Despite the threats of civil war, if one is willing to risk just to see the beauty of this country, it would surely be worth it all. Tourist experts would discourage you to visit Syria, but if you do not want to miss the opportunity to find some good things about this place, then stop by and enjoy the historical sites waiting for you. Stop by the magnificent Archetypal Crusader castle or visit Apamea and witness how the huge earthquake has changed the entire location, making it more captivating! There are so many nice views and good experiences that Syria could offer.
Important and Interesting Facts about Syria
- A country of fertile plains, high mountains, and deserts, it is home to diverse ethnic and religious groups, including the majority Arab population.
- It’s 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 Euphrates, Syria’s most important river, crosses the country in the east. It is considered to be one of the fifteen states that comprise the so-called “Cradle of civilization”
- Petroleum became Syria’s leading natural resource and chief export after 1974. Natural gas was discovered at the field of Jbessa in 1940.
- Syria’s main exports include crude oil, refined products, raw cotton, clothing, fruits, and grains. The bulk of Syrian imports are raw materials essential for industry, vehicles, agricultural equipment, and heavy machinery. Earnings from oil exports as well as remittances from Syrian workers are the government’s most important sources of foreign exchange.
- The great architectural jewel of Damascus is the stunning 8th century Umayyad Mosque with its exquisite interiors and glittering gold and coloured mosaic. The mosque is considered to be one of the most sacred places in the Islamic world and is a highlight of any visit to Syria.
- The desert oasis of Palmyra was the premier caravan city in the Middle East in the 2nd and 3rd centuries AD. The resulting revenues enabled the citizens of Palmyra to construct the grandest of civic buildings. Using a local sandy honey coloured stone the resulting Roman-style columns, temple facades, theatres, and tombs, are particularly beautiful.
- Described by T.E. Lawrence as: “the best preserved and most wholly admirable castle in the world”, this stunning example of Crusader military architecture was built to secure the Homs Gap – the easiest access between the Mediterranean and the Syrian interior. Crac des Chevaliers was never captured by force and is hugely impressive.
- Visiting the medieval covered souqs (markets) of Aleppo is a real immersion in the Middle Eastern experience. Said to be over 15 km in length everything from luxury goods to aromatic spaces and household goods is on sale here amidst an intoxicating atmosphere that can hardly have changed for centuries.
- St Simeon’s Monastery is a Byzantine masterpiece built to support the cult of Simeon – an aesthete monk who is remembered for having lived on top of a column for 42 years. According to an expert: ‘The great cruciform church is … the most beautiful and important monument of architecture between the buildings of the Roman period of the second century and the great church of Santa Sophia of Justinian’s time.
- One of the most attractively located Roman ruins in Syria. Apamea’s main feature is a magnificent colonnaded street, over 1.5 kilometres in length, and lined with columns along almost its entire route. Here you can walk along the wheel-rutted Cardo Maximus though what was once the bustling heart of one of the most important Roman cities in Syria.
- Regarded as one of the finest survivals from the World Of Late Antiquity the Dead Cities of northern Syria are a group of approximately 600 abandoned Byzantine churches, villages and monuments. Some of these are extraordinarily well preserved, and many have charming rural locations. Al Bara, Serjilla, Ruweiha and Mushabbak number amongst our favourites.
Cool and Funny Facts about Syria
- During public speeches in Syria, it is customary to applaud each time the name of President Assad is mentioned.
- It was on the road to Damascus, according to the Bible, that St Paul was dazzled by a heavenly light and converted to Christianity. He later escaped arrest in the city by being lowered from a window in a basket.
- Swords made from Damascus steel have been much prized over the centuries. According to written sources, blades were prepared by heating and then cooling them rapidly – sometimes by plunging them into the urine of red-headed boys or into the body of a muscular slave.
- The ancient legend said, that the world’s first murder occurred on the territory of modern Syria. It is here the biblical Cain killed his brother because of jealousy.
- Syria does not recognize Israel. If in passport you have visa of Israel, then you can’t visit Syria.
- The earliest account of a mermaid is the story of the Syrian goddess Atargatis who became half-fish after accidentally killing a shepherd she loved.
- The Golden (or Syrian) hamster was discovered in Aleppo, Syria, in 1930.
- All the hamsters kept as pets today are descendants of hamsters found in Syria.
