The Syria of today offers tourists as much a cultural experience as a sightseeing one, where ancient history provides a fascinating backdrop to everyday life on the streets                          



Central Region

PALMYRA: This town is set in a desert oasis. The city was ruled by the legendary Queen Zenobia, who stood against the two great empires of the Romans and the Persians. Zenobia was taken captive to Rome when the Emperor Aurelian conquered and destroyed the city in AD 272. The ruins of the Valley of 


Tombs, the Hypogeum of the Three Brothers, the Temple of Baal and the Monumental Arch, now a world UNESCO Heritage Site, are some of the fine remains found over a wide area of the city, prized as some of the most famous monuments to the Classical period in the Middle East.

ELSEWHERE: The third-largest city in Syria, Homs is known for its industry, and is the site of Syria’s first oil refinery. Of historical interest is the mausoleum of Khalid Ibn al-Walid.

65km (40 miles) outside Homs, Crac des Chevaliers is the most famous crusader castle in the world. A stronghold of the Hospitallers during the days of the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem (1100-1290), it maintained a garrison of a couple of thousand soldiers in peacetime. The castle, rising from an altitude of 670m (2200ft), was protected by watchtowers and supplied with food from the surrounding fertile countryside. The crusader castles of Salaheddin, near Latakia, and Markab, near Banyas, also merit a visit.


Situated on the River Orontes, 45km (28 miles) from Homs, Hama dates back to beyond 5000 BC. The Norias, gigantic wooden waterwheels, are a unique feature, still used to provide water for the city and to irrigate the many public gardens. The orchards, the Great Mosque and the Al Azem Palace’s Museum are also of interest.

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