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 North

ALEPPO: Older possibly even than Damascus, Aleppo’s massive Citadel stands on the site of a Hittite acropolis. This UNESCO Heritage Site is one of the most magnificent examples of Islamic Arab military architecture in Syria. There are an impressive number of mosques in the city. For the tourist, the souk (market), made up of 16km (10 miles) of meandering low corridors lined with shops and bustling with activity, is probably the greatest attraction. The well preserved hammams, or public baths, are of interest, as are the ancient khans (rest houses). Some fine artefacts and historic reminders of Syria’s rich cultural past are housed in the archaeological museum. Aleppo is also the commercial and industrial centre of Syria.

LATAKIA: This is Syria’s principal port and the metropolitan city of the country. Set on the Mediterranean coast, Latakia is a major holiday resort. The city stands at the foot of the forested chain of mountains overlooking the coastal strip on one side and the edge of the Fertile Plains (the ‘Cradle of Civilisation’) on the other. There are a number of antiquities, including the ruined Temple of Bacchus and a triumphal arch.

Excursions: Attractions in the area include the town of Tartus, beaches and mountains, and the Latakia mountain resorts of Kassab and Slounfeh. Near Tartus, 10km (6 miles) inland, are the Drekish Mountains, famous for the purity of their water.

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