About Syria

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 other.

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.


OFFICIAL NAME: Syrian Arab Republic.

CAPITAL: Damascus

AREA: 185.180 km2 (71.500sq. miles)

POPULATION: 18.866 millions ( 2002 census )

CLIMATE: A 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).


WEEKEND: Friday and Saturday are the official weekend.



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.


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 airlines.

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.


Damascus: Damascus International Airport, a distance of 32 kms from the center of the capital, Damascus - Taxi service - Bus services - Free zone
Aleppo: Aleppo International airport.
Latakia: Martyr 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.



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