The Syria Mosque was a 3,700 seat performance venue that hosted world-renowned classical, jazz and rock artists. It was also a meeting place for many historical political rallies and speeches.
My love for the Syria Mosque is multifaceted, from the architectural details to the huge chandelier. It was an ornate, faux-Middle-Eastern-style building with arabic lettering along the cornice, and interior murals displaying stylized Arabian scenes. To me, its most striking features were the twin sphinxes that flanked each of the entrances. I have always enjoyed Egyptian art, and these sphinxes, though stylized, hold a special place in my heart.
I attended several concerts in the hall, and even got to perform there a few times as a part of my fraternity’s “Greek Sing” competition while enrolled at Carnegie Mellon University.
And then on August 27, 1991, as Joni Mitchell said, “They paved paradise and put up a parking lot.” It still sickens me, more than a quarter century later, to see the empty hole that remains. All that is left is the memory of a grand building that can never be replaced.