Overland Journeys: Grand Tour of the Middle East

DamascusPalmyraAleppoSt. Simeon's MonasteryBosraKrak des ChevaliersQalat SaladinMaaloulaApameaHama

Syria was one of the early centres of civilisation and the cities of Damascus and Aleppo are two of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. Syria's position at the crossroads of great civilisations have left it a remarkable historical legacy with some of the finest historical structures in the region. Palmyra was one of the great cities of the ancient world, reaching its peak as a city state of the Roman Empire, with some fabulous ruins today in the Syrian desert. The Roman theatre at Bosra is perhaps the best preserved in the world while Krak des Chevaliers is not only the best example of a Crusader fortress in the Middle East but 'the finest castle in the world' according to T.E. Lawrence. Damascus and Aleppo provide a different experience, where centuries of history are mixed with vibrant and bustling cities and contemporary Syrian culture can be experienced amongst the streets, mosques and souks of these cities. Explore in depth highlights of Syria.

Travel Information for Syria
Time zone:GMT +2 (Syria standard time)
Daylight savings:GMT +1hr, begins 1 April; ends 30 September
Main languages:Arabic
Other languages:Aramaic, Armenian, Circassian, Kurdish
Currency: Syrian pounds (SYP)

1 = £239, $1 = £214, £1 = £0.00

(rates as of Sep 2016)

Internet Domain:.syInternational Dialling Code:    963

For help planning your trip to Syria including visas, vaccinations, currency exchange, flights, accomodation and insurance, see our Syria trip planning page.

Further information on Syria

Discover more about Syria - the country's geogrpahy and natural features, an assessment of its status on freedom and rights and data on the country's population and economy.

Geography & Natural Features

Map of syria

Total area: 185,180 sq km (1,130 sq km under water)

Coastline: 193 km (Mediterranean Sea)

Neighbours (border lengths): Iraq (605km), Israel (76km), Jordan (375km), Lebanon (375km), Turkey (822km)

Climate: Coastal regions have a Mediterranean climate with hot, dry summers (June to August) and mild, rainy winters (December to February). Eastern desert regions have extremely hot summers and cold winters. September to June are the best times to visit.

Highest mountain: Mount Hermon (2,814m)

Freedom & Rights

Summary status and rankings for Syria from classifications of different organisations measuring political and economic freedom, democracy and civil rights. See more details of these rankings.

Freedom in the WorldNot Free -
Democracy IndexAuthoritarian regime 163/167
Economic FreedomNo Data -
Press FreedomVery serious situation 175/179
ILGA LGBT rightsNo rights -
Corruption PerceptionsHigh corruption 159/174
Overall Ranking:    192/195

Other Data & Links

Full name: Syrian Arab Republic     Status: Independent Country

Population: 17,951,639 (rank: 60/196)     Density: 96.9 people/sq km (rank: 84/196)

Ethnic groups: Arab 90.3%, Kurds, Armenians, and other 9.7%

Religions: Sunni Muslim 74%, other Muslim (includes Alawite, Druze) 16%, Christian (various denominations) 10%, Jewish (tiny communities in Damascus, Al Qamishli, and Aleppo)

GDP (PPP): $107.6 billion       GDP per capita: $5,100 (rank: 130/195)

Information derived from the CIA World Factbook. Other country profiles: BBC News.