In the early days of the two-year-old uprising, the grandiose roundabout was home to huge pro-regime demonstrations, with a gigantic poster of Assad hung over the central bank headquarters.
The area was a very different scene Monday.
State TV showed several cars on fire and thick, black smoke billowing above the tree-lined street.
At least six bodies were sprawled on the pavement. Paramedics carried a young woman on a stretcher, her face bloodied and her white shirt stained red. A man placed a T-shirt over a victim whose face was blown off.
Firefighters struggled to extinguish flames that engulfed the two buildings as well as a row of cars near the roundabout. State media put the toll at 15 dead and 146 wounded.
Witnesses said the suicide attacker tried to ram the vehicle into the investment agency but was stopped by guards, forcing the bomber to detonate the explosives at the gate.
Visiting a mosque across the street that was damaged in the blast, Prime Minister Wael al-Halqi described the attack as "the work of cowards" and vowed that the army would crush all armed groups fighting the government. Shattered glass and torn curtains littered the mosque's red carpet.
Some people wandered through the twisted metal, body parts, and rubble on the street and directed their anger at countries supporting the rebellion.
"I want to say to Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey that the Syrian people stand firm behind their leadership, and they are steadfast and will never kneel down, and we will emerge victorious," said engineer Saeed Halabi, 54, calling the attack a "terrorist and cowardly act."
The U.N. estimates that more than 70,000 people have been killed in the civil war.