Confucius of teh Gormogons relays a suggestion by friend of the decanter the Nightfly, ripped so to speak from the headlines, that the city of Aleppo might have been the basis for C.S. Lewis’ Tashbaan, capitol of the land of Calormen in The Horse and his Boy.

This sort of thing always grabs Robbo’s attention, so he did all of five minutes’ quick intertoob research.  At least according to this article, Syria is indeed the model for Calormen, but Tashbaan itself is a blend of Damascus and the offshore island of Arwad.  (Lewis had visited the region with his brother and was quite impressed.)

Speaking of Damascus, I can never think of the name without being reminded of that scene from Lawrence of Arabia when Lawrence asks his Bedouin bodyguard where his army is going and the guard, with a huge grin and glittering eye, says, “Dah-mash-coos, ‘Orrenz!”   I’ve got in the habit of pronouncing it “Dahmashcoos” myself.