Bayt Shama’ya Afandi is an example of one of the large, luxurious homes that Damascus is known for. It is located in the southern part of the old city, on the west side of rue al-Amin about half way between the southern wall of the Old City and rue al-Moustaqim. The house had several major construction phases, the first in the late 17th century, and the most recent in the early 20th. It was photographed by Felix Bonfils in 1870.
The most recently-constructed portion would become known as Bayt Shama’ya Afandi / Hadid when the house was divided into multifamily dwellings in the latter part of the 20th century. This division was not carried out properly and sources indicate all but the most recent construction is collapsing as a result. Some of the artistic treasures from the house have been moved to other locations, such as the elaborately decorated saliya photographed by Bonfils that was popular as a postcard in the 19th century. It is now in the Junblat House near Sidon in Lebanon.
Michael A. Toler, AKDC@MIT, 2012
El-Mudarris, Hussein I, and Olivier Salmon. Souvenir de Damas = Souvenir from Damascus. Aleppo (Syria): Ray Publishing and Science, 2008.
Keenan, Brigid. Damascus: hidden treasures of the Old City. photographs by Tim Beddow. New York: Thames & Hudson, 2000.