- Syria has competed at the Olympics since 1948 winning one gold, one silver and one bronze medal.The gold medal was for the women’s heptathlon in 1996.
- Ugarit is the place where the oldest alphabet of the world is believed to have originated.
- The New York Times reported that the Assad family paid public relations firm Brown Lloyd James $5,000 a month to facilitate Syrian first lady Asma Assad’s March 2011 profile in Vogue headlined “Rose in the Desert.” When Syria’s image became less fashionable, Vogue took the profile off its website.
- One of this century’s most admired people was Syrian-American — and didn’t know it for most of his life. Steve Jobs’ biological parents, University of Wisconsin student Joanne Schieble and Syrian-born teaching assistant Abdulfattah “John” Jandali, gave him up for adoption to Paul and Clara Jobs. While in his 30s, the consumer electronics genius tracked down his birth mother and learned he had a sister, novelist Mona Simpson. Jobs remained estranged from his biological father, who was working as a casino manager in Reno, Nev., when his famous son died last year.
Historical and Cultural Facts about Syria
- Syria was the cradle of civilization, at least 10 thousand years. In this area, there is the ancient imperial city – Ebla. Ebla flourished from the 1800 BC to 1650 AD. In Ebla was found 20 thousand precious cuneiform tablets. The records on these tablets allowed to know a lot about everyday life of Mesopotamia at ancient time. The territory of Syria, at various times was ruled by Egyptians, Assyrians, Chaldeans, Persians, Macedonians and Romans.
- The Golan Heights, a mountainous and strategically import area bordering the Sea of Galilee, was captured by Israel during the 1967 war. Part of it was handed back after the 1973 war, but the return of the remaining territory has been one of the Syrian regime’s principal goals ever since. There is a spot on the ceasefire line known as Shouting Valley where Syrians use megaphones to hail their relatives on the other side.
- The Hama massacre: In 1982 Syrian forces launched a brutal assault on the city of Hama to quell an uprising by the Muslim Brotherhood, killing thousands. Memories of the event, which is rarely mentioned publicly in Syria, continue to cast a long shadow over political opposition to the regime.
- Lebanon was separated from Syria under the French mandate, since it was largely a Christian enclave, and became officially independent in 1943. From Damascus, Lebanon still tends to be viewed as part of Syria’s traditional sphere of influence. Syria used its military to stabilise Lebanon after the 1975-91 civil war but also meddled extensively in Lebanese politics.
- Damascus was once a major centre for weaving and trading in textiles. Damask – using an ancient technique for weaving patterns into cloth – derives its name from the city.
- In Syria, there is a very strict morals. Syrian women have no sex before marriage, otherwise nobody will marry such women. In some rigorous families the premarital sex among the girls is a crime of honor, and it can lead to the girl’s murder by the male part of her family.
- Syria’s national dish – is Burguli. Burguli – is a wheat, boiled steamed, dried and milled. It is added to many dishes, Burguli must be on the table during all holiday dinners.
- In social interactions, people stand close together, speak loudly, and gesture widely with their hands and heads. Greetings hold great social significance. They are often lengthy, including questions about health. They usually are accompanied by a handshake and sometimes by a hug and a kiss on each cheek. Placing the right hand on the heart when meeting someone is a signal of affection.
- The major secular holidays are New Year’s Day on 1 January, Revolution Day on 8 March, and the anniversary of the formation of the Arab League, 22 March. Syrians celebrate Martyrs Day in memory of the nation’s heroes on 6 April; National Day (also known as Evacuation Day, celebrating independence), on 17 April; and the Day of Mourning on 29 November.
- There is a long literary tradition that dates back to poets such as al-Mutanabbi in the 900s and al-Maarri in the 1000s. Writers must contend with government censorship, but fiction writing is not as tightly monitored as is nonfiction. Whereas the punishment for breaking laws concerning nonfiction is usually imprisonment, fiction writers generally are reprimanded.
- Seventy-four percent of the population is Sunni Muslim. Sixteen percent belongs to Alawite, Druze, and other Muslim sects, and 10 percent is Christian. There are small Jewish communities in Damascus, Al Qamishli, and Aleppo. As in many Arabic countries, religion is an integral part of the culture and daily life. The word “Islam” means “submission to God.” The religion shares certain prophets, traditions, and beliefs with Judaism and Christianity. The foundation of Islamic belief is called the Five Pillars