of Damascus which was allocated for old oriental crafts.

He added that the local exhibitions continued to be held until September 1, 1954 when Damascus International Fair was opened and lasted for one month, to be the first Syrian international exhibition to form a major economic event and a gateway to the launch of industries, technology and films.

He pointed out that the Fair in its first edition hosted the cutting-edge technology in the US filmmaking industry, the so-called “Cinerama”, which is based on a three-camera feature on a panoramic screen. Syria was the first country after the United States to host this technique, which was seen at the time by nearly 100 thousand viewers including Syrians and foreigners who came to Damascus, including international artists.

The use of this technology, according to al-Armashi, required the transfer of nearly 12 tons of equipment including the 75-foot giant screen and 2000 outdoor seats as the crowds streamed into the city and free tickets were distributed, but a large number remained without tickets.

The researcher said that Fair was established on an area of 250 thousand square meters and the number of visitors was one million visitors from different countries. It was held in the center of Damascus from the Victoria Bridge and the Damascus National Museum to the Umayyad Square along the River Barada, famous for its green areas and the distribution of lakes and water fountains.

According to al-Armashi, 26 Arab and foreign countries participated in the first edition of the Fair in addition to a number of Syrian industrial and commercial enterprises.

The exhibition sessions followed one another over half a century and received a popular reception and an official and diplomatic presence at the Arab and foreign levels, as well as various economic, social and artistic contributions, which made the Fair an annual event that attracts attention and steals the spotlight.

Manar al-Frieh/Manal

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