Discover Syria

Until the end of world War 1 , geographical Syria included present –day Syria , Jordan , Palestine .Present-day Syria , however , coves some 185.000 sq. km . with a population of 12.000.000 people ( 1986 estimate ) . Its neighbours are Turkey to the north , Jordan and Palestine to the south , Lebanon to the west , and Iraq to the east .

It also has a Mediterranean coastline to the west . It is triangular in shape east of the Mediterranean ,and extends between latitudes 32 to 37 north and longitudes 25 to 42 east of Greenwich .
Syria can be divided into five distinct touristic regions with varying features and terrain .
In the west there is a coast line 175 km long , and mountains divided into tow ranges standing opposite each other .
The eastern rang , stretching along the Syria – Lebanon border and called Eastern Mount Lebanon , wherein Mount Hermon constitutes the highest peak rising to some 2814 meters and covered with snow all year .
The Western range , called Mount Lebanon , extends to the northern part of Syrian coastline where it is know as the Latakia  Mountain , and is covered with thickets and forests .
The Orontes river flows between these tow ranges and creates a fertile valley extending north to Homs , Hama ,and the Aleppo plains
The central part of Syria is covered by what is know as the Al-Sham desert , where plains and pasture lands lend an unusual charm to a vast terrain of sand and roc . In the middle of this lies the famous oasis of palmyra .
North of  the desert there is a huge fertile basin formed by the Euphrates River , whose source is in Turkish territory . It crosses Syria diagonally in the north-east to exit into Iraq territory , having been fed by tow tributaries in Syria , namely the Khabur and Balikh rivers . On the Syrian part of the river rises a great dam which forms the 80 km – long  al – Assad Lake .
In this part of the basin there are several mountains , and some newly-discovered oil-fields .
– In this south –west the Ghuta forms a green belt of orchards and farms which surround the capital , Damascus , full of fruit trees . Through this region runs the river Barada , which the Romans called “ The Golden River ‘’ Its spring is in Zabadani , a summer resort near Damascus . The river flows through miles of meadows and orchards , then branches into seven small rivers before reaching Damascus .
– In the south , Jabal al-Arab forms the greater part of the region with its hills , volcanic rocks , historic cities , and rich vineyards . the vast plain of Houran and the Golan Heights form the remainder of this region , and have long been the most fertile part of it along the borders with Lebanon and Palastine .
A land of diversity:
Ancient  irrigation canals and modern dams , the plough and the tractor , wooden norias in perpetual motion and the latest spraying devices are to be found side by side giving life to the dry and thirty land .The costumes of country people are no less colourful and divers than the lands they cultivate .The individual character of each village is reflected in the architecture of its houses , and in the dress of its inhabitants .The art festival held at Palmyra and Bosar every year show how the symmetry of the ancient columns and arches blends with the music from all over the world .
Traveling in Syria :
one can see several civilizations within an hour . for example, when browsing in the Damascus souq near the Omayyad Mosque .
The mosque is an impressive Islamic construction erected on the remains of an ancient Aramaic temple . Just outside it there is an enormous Roman arch on huge columns , and close by are Byzantine engravings surrounded by Ottoman , Ayoubite and Mamluk domes .
As you leave urban areas behind to wander about the countryside with its mountains , hills , valleys and plains , you will find an endless variety of colour and scenery .
An hour’s driver will take from fields wheat and cotton to vineyards and olive trees , to pomegranate and palm-tree oases , to daisy and oleander meadows .
On the sea-shore to the north you can watch the Mediterranean’s white waves , while in the golden desert you will see a deluge of wild flowers in spring .