Things to see and do - Syria
Leaving for Syria
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Syria Travel guide
Syria : Michelin's recommendations
Cradle of the history of humanity, Syria is home to numerous vestiges of ancient Eastern art, as well as Greco-Roman, Byzantine and Islamic architecture, which by turns transport visitors from one era to another, at times in surprising ways. Today the country is shaken by the wave of protests and revolutions that started in Tunisia and spread to the Near and Middle East. It is impossible to say when the situation will be sufficiently peaceful for travellers to be able to appreciate the riches of this land once again.
Ancient cities (Latakia, Jableh) are dotted along the 183km of coastline, which is dedicated to olives, oranges and vegetable crops.
Encircled by walls, Old Damascus has preserved the capital''s Eastern image. The city stands on the site of the lost paradise and today continues to enchant visitors thanks to its gardens, walls, lively souks, mosques and caravanserais, not far from the hammams that are still in operation. As you wander around, all your senses come to life, roused by the scents of the spices in Souk Bzouriyeh, the coloured fabrics in Souk Hamidiyé and the call to prayer of the muezzins at Umayyad Mosque.
Southeast of Damascus, the volcanic regions of Hauran and Jebel Druze stretch to the Jordanian border, boasting a string of ancient cities against a backdrop of black basalt used in erecting the buildings. Another specificity of this fertile region: its mainly Druze population is distinguished by its blond hair and light-coloured eyes, the women don't wear veils and the men wear a sarouel, a black jacket and a white turban around their head.
No introduction to Syria would be complete without mention of Tadmor, the ancient city of Palmyra, steeped in legend; Krak des Chevaliers, an exceptional castle built by the Crusaders; and Aleppo, where the city''s famous soap is sold in the Middle East''s most authentic souk, not far from the impressive Citadel.
Syria : Must-see towns and regions
This little town in the Jabal al-Druze boasts the ruins of the Roman city of Philippopolis. Built in the 3C by the Emperor Philip the Arab, who hailed from a pre-existing settlement on the same site, ...
Since the dawn of time, man has used materials close to hand for the building of structures. The same applies in the Jabal al-Druze town of Bosra, which since Antiquity has been adorned by magnificent...
Tartus is the most attractive of Syria’s Mediterranean coastal towns. Its characterful centre sited in the crusader citadel, its little seafront – “the corniche” – with its cafés and restaurants offer...
For a long time, Aleppo was the economic nexus between east and west, a role it lost in the early 19C on account of earthquakes and the decline of the Ottoman Empire... From this glorious past, the ci...
Maaloula is a small Christian village in the Qalamoun region northwest of Damascus, with numerous churches and monasteries, like the convent of St Thecla and convent of St Sergius where the Greek Orth...
At the intersection of the Damascus, Aleppo, Palmyra and Tartus roads, under 200km from the country’s three main cities, Homs (around 850 000 inhabitants) can be described as Syria’s crosssroads. Desp...
The town of Izraa lies 80km south of Damascus, in the Hauran region; much of its population subsists on rudimentary farming. The historic centre of black basalt houses standing cheek by jowl along nar...
The village of Al Srouje has curious sugar-loaf structures, the traditional dwelling-type of the region. The buildings comprise two or more domed rooms. The dome is of brick on the inside; its roughca...