Syrian collector enjoys glorious past with antiques

DAMASCUS (Xinhua) – Haitham Tabakha, 60, lives a unique nostalgic life with antiques that take him back to what he called the beautiful time.

For Tabakha, the years between 1950 and 1980 are the best in his life. He said it was a good time of peace and people loved each other.

In his old Arabic house in the heart of old Damascus, he collected a large number of antiques from that time.

Old kitchen items, water pumpers, coins, and banknotes are in his collection as well as old lamps and copper items.

Tabkha knows the story of every piece he has and his two-floor old house is stacked with these pieces.

That house is his museum and he invites actors, students and even officials to take a look at his exhibits.

Haitham Tabakha looks at antiques in his house that he turned into a museum in the old quarter of Damascus, Syria on February 27. – XINHUA

The man usually receives his guest wearing the old Arabic outfit, which is a long silk garment and red hat called Tarboush. He greets his guests with old Arabic poems.

“Collecting old stuff piece by piece has been my obsession since I was a kid,” he told Xinhua.

The man’s original profession is selling clothing as he has a store near his house.

His sons inherited his clothes occupation but not his hobby of collecting antiques.

“They got busy with clothes while I got busy with collecting antiques,” he said, not feeling sad, as he believes every person has an obsession and a hobby in life.

Even though he is growing older, Tabakha said he is always on the search for new items to add to his collection.

“This is a hobby that has become flowing in my blood and no matter how much I get I always want more, but this hobby needs a big space and a lot of money,” he said.

“Whenever I have money I buy new pieces,” he added.

The man said his museum is his sanctuary from today’s world and problems are gone as he lives the beautiful past he loves in his house.

“When I enter my house I feel that I am living in the beautiful past… it was another life and I forget anything else when I am inside,” the Syrian man said.

During the war around Damascus, Tabakha used to fear for his collection from a stray mortar shell or even looters, which made him sleepless most of the nights.

He said he used to sleep still thinking about the pieces but now the situation is different after the war ended around Damascus last May.