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More tourists visiting Syria

April 15th, 2005 · 7 Comments · Uncategorized

The number of tourists visiting Syria is up again. 1.2 million visitors entered Syria between January and March this year – that’s a 5% rise.

Syria attracts visitors from around the world. It has sites preserved from many periods of history – Syria’s a living history text book.

In Palmyra, there are the remains of the ancient Roman capital. Immaculately preserved columns and castles.

Damascus is the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world. Its mosque is one of the holiest sites in Islam, but the main prayer hall has a shrine to John the Baptists, where Muslims and Christians stand side by side in prayer, men and women pray in the same hall. Men and women have walked through the same souks just outside the mosque for millenia.

The Crusader castle in Krak de Chavaliers is said to be the most incredible in the world. There are other Crusader castles dotted around the country.

In the south the almost perfect black rock Roman Ampitheatre is still the scene of biannual performances in Bosra.

Syria is the only country where I’ve come across foreigners who are almost always living there by accident. Nearly every single one of them intended to stay for a month or six months but ended up staying long beyond then. That’s the magic of Damascus.

Has Syria’s recent newsworthiness attracted or dissuaded more people to visit?


7 responses so far ↓

  • 1 lavashak // Apr 15, 2005 at 9.38 pm

    Your blog is very interesting, i just found it !

    Keep it up


  • 2 sasa // Apr 16, 2005 at 12.40 am

    Thanks Azad, keep on enjoying, and keep on commenting!

  • 3 Anonymous // Apr 16, 2005 at 7.28 am

    Accourding to the minister of tourism and official figures, tourists reached 3 millions in 2004, I think you are refering to the first quarter of this year, where there was 1.2 million visitors – 5% rise from last year, and over 600,000 tourists with approx %25 rise from last year.


  • 4 praktike // Apr 16, 2005 at 7.41 am

    How do they count the tourists?

  • 5 sasa // Apr 16, 2005 at 1.10 pm

    Thanks anonymous you are right – I’ve made that a bit more clear on the post now. But I didn’t understand what you mean by a 25% increase?

    Praktike, they estimate the number of tourists by the number of visa applications, the number of foreigners crossing the border and the number of hotel bookings.

  • 6 praktike // Apr 16, 2005 at 6.09 pm

    So it may be the case that Iraqi refugees are considered “tourists.” Personally speaking, I would love to visit Damascus. I hear it’s only $200 to fly from Cairo.

  • 7 sasa // Apr 17, 2005 at 1.07 am

    700,000 Iraqis have entered Syria since the war, and they get very different treatment at the border to any other citizen. they are questioned and delayed more than anyone else.

    The Syrian government keeps a close eye on Iraqis and Palestinians inside its borders, so I don’t think they;d be considered tourists.

    Just like any country, diplomats, refguees, business-people would be subtracted from the tourist figures.

    Are you in Cairo Praktike? It’s even cheaper by bus! You could stay overnight in Amman. From Europe its only $600. Flights inside Syria are incredibly cheap: $19 from Damascus to Aleppo!

    If you need any more persuasion to visit Damascus have a look at Ayman’s incredible photos.

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