Syria played an incomparable role
in the history of mankind. It is often described as the cradle of
civilization, since many of the greatest human achievements that later
spread to encompass the world had their beginnings in ancient Syria
(which extended from the Taurus Mountains to Sinai and from the
Mediterranean to the Euphrates). In this land, Man discovered the
secrets of Agriculture and Metallurgy, and invented the very first
alphabet. Religions, Philosophies, Language of trade, Systems of urban
development, of diplomatic and cultural exchange; all these germinated
in geographical Syria. It has been rightly said, therefore, that every
cultured man belongs to two nations: his own, and Syria.
Modern Syria is situated in Asia along the eastern edge of the Mediterranean
Sea. It has a 180 Km. (112 miles) coastline and is borders by Turkey, Iraq, Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon and
Name: Syria Arab Republic
185000 Km2 (71.500 sq. Miles)
12 million (1986)
A variety of landscape: seacoast, mountains, forests, rolling hills,
fertile valleys, Plains and steppes.
A pleasant and varied Mediterranean climate with four distinct
seasons. Average temperature 32º C (90ºF) in summer, 10º
C (50º F) in winter and 22º C (72º F) in spring and
November through February: GMT +2 hours (Winter); March through
October: GMT +3 hours (Summer)
Syria is a republic whose President is elected by popular plebiscite
for a 7- year term. He appoints the Prime Minister and the cabinet.
The Legislative People's Assembly consists of 250 representatives
elected for a 4-year term by direct, universal vote.
Entry Formalities: A valid
passport with an 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.
HOW TO GET THERE
Damascus, the main gateway to Syria, is connected with all
continents by the national carrier (SYRIAN AIR)
and major international airlines. By land, Syria is connected, by
highways, with Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and turkey. There are seaport
facilities at Latakia and Tartous.
There are international (5 stars) Hotels in Damascus (Sheraton - Meridian
- Cham Palace - Ebla), Latakia (Meridian - Cote d'Azore),
Palmyra (Cham), Deir ez - zor (Cham), Hama (Afamia Cham), Bosra (Cham) and Aleppo (Shahba Cham). Numerous first and second class hotels
are found throughout the country. Chalets and Camps are also available
along the coastline during summer.
All major cities are served by buses, cars and trains. Special
tourist buses and cars are available at (KARNAK) and (TRANSTOUR)
companies. (SYRIAN AIR) has domestic flights connecting Damascus with
the principal cities. City transport includes taxis and buses.
The Syrian pound (called Lira) is divided into 100 Piastres. The
bank notes are 5,10,25,50,100,200, 500 and 1000 Liras. The less are
coins in Piastres up to 200.
ELECTRICAL CURRENT: 220 V, 50 Hz
Daily Arabic newspapers as well as foreign periodicals
are sold at many news - stands. Local radio and television programs
are broadcast daily in Arabic, French and English.
Telephone, telegraph and telex systems are available.
AND MEASURES: Metric system.
The official language is Arabic. Most Syrians also
speak another language which, most often, is French or English.
Government: 8.00 to 14.00
Shopping: 8.00 to 13.30 and 16.00 to 19.00 (winter),20.00 (summer).
Weekend: Friday is the official weekend.
There is a great diversity in Syrian cuisine, which is
reputed thought the Arab world. The best know dishes are: KIBBLE (pounded lamb meat and crushed wheat) which itself comes in countless
variations, MESHWI (skewered grilled meat) , HOUMMOS (pureed chick
peas), TABBOULEH (cracked wheat salad), and KOUNAFA Pastry (shredded
baked wheat dough filled with cheese, cream or pistachios, covered
with syrup). Western cuisine is available in all international hotels
and major restaurants.
Shopping in Syria is an endless delight due to the variety,
beauty and fame of Syrian products and handicrafts such as: brocades, hand blown
glass, embroideries, engraved copper works, silver works,
Cultural and artistic life is active all year - round. Art
Exhibitions are held almost weekly. Annual international festival for
dance and music take place in the midst of a splendid historical site:
BOSRA (October). In addition there are: Damascus International fair
(September), Damascus international flower Show (May). Cinema Festival
and Theater festival alternate in November. The Desert Festival takes
place yearly in may in Palmyra.
Embassies of all major countries are located in Damascus.
There are also some foreign consulates in Aleppo.
CITIES and MOST
oldest continuously inhabited city. Many civilizations have left their
mark on Damascus over the centuries: Aramaic, Greek, Roman, Byzantine,