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Syria, officially the Arab Republic of Syria, is a sovereign country in the Middle East. It’s located on the eastern Mediterranean coast and it has thousands of years of history. Despite being a country that has suffered civil war since 2011, it still has several interesting points for tourism, as long as you always take into account some precautions. It’s recognized as an archaeological site of great importance to humanity, in addition to impressive deserts and many vestiges of Christianity and ancient civilizations. Its capital, Damascus, is the second-largest city in Syria after Aleppo. It’s also one of the oldest inhabited cities in the world with more than 4,000 years of history. Damascus is considered an important cultural and religious center in the Mediterranean. In this city, you can find the Umayyad Mosque or the Great Mosque of Damascus. This is the most important mosque in Damascus, and one of the oldest and largest on the planet. It was built by the Umayyad caliph al-Walid I in 705 on the Byzantine cathedral dedicated to John the Baptist since the time of the Roman emperor Constantine I. This mosque is considered the fourth holiest place in Islam, after Masŷid al -Ḥaram, the Masŷid al-Nabawi, and the Masŷid al-Aqsa. You can also visit The Azm Palace, which was originally built in 1750 as a residence for the Ottoman Governor of Damascus As'ad Pasha Al-Azm. This palace has the popular Museum of Popular Arts and Traditions. The Azm Palace has an architecture that represents very well the traditional houses of Damascus. It also has several buildings and two wings: the harem and the Selamlik. If you prefer to go shopping in Damascus, then you can walk through The Souq Al-Hamidiyah. This is the largest souk in Syria. It is about 600 meters long and 15 meters wide and is covered by a 10-meter high metal arch. The souk begins at Al-Thawra Street and ends at the Mosque of the Umayyads. Near this souk, you can find the ancient Roman temple of Jupiter 40 feet tall at its entrance. Another important place that you can visit in Damascus is Khan Asad Pasha, the largest khan in the City. It has an area of ​​2,500 square meters and it is located in the souk Al-Buzuriyah. This building was built and named in honor of Asad Pasha al-Azm, Governor of Damascus, between 1751 and 1752. This building is considered one of the best caravanserais in Damascus, and the most ambitious work of construction in the city. During the Ottoman era, it hosted caravans from Baghdad, Aleppo, Beirut, and other important regions of the Middle East.
Another important mosque in Damascus is the Tekkiye Mosque, near the Barada River. This building has a unique beauty with thousands of colorful tiles and mosaics. It also has a long dining room and an impressive watchtower that stands out easily when the sun goes down. Beyond Damascus, you can also visit other important buildings such as Crac des Chevaliers. This is a castle that was the headquarters of the Order of the Hospital of Saint John of Jerusalem in Syrian territory during the time of the Crusades. It’s one of the best-preserved medieval castles in the world. It was first inhabited in the 11th century by a settlement of Kurdish troops. As a result, it was known as Hisn al-Akrad, which means the Castle of the Kurds. You can also plan a visit to the Aleppo citadel. The Aleppo Citadel is a medieval palace located in northern Syria and is considered one of the largest and oldest castles in the world. The use of the hill of the citadel dates back to the middle of the third millennium BC. Over time, it was occupied by other civilizations such as the Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, and Mamluks. Much of the construction, as it stands today, is based on the Ayyubid period. The "Aga Khan Foundation for Culture" took a lot of work and effort to preserve this place in the 2000s in collaboration with the Aleppo Archaeological Society. This castle is acknowledged as a historical monument. You can also visit Palmyra since this city has the remains of the Temple of Bel. This temple was an ancient ruined stone construction dedicated to the Semitic god Bel. It was built in 32 AD and many people consider it as the center of religious life in Palmira. These ruins were considered by Aideen Cremin to be the best preserved in Palmyra. Sadly, this place has suffered a lot of damage due to terrorism attacks, but it still has some interesting points to know. Syria also has some important natural places to visit, such as Mount Hermon. This place is a set of mountains located in the southern part of the Antilíbano range. These summits serve as the border between Israel, Lebanon, and Syria. If you go with a secure group to visit the place, you’ll be able to see the imposing mountain that’s about 2814 meters above sea level. Keep in mind that in this place Lebanon is separated from the security zone controlled by the United Nations. The northwest slope of the mountain belongs to Lebanon, the eastern one to Syria, and the southwest and southern slopes are under Israel's control as a result of its victory during the Six-Day War in 1967. As you can see, Syria has a lot to offer, both in its capital and in its nearby areas. Besides, the warmth of its people is pleasant and they always welcome you to get to know their culture. It’s true that it has its risks and that you have to be very careful when you visit it, but that’s why we recommend you consider some security rules. First of all, always have your passport handy and never explore areas far from where you accommodate without an authorized and adequate group. Remember that your safety comes first, so the idea is to organize your trip with suitable companies and organizations. Many areas in Syria conflict, and therefore, you cannot visit them because they are extremely dangerous. Avoid at all costs entering these regions. As a last security measure, don’t forget to always have your documents up to date and prepare them adequately to be able to travel to this country. You may need a visa and a Health Declaration before entering. The Health Declaration is essential to preserve your health and safety. Therefore, we recommend obtaining it with iVisa.com’s service, as it won’t take much time or effort.