Syria Travel Guide
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Syria officially the Syrian Arab Republic, is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the west, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest.
The name Syria formerly comprised the entire region of the Levant, while the modern state encompasses the site of several ancient kingdoms and empires, including the Eblan civilization of the third millennium BC. In the Islamic era, its capital city, Damascus, was the seat of the Umayyad Empire and a provincial capital of the Mamluk Empire. Damascus is widely regarded as one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world.
Modern Syria was created as a French mandate and attained independence in April 1946, as a parliamentary republic. The post-independence period was rocky, and a large number of military coups and coup attempts shook the country in the period 1949-1970. Syria has been under Emergency Law since 1962, effectively suspending most constitutional protections for citizens, and its system of government is considered non-democratic. The country has been governed by the Baath Party since 1963, although actual power is concentrated to the presidency and a narrow grouping of military and political strongmen. Syria's current president is Bashar al-Assad, who won a referendum on extending his presidency for second term, garnering 97.62 percent of votes in 2007 and is the son of Hafez al-Assad, who held office from 1970 until his death in 2000. Syria has played a major regional role, particularly through its central role in the Arab conflict with Israel, which since 1967 has occupied the Golan Heights, and by active involvement in Lebanese and Palestinian affairs.
The population is mainly Sunni Muslim, but with significant Alawite, Shia, Christian and Druze minorities. Since the 1960s, Alawite military officers have tended to dominate the country's politics. Ethnically, some 80% of the population is Arab, and the state is ruled by the Baath Party according to Arab nationalist principles, while approximately 20% belong to the Kurdish, Armenian, Assyrian, Turkmen, and Circassians minorities
Syria Tourist Attractions
Damascus is Syria's largest city and capital located around the Barada River and Ghouta Oasis. It is one of world's oldest inhabited cities as old as 5000 BC. It offers fascinating oriental bazaars and marvelous monuments. The centre of the city is Martyrs' Square where most of the restaurants and hotels are located. The charming old city is surrounded by Roman wall.Visit city's main market the colourful Souq al-Hamidiyya. Opposite the end of the market is the Umayyad Mosque. It is a jewel of Islamic architecture, with several gorgeous mosaics and three original minarets. More info about Damascus...
Aleppo is Syria's second largest city known as halab by the locals. It has been a trading centre since Roman times. It is a great place with its fascinating covered souqs, citadel, museum and khans. The citadel dominates the city at the eastern end of the souqs. A bridge on the southern side, leading to the 12th-century fortified gate, spans its moat. Inside, the fort is mostly ruins, but the throne room above the entrance has been lavishly restored. More info about Aleppo..
Krak des Chevaliers
The remarkably well-preserved Krak des Chevaliers is one of Syria's prime attractions. Krac des Chevaliers, guarding the only major pass between Antakya in Turkey and Beirut in Lebanon, was built and expanded between 1150 and 1250 and eventually housed a garrison of 2000. The castle has two parts: an outside wall with 13 towers and an inside wall and keep. More info about Krak des Chevaliers...
Palmyra's ruins date from the 2nd century AD, although the city began its rise to glory under the Assyrians. The Temple of Bel is a massive square courtyard. Across the road is the Great Colonnade, an impressive column-lined street that was once the main artery of the town. More info about Palmyra...
Bosra is located on a fertile plain about 140km south of Damascus. It is a wonderful place, built in, over and around old Roman buildings. The city is made almost entirely from black basalt. It offers one of the best-preserved Roman theatres in the world. More info about Bosra...
Dead Cities namely Jerada, Ruweiha, Serjilla and Al-Bara are the main attractions around Aleppo. These are a series of ghost towns lie among the limestone hills between the Aleppo-Hama highway in the east and the Orontes River in the west. They date from the time when this area was part of the hinterland of the great Byzantine city of Antioch. More info about Dead Cities...
Hama is one of the attractive towns between Aleppo and Damascus to explore nearby ruins. Orontes River flows through Hama with trees lined banks and gardens and ancient, groaning water wheels known as norias, measuring up to 20m in diameter are the central attractions of the town. The wheels were built centuries ago to provide water for the town and for irrigation. More info about Hama...
Qala'at Samaan is must-see site of the many archaeological remnants that dot the countryside north of Aleppo. More info about Qala'at Samaan...
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