Ghouta (Arabic: غوطة دمشق / ALA-LC: Ghūṭat Dimashq) originally meant the oasis formed by the Barada river around the site where Damascus, Syria was founded. Starting in ancient times, canals dug by the inhabitants of Damascus irrigated land on either side of the Barada, increasing the size of the Ghouta to the south and east of the city. Separating the city from the dry grasslands bordering the Syrian Desert, the Ghouta has provided its inhabitants with a variety of cereals, vegetables, and fruits for thousands of years.
Eventually the Ghouta referred to the irrigated agricultural area in the Damascus countryside which at one point reached a size of 370 square kilometers. In the 1980's, urban growth from Damascus started replacing agricultural use with housing and industry, shrinking the size of the green zone.
- "Damascus - Landscape - City site". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 21 May 2015.
- Collelo, Thomas, ed. (1988). "Land, Water, and Climate". Syria: a country study. Federal Research Division, Library of Congress. LCCN 87600488. Note: text doesn't have permanent URL. Click "Land, Water, and Climate" at link.
- "Damascus, Syria : Image of the Day". NASA. 26 June 2013. Satellite image of wider region showing 2013 green areas.