Reasons to Visit
Damascus claims to be the longest continually inhabited place on earth, and this sense of history pervades the city. Aleppo is almost as ancient, dominated by her brooding Mamluke citadel, whilst further down the Euphrates Valley, Mari is one of only a handful of extant Mesopotamian cities.
At times, it seems impossible to walk 500 yards in Syria without tripping over the remnants of one of the many ancient civilisations to have held sway in Syria. The country probably has one of the highest concentrations of historic monuments in the world and this is one of the major draws for most people.
As you'd expect of a country on so many major trade and pilgrimage routes, the years of conquest and counter-conquest have left a rich tapestry of fortifications across the country. Crusader architecture in particular reached its zenith here and there are some superb examples to explore.
The walled heart of all major towns and cities, the medina normally houses a number of attractions, from museums, mosques and monuments, to the souqs and traditional townhouses converted to boutique hotels and restaurants.
The National Museums in Aleppo and Damascus should definitely feature in your plans. Not only are they home to many fantastic artefacts from across the country, but they also help put the whole of your visit to Syria into its historical context.
Syria's souqs are probably the most rewarding in the region, selling goods almost exclusively for the locals, manufactured in Syria, rather than cheap foreign imports. The atmosphere is always exotic and unthreatening, making shopping a real pleasure.
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North Africa & the Middle East
This is a rough guide to when to travel to this region. Choose a month of travel to see typical temperature and rainfall around the country. The ticks indicate our recommended months to travel.
April, May, September and October are the best months to visit Syria, with low rainfall and temperatures somewhere in the mid to late twenties.
The country enjoys a typical Mediterranean climate with hot, dry summers and cool winters, when the north of the country usually sees fairly significant rainfall.
There is some regional variation in the climate throughout the country. Most of Syria has an average temperature of around 5C in December and January, but whereas Deir Ezzor in the dry eastern half of the country only has about 30mm of rain a month at this time, Aleppo has more than twice as much. Damascus falls somewhere between the two.
The higher, western part of the country sees snow through much of the winter. Summers are always dry, with temperatures ranging from the mid-thirties in Damascus and Aleppo to an average of nearly 40C in the east.
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Further reading:Tours in SyriaHighlightsItinerary IdeasPlaces to GoThings to DoAccommodationAbout SyriaCountry Guides
Other countries in North Africa & the Middle East:EgyptIranJordanLebanonLibyaMoroccoOmanTunisia
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