Damascus, I’m reliably informed by one of its biggest fans, is a city where street names are barely used. My informant insists that a police officer standing on, for example, the Umawiyeen roundabout and being asked for directions to that same Umawiyeen roundabout will likely not be able to point you in the right direction.
That sounds good to me. My mental maps are made up of my favourite shops or the best place to buy really good cake or memories of where I’ve been with people, what we laughed or argued about on that street or in that square. Road names and map coordinates are useful but they drag the mind back to prosaic reality and away from the personal geography that makes the world really familiar.
Getting to this city where they apparently share my feelings about maps all depends on that other prosaic reality of being granted the visa.