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March 12th 2013
Published: March 12th 2013
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I SPENT ONE FULL DAY IN SYRIA PART OF THE CRUISE OF THE MED I WAS ON WELL WHAT CAN I SAY WITHOUT BEING RUDE OR INSULTING IT'S NOT A PLACE I BE HURRYING BACK FOR A VISIT ANYTIME SOON IN THE FACT WE MANGERED TO SEE THE WHOLE COUNTRY IN A DAY DOES NOT SELL IT DOES IT DON'T GET ME WRONG SYRIAN PEOPLE ARE VERY PLEASENT BUT A VERY RURAL AND POOR COUNTRY THE COUNTRY IS IN ASIA NEARBY COUNTRY IS LEBANON AND ITS IN THE MEDITERRIAN SEA TO ITS WEST TURKEY IS TO IT'S NORTH IRAQ TO ITS EAST JORDAN TO IT'S SOUTH AND ISRAEL TO IT'S SOUTH WEST THE COUNTRY HAS LOTS OF DESERTS AND MOUTAINS THE POPLUTION ARE MUSLIUMS WITH A FEW CHRISTIANS. SYRIA USED TO BE CALLED LEVANT SINCE 2011 THERE HAVE BEEN OUTBREAKS OF WAR FOR INDEPENDENCE FROM EGYPT UP TO 60,0000 PEOPLE HAVE BEEN SADLY KILLED PEOPLE HAVE FLED TO NEARBY COUNTRIES FOR SAFETY. SYRIA'S WEATHER IS 32 TO 34 DEGREES THE CLIMATE IS DRY AND HOT THERE WINTERS ARE MILD, SYRIA'S INCOME COMES FROM PETROLEUM FOUND IN ITS DESERTS IN 1958 SYRIA HAS IT'S OWN PRESIDENT SADLY SYRIA HAS BEEN NAMED THE WORST HUMAN RIGHTS RANKED IT "SYRIA NOT FREE". SYRIA HAS 3 AIRPORTS (Damascus, Aleppo and Lattakia) ARABIC IS THE MAIN LANGUAGE TURKISH IS ANOTHER LAUNGUAGE SPOKEN.

Syria is a traditional society with a long cultural history. Importance is placed on family, religion, education, self-discipline and respect. The Syrians' taste for the traditional arts is expressed in dances such as the al-Samah, the Dabkeh in all their variations, and the sword dance. Marriage ceremonies and the birth of children are occasions for the lively demonstration of folk customs. Television was first introduced to Syria in 1960, when Syria and Egypt (which adopted television that same year) were part of the United Arab Republic. It broadcast in black and white until 1976. Syrian soap operas have considerable market penetration throughout the eastern Arab world.The Abbasiyyin Stadium in Damascus is home to the Syrian national football team.

Linked to the region of Syria where a specific dish has originated, Syrian cuisine is rich and varied in its ingredients. Syrian food mostly consists of Southern Mediterranean, Greek, and Southwest Asian dishes. Some Syrian dishes also evolved from Turkish and French cooking. Dishes like shish kebab, stuffed zucchini, yabra' (stuffed grape leaves, the word yapra' derıves from the Turkish word 'yaprak' meaning leaf).Drinks in Syria vary depending on the time of the day and the occasion. Arabic coffee, also known as Turkish coffee is the most well-known hot drink usually prepared in the morning at breakfast or in the evening. It is usually served for guests or after food. Arak, an alcoholic drink, is also a well-known beverage served mostly on special occasions. More examples of Syrian beverages include Ayran,Jallab, White coffee, and a locally manufactured beer called Al Shark.The main dishes that form Syrian cuisine are kibbeh, hummus, tabbouleh, fattoush, labneh, shawarma, mujaddara, shanklish, pastırma,sujuk and baklava. Baklava is made of filo pastry filled with chopped nuts and soaked in honey. Syrians often serve selections of appetizers, known as meze, before the main course. za'atar, minced beef, and cheese manakish are popular hors d'œuvres. The Arabic flatbread khubz is always eaten together with meze.



