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Syria Travel Guide

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Full country name: Syrian Arab Republic
Area: 185,180 sq km
Population: 22,198,110
Capital City: Damascus
Language: Arabic
Religion: 87% Muslim (74% Sunni, 13% Alawite, Twelvers, Ismailis), 10% Christian, 3% Druze
Government: Presidential single party republic
Time Zone: EET (UTC+2), summer - (DST) EEST (UTC+3)
Dialing Code: 963
Electricity: 220V, 50Hz
Weights & measures: Metric
Currency: Syrian pound (SYP)

Money & Costs:
Average Yearly Salary:

Budget: $1-3
Mid-range: $5-7
High: $10+
Budget: $20-30
Mid-range: $55-75
High: $100-300

Geography: Syria is situated in Southwestern Asia by the Mediterranean Sea, and it borders Turkey, Lebanon, Israel, Iraq and Jordan. The country's terrain is mainly mountainous, with a Syrian Desert in the east and a steppe area, which extends across three-quarters of the country. Lake Assad is the largest lake in Syria.

Climate: Syria can be characterized as having two climate types: Mediterranean in the west and arid desert in the east. The country's climate is largely affected by the desert. It has hot and sunny summers (June – August) with an average temperature of 35 C (95 F), and mild to cold winters (December – February) with snowfall in the mountains. All in all, spring and autumn are the best seasons to travel to Syria, since the average daily temperature is nor too hot, nor too cold, about 22 C (72 F).

Recommended clothing: Lightweight clothing should be packed when traveling to Syria in summer. Head wear, sun glasses and sun protection lotion are not to be forgotten. Winter clothes and shoes/boots are recommended from November to March.

Food: Syrian cuisine is a combination of European sophistication and Eastern spiciness. Exotic Syrian dishes are internationally recognized as being Arabic. The traditional dishes are usually based on grains, fruits and vegetables. Yogurt, cheese, aubergines, cucumbers, tomatoes, chick peas, nuts and sesame are also widely used in Syrian cooking. Lamb is the favorite meat in Syria. Pita bread is served with almost all meals. No meal is imagined without parsley, mint, lemons, onion, garlic and olive oil. A typical Syrian dinner starts with mezze (starters), which can be hors d'oeuvres or simply a salad and a bowl of nuts, but it is always a great social occasion for friends and family to meet and enjoy conversation before dinner.

Drink: Tap water is considered to be safe, but you should ask the locals if unsure. Various fresh fruit juices are available from street stalls throughout the country. Syrian beer and wine are widely available. The 'Earl Grey style' tea is served without milk, but sweetened with sugar.

Health: It is recommended that travelers going to Syria are vaccinated against polio. Although medical treatment is inexpensive, standards are not always the best. Basic medical care is always available, however, medical insurance is strongly advised. Doctors are generally well qualified and most medical personnel speak English or French.

Public Holidays:
1 Jan New Year's Day
26 Feb Mouloud (Birth of the Prophet)
8 Mar Revolution Day
21 Mar Mother's Day
4 Apr Easter
5 Apr Orthodox Easter
17 Apr Independence Day
1 May Labour Day
6 May Martyrs' Day
11 Sep Eid al-Fitr (End of Ramadan)
6 Oct October Liberation War
17 Nov Eid al-Adha (Feast of the Sacrifice)
7 Dec Islamic New Year
25 Dec Christmas Day

Note: Muslim festivals are timed according to local sightings of various phases of the moon and the dates given above are approximations. During the lunar month of Ramadan that precedes Eid al-Fitr, Muslims fast during the day and feast at night and working hours are 0900-1400. Many restaurants are closed during the day and there may be restrictions on smoking and drinking.

Disclaimer: The above information is for reference purposes only. The content of this page is not intended to substitute for advice given by the user's own government travel departments or a licensed travel health advisor. The viewer/user of this web page should always contact the user's own government representatives in that area for the most up-to-date information at that time, before making a final decision to travel to that country or destination.

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