Syria is a country in West Asia, sharing borders with Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the west, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the south-west. Its capital is Damascus, although the biggest city in the region is Aleppo.
Syria can be compared to a damsel in distress, a beautiful country inspired and surrounded by various influences from European and Asian routes mixed and matched with fertile plains, high mountains, and deserts to form a unique culture, yet suffering from an escalated version of a peaceful protest. Syria has yet to recover from various turmoil; its past filled with darkness due to various political destabilisation and changes, its future now uncertain due to the present situation of civil wars and internal conflict. Further, the locals live in fear, and the remaining optimism has been eaten out with hostility and pessimism. Although the country is in a strained situation currently and in the past, those who get to see it in person will say that it is indeed beautiful – a sprawling Arabic haven filled with influences from neighbouring countries and far-off Western countries.
Currently, Syria faces various problems as regards to the peace in the country and the region in general, and no one can tell if the destinations here are still intact. We may never be sure, but those who have seen it will recognise its distinct beauty like no other in its peoples and cultures. Historical sites in Palmyra in the desert to the Crac des Chevaliers within the sight of the Mediterranean will lure tourists back and show them the glory and gracious hospitality of Syrians as they warm the travellers in their country. Aside from this, the culinary prowess of Syrians is unique, and venturing in the local Middle Eastern cuisine is just beyond ordinary and excellent. Shopping in the country is also superb, with the Aleppo Souq (or marketplace) providing great buys including textiles, brocade, precious metals, carpets, and many more. Other souqs incluude the Souq al-Hibal, the Souq az-Zarb, and the Souq al-Shouna, which is the handicrafts market on the South-Western side of the citadel in Aleppo.
How to get around within Syria
Going around Syria is currently highly dangerous due to the fact that an ongoing civil war has strained the state since 2011. Unrest has settled and seeped through the system, and tourists travelling to the country are advised to immediately contact the embassies of their birth country or origin. All things considered, there are still modes of transport going around, like taxis, cars, microbuses and regular buses, trains, and even bicycles. In the city centre, travellers may walk but be sure to catch on the basics of the Arabic language so as to start and make conversation.
How to get there
Should travellers still push on entering the country, they are advised to take all the necessary precautionary measures and arrangements to keep them safe. The main international hub in the country is the Damascus International Airport, although many airlines have suspended air service since 2011 and 2012 due to the civil wars happening in the country. A more reasonable way to enter Syria is through Turkey. From Turkey, take a domestic flight to Gaziantep and then ride a taxi to Aleppo through the Oncupinar border-gate in Kilis.
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