Syria

Syria is a country full of history boasting an impressive array of archaeological wonders. The range of historical Syria attractions act as a timeline of ancient history documenting evidence of Greek, Roman, Ottoman and Christian crusader occupation.

For those considering Syria travel you would best be advised to visit in the spring (March-May). The weather is warm yet the most comfortable during these months. The rainy season would have ended and the country will be freshly replenished with swollen rivers, blooming flowers and a mild climate. Between June-August the summer heat is oppressive. A Syria trip during this period is not for the faint hearted, especially without good sun block and a hat. The height of winter can also be unpleasant with blanket snow cover at higher altitudes and a lack of any real heating in some hotels. The shoulder periods of spring and autumn (September-November) are best. Travelers to Syria and the rest of the Middle East should be aware that the holy festival of Ramadan takes place during September/October. The final three days of Eid-al-Fitr end in a lively party. Western travelers would be advised to avoid Syria vacations during this holy month or at the very least be aware that sensitivity is required.

The 20th Century creation of modern day Syria can lay claim to having once encompassed what is now Jordan, Israel and Lebanon. It has also been host to some of the most prominent civilizations in the world such as the Egyptians. Its importance as a port of commerce and a strategic location has ensured that Syria’s Mediterranean coastline has seen centuries of occupation acting as a foot hole in the region for Persian, Greek and Roman empires. Perhaps most notably the Crusader castle towering over the region at Crac des Chevaliers reflects its important position and acts as a top Syria sightseeing destination. The imposing castle was built between 1150-1250 and was designed to protect a route between Turkey and Lebanon. As well as acting as a stronghold, it was also a point from which to dominate the region to help achieve the Crusader objective of retaking Jerusalem from Muslim Arab forces. A Syria sightseeing trip will no doubt inspire interest in this controversial period of medieval history.

Syria travel is packed full of many wonderful Syria attractions including the Church of St Simon and ruins at Qala’at Samaan. The site is famed for an eccentric early Christian who between 423-459 AD spent 36 years living atop a number of tall pillars. A Church now stands marking the famous site and many Christians on pilgrimage come here to pay their respects. Another popular point of interest among Syria vacations is the stunning and spiritually important Umayyad Mosque in Damascus. This magnificent structure set around an old courtyard features golden mosaics and three tall minarets. This important religious symbol is a must for any Syria trip and competes alongside the great mosques of Mecca and Medina in its importance. Of most interest, especially for those history buffs, the Umayyad Mosque houses the resting place of perhaps the most famous Arab leader ever, Saladin. This masterful tactician thwarted Christian attempts to regain control of Jerusalem under the legendary English King, Richard the Lion Heart. A simple red domed Mausoleum built in 1193 houses this most revered figure. The capital city Damascus boats the title as having been one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. A Syria trip will no doubt feature a day or two in Damascus and is a great starting point to exploring the wider country and Islamic culture. For great Syria sightseeing, the Old City quarter of Damascus offers visitors miles of winding alleys, while the splendor of the Azem Palace courtyards and strong aromas of bustling market spice and olive stalls provide yet more entertainment. Downtown Damascus is also packed with busy cafes and French styled architecture, while the city quarter of Al Dar is a great place to pick up on uniquely Syrian food and experience lively jazz bars.

Further Syria attractions can be found at Aleppo where busy streets and bustling local markets allow you to practice your haggling skills. Syria’s second largest city is also packed with museums, tombs, mosques and an impressive citadel that dominates the city. Castles at Ugarit, wooden water wheels at Hama, magnificently preserved Roman ruins in Bosra and the Arab fortress in the oasis city of Palmyra, give Syria vacations a taste of a more traditional time of living. At Ugarit, evidence of an ancient alphabet has also been found.

Syria travel is relatively inexpensive and made all the more easier these days, with two international airports in Damascus and Aleppo. Both are regularly served with connections to Europe, Africa, Asia and the rest of the Middle East. Connections to Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey are well served and often a visit to one of Syria’s neighbors can be incorporated with an organized Syria sightseeing tour.

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