Syria is an ancient and beautiful land, full of fascinating culture, history, and adventure. From the ancient ruins of Palmyra to the bustling capital of Damascus, this small country is full of surprises and wonders.
But, is it safe to visit Syria?
This is a question that many potential travellers to Syria are asking themselves. It’s a valid one, as the country has been embroiled in a civil war for years.
In this article, we’ll explore the history of Syria, what you need to know before visiting, and if it’s safe for tourists. We’ll also cover the best places to visit and ultimate tips for travelling in Syria
Syria is a country located in the Middle East, bordered by Turkey, Iraq, Jordan, Israel, and Lebanon. It has a population of around 22 million people, most of whom are Arabs.
Syria is a diverse country with many ethnic and religious groups, including Kurds, Armenians, Assyrians, Druze, and Alawites. The official language is Arabic, although many people speak Kurdish, Armenian, and Aramaic.
The country is known for its rich and diverse culture, as well as its stunning landscapes. From the Mediterranean Sea to the Syrian Desert and the Euphrates River, Syria is full of natural beauty.
History of Syria
Syria has a long and rich history, dating back to the ancient civilizations of the Sumerians, Babylonians, and Assyrians. It was an important part of the Roman Empire, and later became a part of the Ottoman Empire in 1516.
In 1918, Syria became a League of Nations mandate, which was administered by France. After the Second World War, it regained its independence and in 1958, it merged with Egypt to form the United Arab Republic.
Syria became a republic in 1961 and was ruled by the Ba’ath Party, led by President Hafez al-Assad. In 2011, a civil war broke out between the government and rebel forces, which is still ongoing.
What to Know Before Visiting Syria
Before visiting Syria, there are a few important things to consider.
First, you should make sure that you have all the necessary paperwork. This includes a valid passport and visa, as well as a valid Syrian entry permit. You may also need to provide proof of travel insurance.
You should also make sure to research the local laws and customs, as some activities may be illegal or considered inappropriate. It’s also important to be aware of the security situation in the country, and to avoid areas that are known to be dangerous.
Is Syria Safe for Tourists?
Despite the ongoing conflict, Syria is still a safe destination for tourists. The government has taken steps to ensure the safety of visitors, and the security situation in most parts of the country is stable.
The areas that are safe to visit are mainly in the south of the country, such as the cities of Damascus, Homs, and Aleppo. These cities are well-guarded and have a strong police presence.
It’s important to note that the security situation can change quickly, so make sure to stay up to date with the latest news before travelling.
The Best Places to Visit in Syria
Syria is a fascinating country with many incredible sights and attractions. Here are some of the best places to visit in Syria:
Damascus: The capital of Syria, Damascus is full of ancient mosques and souks. It’s one of the oldest cities in the world, and a great place to explore the country’s history and culture.
Palmyra: This ancient city is located in the desert, and is one of the most important archaeological sites in the world. It’s full of beautiful ruins and monuments, and is a must-visit for any traveller.
Aleppo: This is Syria’s largest city, and is a great place to experience traditional Syrian culture. It’s home to some of the country’s best restaurants, as well as bustling markets and souks.
Tartus: Located on the Mediterranean Sea, Tartus is a great place to relax and enjoy the sun. It’s known for its beautiful beaches, and is a popular spot for swimming and sunbathing.
Hama: This city is known for its impressive water wheels, which are used to irrigate the nearby fields. It’s also home to some of the best restaurants in the country, and is a great place to try traditional Syrian cuisine.
Syrian Culture and Traditions
Syrian culture is heavily influenced by its Islamic heritage. Islam is the official religion, and most of the population is Muslim.
The culture is also heavily influenced by the country’s rich history. Ancient customs and traditions are still practised in many parts of the country, and traditional crafts and music are still popular.
Syrians are also known for their hospitality and generosity. Visitors are often welcomed warmly and treated with respect.
Syrian cuisine is one of the most underrated in the Middle East. It’s full of flavour and spices, and is a great way to experience the country’s culture.
The cuisine is heavily influenced by the country’s Mediterranean and Arabic roots. Dishes such as hummus, tabbouleh, and kababs are popular, as well as traditional dishes such as kibbeh and fatteh.
Syrian desserts are also worth trying. Baklava, qatayef, and kunafa are all popular treats.
Tips for Travelling in Syria
If you’re planning to visit Syria, here are some tips to keep in mind:
Dress modestly: Syrian culture is conservative, so it’s best to dress modestly. Women should cover their heads and shoulders, and men should avoid shorts and tank tops.
Be aware of the security situation: As mentioned above, the security situation can change quickly, so make sure to stay up to date with the latest news before travelling.
Learn some Arabic: Knowing some basic phrases in Arabic will make it easier to communicate with locals. It will also show that you are respectful of their culture.
Bring cash: Credit cards and ATMs are not widely available, so make sure to bring enough cash for your trip.
Syrian Visa Requirements
The visa requirements for Syria depend on your country of origin. Most countries require a valid passport and visa, as well as a valid Syrian entry permit.
You may also need to provide proof of travel insurance and a medical certificate. You should also make sure to have all the necessary paperwork before travelling.
Syria is a beautiful and fascinating country, full of incredible sights and experiences. Despite the ongoing conflict, it is still a safe destination for tourists, and is a great place to explore the country’s culture, history, and cuisine.
If you’re thinking of visiting Syria, make sure to do your research and be aware of the security situation. With the right preparation and planning, you’re sure to have an unforgettable journey.
So, is Syria safe for tourists? The answer is yes. With the right precautions and preparation, you can have a safe and enjoyable trip to this incredible destination.