Western influences marked the physical appearance of the city as well. Islamic cities had always distinguished between private and public spaces; the private being the residence and the public designated for work – the suq
– or for worship – the mosque
. Now, however, residences had larger windows, even on the exterior walls, and sometimes a terrace, as in Mashfa al-Ghuraba. The adoption of the public square, created to flaunt emblems of statehood that developed in Europe, is evident in Marjeh Square, located outside the old city walls of Damascus, and which became the modern city centre, marked by a large central pillar.
The Hijaz Railway station is one of the most beautiful buildings in Damascus today. It was paid-for by a wealthy Damascene, and designed by a Spanish architect who had an eye for Andalusian art. German workers, who originally brought the railway industry to the Ottomans as part of their political alliance, probably constructed the railway system