Syria offers a surprising amount of well preserved, fascinating historical sites that easily rival those found in neighboring Middle Eastern countries. But then, what else would you expect from the country of Damascus, the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world? This amazing city, once the capital of the Arab Islamic Empire, is the home of many impressive sites that must be seen to be believed, including the Ommayad Mosque, built in the eighth century, the Azem Palace, built in the eighteenth century for the city’s governor, and St. Paul’s church.
Imposing citadels dot the western provinces, each of which provide a day’s worth of history and adventure. The Crac des Chevaliers was immensely important as the gateway into Syria from the Mediterranean and was the site of conflict and control for centuries. Salah Al Din Citadel was once known as an impregnable Crusader fortress and was nearly impossible to access without difficulty until about fifty years ago. Al Marqab Citadel is located just outside Banyas and provides views of beautiful gardens and the sea. The fort itself is enormous and impressive with its black basalt stone.
Aleppo, located in the northeast, is considered to be the second city of Syria and is so old that Abraham is said to have camped out at the city’s acropolis. This thriving town also offers citadels, souks, shopping markets, museums and palaces.
There are two international airports in Syria, located in Damascus and Aleppo, with regular flights arriving from Europe, Africa, Asia and the Middle East. Options for traveling around the country include domestic flights between cities and an extensive bus network. As most locals do not own cars, this inexpensive method is the preferred transportation for Syrians and is considered to be quite convenient thanks to a frequent schedule. Find flights to Syria here.
There are over four hundred hotels available in Syria which provide a variety of choices according to budget. Major international chains are available in Damascus, Aleppo, Lattakia and Palmyra. Youth hostels are also available for young travelers on a budget in Damascus, Aleppo and Lattakia. In the summer, camping is also available in the outskirts of towns, with a much wider range of campsites available on the coast. You can book hotels in Syria here.