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                          

 


Syria country profile

 

 

Map of Syria

Once the centre of the Islamic Empire, Syria covers an area that has seen invasions and occupations over the ages, from Romans and Mongols to Crusaders and Turks.

A country of fertile plains, mountains and deserts, it is home to diverse ethnic and religious groups, including Kurds, Armenians, Assyrians, Christians, Druze, Alawite Shias and Arab Sunnis, the last of who make up a majority of the Muslim population.

Modern Syria gained its independence from France in 1946

Untied Arab Republic 1958

Overview

Economy: The government has made reform of its under-performing, state-run economy a top priority

Facts

  • Full name: The Syrian Arab Republic
  • Population: 22.5 million (UN, 2010)
  • Capital: Damascus
  • Area: 185,180 sq km (71,498 sq miles)
  • Major language: Arabic
  • Major religions: Islam, Christianity
  • Life expectancy: 73 years (men), 77 years (women) (UN)
  • Monetary unit: 1 Syrian pound = 100 piastres
  • Main exports: Oil, gas
  • GNI per capita: US $2,410 (World Bank, 2009)
  • Internet domain: .sy
  • International dialling code: +963

Media

Syrian men walking past a newspaper stand

The press

Television

  • Syrian TV - state-run, operates two domestic networks and a satellite channel, broadcasting in Arabic, English and French
  • Al-Dunya TV - private

Radio

News agency

AT-A-GLANCE

Sprawling Damascus is one of the world's oldest cities

 
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