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                          



The East


The sites and cities included in this regional account are described in order of appearance as the River Euphrates flows southwestward.

Ja’bar Citadel is one of the Seleucid fortresses. Situated to the west of Raqqa, it stands on a spit of land and is reflected in the blue waters of the Euphrates.

Situated on the left bank of the river, the ancient city of Raqqa was built by Alexander the Great in the fourth century BC. Since the construction of the Euphrates Dam, it has played an important economic role in the life of modern Syria.

Halabiyé and Zalabiya are situated 40km (25 miles) from Deir ez Zor. Their ruins bear witness to their important military role during the reign of Queen Zenobia.

Deir ez Zor, considered to be the ‘pearl of the Euphrates’, is located on the right bank of the river. The garden and orchards along the banks of the Euphrates harmonise beautifully with the golden desert hues and the silver thread of the river.

Rahba Citadel, near Mayadin, was built to ensure the protection of the Euphrates route and to withstand Tatar and Mongol invasions.

The ancient city of Doura Europos (Salhieh) played an important economic and military role during the time of the Ancient Greeks, Romans, Persians and the Palmyrans.

Mari was built at a strategic point on the trade routes from Syria to Mesopotamia. The town’s oldest ruins date back 5000 years. Mari’s most impressive sight is the extraordinary Royal Palace. Built by Zimrilim, ruler of this important city-state 2000 years ago, this enormous palace boasts 300 rooms and halls. It was rediscovered in the course of excavations during the 1930s and is now protected by a modern roof.

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