Education is free and compulsory from ages 6 to 12. Schooling consists of 6 years of primary education followed by a 3-year general orvocational training period and a 3-year academic or vocational program. The second 3-year period of academic training is required foruniversity admission. Total enrollment at post-secondary schools is over 150,000. The literacy rate of Syrians aged 15 and older is 90.7%!f(MISSING)or males and 82.2%!f(MISSING)or females.
GovernmentDominant-party unitary
semi-presidential state - PresidentBashar al-Assad - Prime Minister<td style="vertical-align: top; border-top-style: solid; border-top-color: #aaaaaa; padding-top: 0px; padding-right: 0.6em; padding-bottom: 0.2em; padding-left: 0.6em; border-style: initial; border-color: initial; border-width: 0px;">Wael Nader al-Halqi - Speaker of the People's CouncilMohammad Jihad al-Laham

CapitalDamascus



<li style="padding-top: 0px; padding-right: 0px; padding-bottom: 6px; padding-left: 18px; margin-top: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-bottom: 0px; margin-left: 6px; background-image: url('http://www.netdoctor.co.uk/images/bullet_grey.gif'😉 background-attachment: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-color: initial; line-height: 16px; background-position: 4px 6px; background-repeat: no-repeat no-repeat;">here is a low risk of malaria in the areas of syria that are most often visited by tourists, but appropriate preventive medicines are required for some areas. Adequate measures to avoid mosquito bites, such as nets and creams, should also be used.<li style="padding-top: 0px; padding-right: 0px; padding-bottom: 6px; padding-left: 18px; margin-top: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-bottom: 0px; margin-left: 6px; background-image: url('http://www.netdoctor.co.uk/images/bullet_grey.gif'😉 background-attachment: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-color: initial; line-height: 16px; background-position: 4px 6px; background-repeat: no-repeat no-repeat;">vaccine's needed are - typhoid ,hepatities a & b, diphtheria, tuberculosis, rabies, meningetis, chlorea, and yellow fever.


A new coinage was introduced between 1947 and 1948 in denominations of 2½, 5, 10, 25 and 50 qirsha and 1 pound, with the 2½, 5 and 10 qirush struck in cupro-nickel and the others in silver. Aluminium-bronze replaced cupro-nickel in 1960, with nickel replacing silver in 1968. In 1996, following high inflation, new coins were introduced in denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10 and 25 pounds, with the 25 pounds a bimetallic coin. In 2003 5, 10, and 25 pound coins were issued, with latent images.

In 1921, cupro-nickel ½ qirsh coins were introduced, followed in 1926 by aluminium bronze 2 and 5 qirshan. In 1929, holed, nickel-brass 1 qirsh and silver 10, 25 and 50 qirsha were introduced. Nickel-brass ½ qirsh were introduced 1935, followed by zinc 1 qirsh and aluminium-bronze 2½ qirsh in 1940. During the Second World War, brass 1 qirsh and aluminium 2½ qirsh emergency coins were issued. These pieces were crudely produced and undated.

In 1919, the Banque de Syrie introduced notes for 5, 25 and 50 qirsha, 1 and 5 livres. These were followed, in 1920, by notes for 1 qirsh and 10, 25, 50 and 100 livres. In 1925, the Banque de Syrie et du Grand-Liban began issuing notes and production of denominations below 25 qirsha ceased. Notes below 1 livre were not issued from 1930. In 1939, the issuing body again changed its name, to the Banque de Syrie et du Liban.

Between 1942 and 1944, the government introduced notes for 5, 10, 25 and 50 qirsha. In the early 1950s, undated notes were issued by the Institut d'Emission de Syrie in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 25, 50 and 100 livres, followed by notes dated 1955 for 10 and 25 livres. The Banque Centrale de Syrie took over paper money issuance in 1957, issuing the same denominations as the Institut d'Emission.

In 1958, the French language was removed from Syrian banknotes and replaced by English. Notes were issued for 1, 5, 10, 25, 50, 100 and 500 pounds. The 500 pounds note was only issued dated 1958 but was reintroduced in 1976. In 1997 and 1998, a new series of notes was introduced in denominations of 50, 100, 200, 500 and 1000 pounds, with the lower denominations replaced by coins. It is expected that the Central Bank of Syria will introduce banknotes of 2000 and 5000 pounds soon.



