A gateway to the entire Middle East, the Syrian Arab Republic is located in West Asia. Western borders: The Mediterranean Sea and Lebanon; Northern Border: Turkey; Southern Border: The Kingdom of Jordan; Eastern Border: Iraq.


185,000 Sq. Km.
Syria is divided into regions of great geographic diversity, each with its own unique climate and history. Along the Mediterranean and in the Northwest part of the country, the landscape is characterized by lush verdant valleys, separated by rolling hills and mountains. In the southern region – the Hauran – and around the capital city of Damascus, the agricultural Northwest gives way to drier and more spectacular desert scenery, which continues Eastward to the agricultural regions along the Euphrates River.

  Syria At Glance

    Capital : Damascus

Syrian Is often described as the largest small country in the world because of its wealth of ancient civilizations. Modern man is indebted to this land for much of his thought and learning. Therefore it is properly said that every cultured man belongs to two nations -his own and Syria.

We begin 8000 years ago, with the founding of the world`s oldest continuously inhabited cities, Damascus and Aleppo. Traces of the world`s oldest civilizations are found at the sites of Mari, Ebla, and Ugarit, city-states that conducted trade with ancient Mesopotamia. At Ugarit, archaeologists have discovered a fragment believed to contain the oldest alphabet in the world.

The area comprising modern Syria has witnessed a long succession of historic dynasties: Hellenistic conquerors founded the cities of Latakia and Apamea, the nomadic Nabateans from Petra settled in the south, imperial Romans established their Provincial Arabia, and the Byzantines left a legacy of basilicas throughout the land.

Syria was a major crossroads on great historical trade routes: the Silk Route which connected the great empires of China with the ancient Mediterranean world, and the pilgrimage routes which still connect the Muslim world with Mecca.

An area of intense Christian activity, Syria is home to major sites mentioned in the Bible: the Ananias chapel, St. Paul`s window, and the Street Called Straight. Modern inhabitants of Maalula still speak a dialect of Aramaic, the language spoken by Jesus Christ.

The Umayyads, Islam`s first dynasty, established at Damascus the capital of an empire that extended from Spain to Persia. Major battles of the Crusades were fought on Syrian soil, and imposing Crusader castles still dot the Syrian landscape.

World War One ended 400 years of Ottoman dominance, and began a brief period of French occupation. On April 17, 1946, Syria was first established as an independent nation state.


Almost 22 Million.


The official language of Syria is Arabic. English is rapidly emerging as the foreign language of choice, with French taking secondary importance. Officially licenced guides are available for all major European languages.


Around 90% of Syrians are Muslim or members of Muslim-derived groups. Christians account for the remaining tenth or so of the population. Unlike many Arab countries, Syria does not have an official state religion. The regime in Syria has made a conscious effort to separate religion and politics, and to create a cohesive state founded on modern secular notions of citizenship, emphasizing a pan-Arab ideology. Mutual respect and tolerance among members of different faiths and sects represents a remarkable aspect of Syrian society.


March – May and September – November: Sunny, warm and clear, with temperatures reaching 25°C in the daytime. These are the best times to visit Syria.

December – February: Cold and rainy, with snow on rare occasions.
June – August: Hot and clear, with no rain, and temperatures occasionally reaching 40°C or above.


Nov – Mar  : GMT + 2 Hours.
Apr – Oct   : GMT + 3 Hours.

Business Hours

Business Hours: Offices usually open from Sun – Thu from 08:00 -15:30 and shops from Sat – Thu from 10:00 – 20:00. Shops and offices are closed on Fridays, except in Christian areas where they close on Sundays. Museums are closed on Tuesdays.

Religious and Public Holidays

Islamic Holidays: Among the Islamic holidays celebrated in Syria are the Small Feast at the end of Ramadan, or Eid Al-Fitr, and the Big Feast, or Eid Al-Adha. During the eid holidays many shops and offices close for three-four days. Due to the Islamic calendar, which uses lunar months, the dates of these feasts vary each year


220 V – 50 Hz. Electrical outlets have two holes for rounded prongs.

Entering Syria

Road: From Turkey, Lebanon, Iraq and Jordan.

Air: Damascus and Aleppo International Airports both handle regular flights from Europe, Africa and Asia. Charter flights may be arranged to Bassel Al Assad Airport in Lattakia.

Sea: Two major seaports of Tartous & Lattakia. No regular ferries available.


The Syrian Pound or Lira is the currency of Syria, with coins in denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10 and 25, and notes in denominations of 50, 100, 500 and 1000. Most travellers will use one official exchange rate; currently one US Dollar equals approximately 350 Syrian Pounds. All western currencies and travellers cheques can be exchanged into Syrian Pounds at any bank in Syria. Credit cards are only accepted in major hotels, shops, and restaurants in Syria, but due to service charges and exchange rates, it is best to travel with cash in Syria. ATM machines with international services are available in the main cities in Syria.


Syrian Song Festival in taking place every year in July in Aleppo. September also has some festivals like: Assad Library Book Fair in Damascus, Grape festival in Suweida, Bosra festival (every two years) and Silk Road Festival. In October, Cotton festival takes place in Aleppo and in November Damascus film festival (every two years).

Food & Drinks

The countries of the Fertile Crescent, including Syria, Jordan and Lebanon, are world renowned for delicious Mediterranean cuisine. A typical meal will begin with a wide variety of appetizers – mezzeh – followed by grilled meat, chicken or stuffed vegetables. Tea and coffee are served following the meal. Alcoholic beverages are widely available at top restaurants and hotels.

Vaccinations & Health

For vaccinations, please check with health authorities in your home country before travelling. While travellers may experience mild stomach discomfort or diarrhea, no serious health threats exist in Syria. Anti-diarrhea medication may be helpful.


Silk brocades, wooden mosaic handicrafts, brass, copper, jewelry, traditional clothing, beautifully embroidered tablecloths (known as Aghabani), and hand-blown glass. Duty free shops, which accept payment in foreign currency, may be found at the Damascus International Airport and city center for luxury items.

Car Rental

Nawafir makes it easy to rent a car, jeep or four-wheel-drive vehicle, with or without a driver. An international driver’s license is usually required, and in high season advance notice is almost always required as demand for cars often exceeds their availability.

Useful Information for Travelers

Social Conventions: While many Syrians do dress in Western style, most Syrians are quite conservative about dress. As with anywhere, take your cues from those around you. A handshake is the most appropriate greeting in most occasions, although some ultra-conservative people do not shake hands with members of the opposite sex. In such cases, an appropriate greeting is to smile, nod slightly, and place your right hand over your heart. Giving small gifts is appropriate, especially if invited to an Arab home for a meal. Smoking is common and is acceptable in private homes and in public places throughout the country.

Photography: As a general rule if you want to photograph people it is always better to ask first. Most importantly, do not take pictures of any government installations, buildings, or anything else that might be considered off-limits to visitors.

Safety: Crime and theft are virtually non-existent in Syria, making it a very safe place to travel. Furthermore, Syrians are modest and not aggressive, so travellers to Syria are unlikely to encounter people whose intentions are less than honest and friendly. Because the Middle East is highly politicized, Syria is often portrayed unfairly in international media as an unsafe, terrorist country. Travellers who look beyond this and travel to Syria to see for themselves are always pleasantly surprised to find that Syria is a fascinating, safe and hospitable place.