This street scene in Damascus's walled Old City captures the buzz of an early 20th century souk, or commercial quarter. Open markets like these are a vital part of the Damascene economy, but with protests sweeping much of the country, commerce and tourism have ground to a virtual halt. Adding to the concerns of many residents is the rapidly depreciating value of the Syrian pound. As more and more Syrians convert their savings into foreign currencies, the black-market Syrian pound-to-dollar exchange rate is inching steadily upward and is now at least 10 percent higher than the official rate.
Library of Congress