Al Salamu Aleykom – translates to peace be upon you. used to greet and sometimes also to say goodbye. This is the formal type of greeting.

Ma al Salamah: translates to – peace be with you. used to say farewell.

Marhaba: translates to hello. Informal greeting, used with friends and close associates.

Kam, Be Kam – How much is it.

Shokran – thank you

Afwan – when used to reply to the above, it means you’re welcome. when used on its own, it can mean sorry or excuse me.

Min Fadlak, Lao Samahet – please

Bidee – i want

Taxi – Taxi

Wein el, Ayna el – where is the

Mathaf – museum

Bolice, Shirta – police

Makhfar Shirta, bolice – police station

Hotel – hotel

Matar – airport

Mahtat Bas, Bolman – bus, coach station

Mahatat Qitar – train station

Toilet, Hammam – toilet, bathroom, washroom

Mashfa, Mostashfa – hospital

Safara – embassy

Mat’am – restaurant

Souk – shops

Mak’ha – cafe

Mak’ha Internet – internet cafe

Talephone – telephone

Food, drink:

Akel – food

Maiye (pronounced “my”) – water

Kazooz, kola – soft drink

Beera – beer

Nbeet – wine

A A : Yes

Shou-Kran: Thank you, very kind of you, I am grateful.

La la: No, No (nod the head up).

La Shou-kran : No Thank you

Hello : Marhaba

Good morning: S-bahh Al-khair

Good evening: Masa Al-khair

Please: Men-fadllaak (m) if you are speaking to a male.

Please: Men-fadllake (f) if you are speaking to a female.

How much : Gha-daish ?

How much money : Gha-daish Massarie?

Money : M-ssary

Syrian Pound: Laira

20 Syrian Pounds : Esh-reen Laira

What is the time ?: Shoo al wa-ght?

Only four and a half hours flight from London to fly to Syria.

Damascus

Syria’s capital and UNESCO World Heritage Site. Existed since the 3rd millennium B.C. Damascus is the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world, it has so many monuments and interesting sites to see and explore.

Top sights in Damascus:

The charming Old City is surrounded by a Roman wall, in which the main covered market (Souk Al-Hamidieh) lies among cobbled streets, the souk is a pedestrian zone, packed with shops on each side overflowing with colourful merchandise. The end of the souk gives way to two gigantic Corinthian columns, they are what remains of the temple of Jupiter. Just a few minutes walk from the souk is the spectacular Omayyad Mosque which was built in 705 A.D and hosts the shrine of St John the Baptist. Close to the north gate of the Mosque is a little mausoleum which contains the tomb of Salah ad-din, who rallied Islam and defeated the Crusader invaders.



Not far from the Umayyad Mosque, on the southern side is the AzemPalace, it was designed in 1749 for Assad Pasha al-Azem, Governor of Damascus. In 1952 the National Museum of the arts and popular Traditions of Syria was established at Azem Palace, it contain thousands of items (furniture, tools, unusual items used in Syria as it was), the whole display is very educational and extremely attractive.

IN Damascus when you walk down the Street which called Straight, you might feel that you were walking alongside Saul of Tarsus (who was transformed into St Paul on seeing the light of faith) on "the road to Damascus"..

Seidnaya



30 km from Damascus, over a hilltop is the village of Seidnaya “Our Lady”



The village is surrounded by vineyards and olive trees, it has a famous monastery founded in 547, dedicated to the Blessed Virgin; the monastery contains a portrait of the Virgin Mary believed to have been painted by Saint Luke.



Ma’loula



55km from Damascus is the village of Maaloula, at this village the houses are carved out of the mountain stone and the people still speaks Aramaic, the language of Jesus Christ. There are two important monasteries in Ma'loula, Mar Sarkis and Mar Takla.




Aleppo



Is the second important city in Syria and UNESCO World Heritage site (350 km north of Damascus).
Aleppo is famous for its architecture and cuisine, for its attractive churches, mosques, schools, tombs and baths.
The citadel, an immense structure in the heart of the old city.




St.Simeon's Monastery







60 km north of Aleppo is the well-preserved Byzantine monastery of St Simeon, it was one of the most famous Christian pilgrimage centre for that period.



