The ancient Umayyad Mosque was completed by the year 715. A large courtyard paved with marble is surrounded by arcades. The arcade on one side leads to the prayer hall. The mosaic decoration on the walls of the arcades is more than 1000 years old. The designs have a brilliant gold background. The mosaics are also found on the old treasury in the centre of the courtyard, a small domed structure raised on eight columns.
Middle East cultural expert Diana Darke bought and restored an Ottoman courtyard house in Old Damascus in 2005, an experience which led her back into the academic world to complete an MA in Islamic art and architecture.