Khan Dannun

Khan Dannun
خان دنون
Khan Danoun
Khan Dannun
Coordinates: 33°19′55″N 36°19′56″E / 33.33194°N 36.33222°E / 33.33194; 36.33222
Country  Syria
Governorate Rif Dimashq Governorate
District Markaz Rif Dimashq
Nahiya Al-Kiswah
Population (2004)
  Total 8,727
Time zone EET (UTC+3)
  Summer (DST) EEST (UTC+2)

Khan Dannun (Arabic: خان دنون, also spelled Khan Danun, Khan Dunnun or Khan Dhul-Nun) is a town in southern Syria, administratively part of the Markaz Rif Dimashq District of the Rif Dimashq Governorate. Located south of Damascus, nearby localities include al-Taybah to the west, Muqaylibah to the northwest, al-Kiswah 5 kilometers to the north and Khiyarat Dannun to the east. According to the Syria Central Bureau of Statistics, Khan Dannun had a population of 8,727 in the 2004 census.[1]

Khan Dannun also contains a refugee camp with the same name and is one of ten Palestinian refugee camps in Syria recognized by UNRWA. According to UNRWA statistics the camp had a population of 7,841 in 1998.[2] According to UNRWA the population of the camp in June 2008 was 9,479 persons and 2,192 families.[3]


Khan Dannun was originally a large khan ("caravansary") completed in 1376 by the Mamluk governor of Damascus, Manjak al-Yusufi,[4] during the reign of the Bahri Mamluk sultan al-Ashraf Sha'ban.[5] The khan was designed by Ali ibn al-Badri, known as muhandis ash-Sham ("engineer of Damascus.")[6] The name "Dan nun" is the colloquial version of "Dhul-Nun,"[7][8] a highly venerated 9th-century Muslim figure. He is considered to be the early patriarch of the Sufis.[7] Khan Dannun became a stopping point on the hajj ("pilgrimage to Mecca") caravan route after al-Kiswah, and before Ghabaghib.[9]

The khan, with exception of its vaults, was built in the traditional basalt masonry typically found in the old structures in Hauran.[4] It consisted of an open, square-shaped courtyard, the center of which had been occupied by livestock. Surrounding the courtyard were arcades built atop lodging apartments which served as accommodation for visitors.[10] The courtyard was flanked by circular basalt towers.[7] Inside the khan was a small prayer room with mihrab niche which indicated the direction of Mecca.[11] A marsh was formed in front of the khan's gate as a result of an eastern-flowing rivulet.[7]

When traveler John Lewis Burckhardt visited the site in the early 19th-century, the khan was in ruins.[10] Khan Dannun was one of the stops on the Damascus-Hauran line of the Hejaz Railway.[12]

In 1949, following the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, a Palestinian refugee camp called Khan Dannun was set up in the town.[13] In 2009 a new sewage project for Khan Dannun, funded by the European Commission, was finished.[14]


  1. General Census of Population and Housing 2004. Syria Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS). Rif Dimashq Governorate. (Arabic)
  2. Mahmoud as-Sahly, Nabil. Profiles: Palestinian Refugees in Syria. BADIL. Winter 1999.
  3. Total Registered Camp Population-Summary. UNRWA. 2008-06-30.
  4. 1 2 Meinecke, 1996, p. 46
  5. Bosworth, 1989, p. 548
  6. Meinecke, 1996, p. 53
  7. 1 2 3 4 Newbold, 1846, p. 334
  8. Ed. Popper, 1955, p. 51. Translated work of Ibn Taghribirdi.
  9. Museums With No Frontiers, 2000, p. 202
  10. 1 2 Burckhardt, 1822, p. 54
  11. Constable, 2004, p. 99
  12. Masterman, 1897, p. 200
  13. Khan Danoun Refugee Camp. Jerusalem Media and Communications Center (JMCC). 2007-01-01.
  14. UNRWA Commissioner-General Visits Syria. UNRWA. 2009-04-23.


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