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                          




Occupying an area slightly larger than North Dakota and twice the size of Portugal, Syria is bordered in the south-west by Lebanon, in the south by Jordan, in the east by Iraq and in the north by Turkey. The country has four geographical regions: a fertile 180km (112mi) long coastal strip; the Jebel an-Nusariyah and Jebel Lubnan ash-Sharquiyyeh mountain ranges which form a 2000m (6560ft) high border with Lebanon; the cultivated steppes inland from the mountain range; and the stony Syrian desert of the south-east.

Syria's mountains forests mostly yew, lime and fir trees, while elsewhere agriculture dominates. Wolves, hyenas, foxes, badgers, wild boar, jackals, deer, bears, squirrels and polecats roam the mountains, but you're likely to see anything more exciting than donkeys, goats and camels.

Syria has a Mediterranean climate with hot, dry summers and mild, wet winters, although inland it gets drier On the coast, average daily temperatures range from 29C (84F) in summer (July) to 10C (50F) in winter (January). In the steppes area, where most of the cities are, expect temperatures of around 35C (95F) in summer and 12C (54F) in winter, while the desert can clock up temperatures of 46C (115F). 

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