Syria is home to every second person on planet Earth. The country got its name thanks to the colonies of ancient Greek Assyria, the name of which was formed from the Semitic “Sirion”. It is not for nothing that Syria is called the progenitor of all civilization, because most of the most significant achievements of mankind, which later became widespread, are somehow connected with this country. The territory of present-day Syria was inhabited for many millennia by many peoples who founded their own states. Ancient castles, fortifications, abandoned cities, majestic monuments, finds of great archaeological value are part of the glorious history of the peoples of the ancient world. Beautiful landscapes of the sea coast, forests, mountains, fertile valleys, desert, steppes, hilly areas – these are the few that you can see in Syria.
Geography of Syria
According to listofusnewspapers, the Syrian Arab Republic is a state located in the Middle East, which borders: in the southwest – with Israel and Lebanon, in the south – with Jordan, in the east – with Iraq and in the north – with Turkey. From the western part of Syria is washed by the Mediterranean Sea. The Ansaria mountain range divides the country into an arid eastern part and a humid western part. The fertile coastal plain stretches for 130 km from north to south from the Turkish to the Lebanese border along the Mediterranean coastline. Most of the territory of Syria is located on an arid plateau, which is dotted with chains of mountains Dazhabl-ar-Ruwak, Jabal-Bishri and Jabal-Abu-Rujmayn. Syria is divided into 14 provinces, the heads of which are appointed by the Minister of the Interior after they are approved by the Cabinet of Ministers.
The area of Syria is 185.2 thousand km2.
About 22 million people live in the country
The monetary unit is the Syrian pound (or lira) (SYR).
The official language is Arabic. English and Russian are also common.
You can get a visa on arrival, the cost is $20
Mediterranean subtropical, in the interior of the country – dry continental. The average temperature in January is +4-12 C, and in July +26-33 C. Precipitation is 100-300 mm, in the mountains – up to 1000 mm per year. Large oases have a milder climate in summer and a warmer climate in winter. Very low humidity in the interior of the country, and this helps to endure the heat more easily. It is best to visit the country in spring and summer..
90% of the population of Syria are Muslims, 10% are Christians. 75% of Muslims are Sunnis, and 25% are Alawites, Druze and Shiites. Half of the Christians are Syrian Orthodox, 18% are Catholics, mostly members of the Melkite Catholic and Syrian Catholic Churches. There are large communities of Russian Orthodox and Armenian Apostolic churches.
You need to follow some simple rules so that Syria is quite hospitable for you. In the country it is impolite to refuse coffee and in general any treat. You should not go around praying people in front, but when entering a mosque and a residential building, you need to take off your shoes. Women don’t have to wear low-cut, off-the-shoulder clothes. While in Syria, it is strictly forbidden to discuss your views on the situation with Israel, nor is it necessary to share about your past or future trips to Israel. According to the Quran, alcohol is considered a sin, but in Syria it is strictly prohibited. You can buy alcohol in every store, bar or restaurant, but you should not drink them in plain sight. There are some restrictions on the sale of alcohol during Ramadan. Photography of state institutions, palaces, transport and military facilities, in mosques is prohibited. To photograph local residents, you need to get permission from them. Change into formal attire before entering the mosque. You can visit Christian churches more freely, but do not forget that shorts and an open blouse are unacceptable here. Documents, and even better – always have their photocopies with you. With regards to crime, Syria is safe – the most that you can encounter during night walks is the importunity of pimps in Damascus.
Syria has free public health care. There are about 300 hospitals in the country, 1 doctor serves about 900 residents. Upon arrival in the country, you will need health insurance. You should be vaccinated against hepatitis, polio, typhoid and tetanus. Yellow fever vaccination is required for people traveling from areas where the disease is common. From May to October there is a small risk of contracting malaria, especially in the northeastern regions of the country. Medical care is free, going to the clinic or first aid is also free, but foreigners have to pay for “serious” visits to doctors. Almost all doctors speak one of the foreign languages, mainly English, Russian or French. In public hospitals, the level of care is just as high, and sometimes even higher, than in private clinics. It is recommended to drink bottled water, which can be bought in stores. Tap water is chlorinated and is safe to drink, but it’s best not to drink it. You also need to process unpasteurized milk. Fish and meat products must also undergo thorough heat treatment. Fruits and vegetables bought on the street should be thoroughly washed. Do not forget that Syria is a country with a scorching sun, so you need to have sunscreen, drink plenty of mineral water and fresh juices. On the street, you should wear a hat, protect your eyes with sunglasses that do not let in ultraviolet light. Even a beach awning will not save you from solar radiation, as it is reflected from water and sand and has a rather high level. The most dangerous time to be outdoors is from 11.00 to 14.00.