The Syrian Arab Republic has a population of
more than 18 million, lies on the eastern coast of the Mediterranean sea and
is a country very aware of its Arabic heritage.
Since the dawn of time, the area that is Syria has been a crossroads of
civilization, the bridge connecting the cultures of the eastern
Mediterranean and the fertile crescent, and the beginning of the Silk Road
joining the West with the East. It was here that the cultures of Mari and
Ugarit rose and fell; where the Assyrian, Sumerian, Phoenician, Babylonian,
Egyptian, Greek and Roman empires and cultures met and influenced each
Damascus, the capital, is considered the oldest city in the world and was
the major eastern political and cultural center of the Roman empire in the
times of Jesus --St. Paul underwent his conversion to Christianity "on the
road to Damascus". A major Islamic city during the time of the crusades, it
became famed for the "Damascened" steel weapons that the local sword smiths
created for Saladin and his warriors. In the provinces, there are villages
that still speak Aramaic, an oral not written language. The alphabet carved
on a clay tablet found in Ugarit, is the first alphabet known in history.
There is stunning natural scenery; rugged mountains; green valleys; deserts;
beautiful swimming beaches and mountain peaks, perpetually covered with
snow. Throughout the country there are magnificent ancient ruins, Medieval
castles and fortresses and wonderful Islamic mosques.
Syrian Arab Republic.
185.180 km2 (71.500sq. miles)
18.866 millions ( 2002 census )
pleasant and varied Mediterranean climate with four distinct seasons.
32° C. (90° F) in Summer,
10° C. (50° F) in Winter and
22° C. (72° F) in Spring and Autumn.
November through February:
GMT + 2 Hours (Winter).
March through October: GMT + 3 hours. (Summer).
220 Volts, 50 A.C.
Friday and Saturday are the official weekend.
WEIGHTS AND MEASURES:
TRAVEL INFORMATION ENTRY FORMALITIES
A valid passport with entry visa. Any amount of
foreign currency could be brought into Syria. However, the sum of foreign
currency allowed out should not exceed the amount brought in.
Tourist groups coming through their local travel agency can obtain their
free of charge visas from the airport or any other border.
HOW TO GET THERE
By land: Syria is
connected by highways with Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Turkey.
By Sea: Through
the two seaports of Latakia and Tartus on the Mediterranean.
By Air: Damascus,
the main gateway to Syria, Aleppo and Latakia are connected with all
continents by the national carrier (Syrianair) and major international
Main cities and number of
inhabitants in each governorate
Damascus 3.8 million inh, Aleppo 4 million inh,
Homs 1.5 million inh, Latakia 883 thousands inh, Hama 1.4 million inh,
Tartus 716 thousands, Deir-ez-zor 1 million inh.
International Airport, a distance of 32 kms from the center of the capital,
Damascus - Taxi service - Bus services - Free zone
Bassel Al-Assad Airport
Latakia 348 kms from the capital, Tartus 258 kms
from the capital, banyas 55 kms south of Latakia.
Currency Unit: Syrian Pound = 100 piasters
1 U.S. Dollar = 46 S.P.
Notes: 5, 10, 25, 50, 100, 200, 500, 1000 S.P.
Coins: 1, 2, 5, 10, 25 S.P.