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Syria is a land of mystery which has attracted enthusiastic tourists for centuries and is home to a wealth of ancient influences. The strategic importance of the country is due to its unique position at the meeting point of three continents - Asia, Africa and Europe, as well as being situated between the Caspian Sea, the Black Sea, the Indian Ocean, and the Nile. The Silk Road led from China to Doura-Europos (Salhieh), from Palmyra, and Homs to Syria's coastal ports on the Mediterranean.
Its capital, Damascus, is the world’s oldest inhabited city and contains an abundance of Greek ruins as well as mosques, temples and miranets. The many bazaars (or souks) transform your vision of this country and will take you to a different world. Roman architecture and Ottoman caravanserai are abundant. The cities of Aleppo and Bosra – together with Damascus – are listed on Unesco's World Heritage list, as is the ruined city of Palmyra. History is woven into every day life. On the northern coast of the city, you can view some wonderful examples of old and modern ships, as well as the many traditional villages clustered along the coast. The inhabitants of Maaloula, a village close to Damascus and the desert, still speak Aramaic – the language of Jesus Christ.
Syrians are among the most friendly and hospitable people in the world, and most visitors to their country end up developing a lifelong infatuation with its gentle charms. Since Bashar al-Assad took over the reins from his father in 2001, modernisation has been on the national agenda. All this modernisation doesn't mean that Syria has lost sight of its past. The country has more than its fair share of significant historical sites, all of which are respectfully maintained by the authorities. Driving in Syria requires caution as drivers here tend to ignore other drivers and lane markings. Be vigilant while driving at night as it is difficult to see pedestrians who may cross your path without warning.