Born in 386 A.D. Age 13 he decided to become a monk, spending his time praying in isolation. Word got around and people began to visit to seek his blessing. Simeon resented this invasion of his solitude and was driven to erect a 3m high pillar in order to get away from the ever increasing number of people and to be closer to god. He kept adding height to the pillar till it reached 20m, devoted his entire time to fasting, preaching and praying.


He was known as

Simon the stylite and he was visited by pilgrims from as far as France, Spain and Britain.



After spending 37 years on his pillar, Simeon died in September 459. He inspired many imitators, and for the next century, ascetics living on pillars( stylites) were a common sight throughout the Byzantine Levant.
The site of Simeon’s pillar became a perennial attraction for pilgrims, centuries of chipping away at the column for holy souvenirs, the pilgrims, eventually reduced the pillar to a rounded shape stone less than 2m high.In 475 A.D, a classical Byzantine church was built in the shape of a cross around Simeon's pillar, the 5,000 square meters of floor space was nearly equal to the size of the Hagia Sophia in Constantinople. The hilltop setting for this church is dramatic and the sandy-coloured buildings are extraordinary with beautiful architectural innovations such as the carving of acanthus leaves.Opposite the southern basilica along the sacred road ( the via sacra) is the baptistery, which was built soon after the main church.The monastery of St. Simeon was destroyed by major earthquake.



Palmyra



The ancient oasis of Palmyra is very special place, Located beside a hot-water spring, this magnificent site is most notable today for its breathtaking displays of Roman architecture in the form of its Great Colonnade, amphitheatre, Temple of Bel, Valley of Tombs.



In the past, Palmyra(city of palms), also known in Arabic as Tadmor(city of dates), has enjoyed 400 years as a trade centre between East and West.



The Romans invaded this city in the first century BC and during the third century Queen 'Zenobia challenged the Roman emperor Aurelian.



The National Museum of Palmyra houses many of the statues , coins, jewellery and other items found in the tombs and other ruins of the city.




Homs



Homs is the 3rd most important city in Syria. It lies 160 km to the north of Damascus. Homs, which was called Mesa in ancient times, was the third station on the Silk route after Dura Europos and Palmyra.



Krak des Chevaliers (fortress of the knights) the majestic Crusader fortress Lawrence of Arabia called it simply “the finest castle in the world”. . Perched on a hilltop with spectacular views of the surrounding countryside, Its the best preserved of all crusader castles of Syria, several famous crusaders stayed here on their conquest, including King Edward I of England, who was greatly impressed by its imposing design.



Bosra




Situated 140 Km south of Damascus, Bosra is most famous for its magnificent Roman amphitheater, which was later converted into a fortress. It seats 15,000 people and has been designed so that all the audience can hear the actors without the use of any special equipment.

Other Roman sites includes, Roman baths, monumental gates and some fine Corinthian columns Hama is well known for its enormous water wheels ‘norias’ on the Orontes, which are as old as Hama itself, these giant, creaking waterwheels up to 20m high have been used for centuries to divert water out of the Orontes River to irrigate surrounding farmland. Apamea 55 km northwest of Hama is Apamea, an ancient city located on the right bank of the Orontes river. It overlooks the Ghab valley and is notable for its exceptionally long Roman street, lined with classical columns.

Hama



Apamea was founded in 300 BC by Seleucus Nicator, one of Alexander the Great's generals and the first king of the Seleucids in Syria, he named it after his wife Apame. The beautiful new Hellenistic city soon flourished, its population numbered half a million. Apamea was destroyed by many major earthquakes, today it stands as a very impressive Roman ruins.

Shopping in Syria is always an exciting aspect for visitors, in Damascus, the 18th century market with more than 250 boutiques is impressive, it is a paradise for any shopper looking for clothes, carpets, handicrafts, silk and leather goods, copper and other ­items made in Syria.

Restaurants: Opens between 12 midday to 12 midnight daily.

Shops: Opens 9am to 2pm and 4pm to 9pm summer. 9am to 2pm and 4pm to 8pm winter.

Government offices and Banks: Opens 8am to 2pm daily except Friday and holidays.

Private offices: Opens 10am to 2pm, and 4pm to 9pm except Friday and holidays.

Museums and sites: are closed on Tuesday.

Shops: Often closed on Fridays and holidays.






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