March / April 2000 - Syria, Jordan and Lebanon



185,180 km²
(4.6x the Netherlands)


UTC +3


Arabic, Kurdish, Armenian

Highest point

Jabal Ash Shaykh - 2,814 m


The current flag was adopted in 1980. It was previously the flag of the United Arab Republic between 1958 and 1961.


Some precipitation during the wintermonths between November and March. The table below shows the average temperature.


Temp. (°C) Jan Apr Jul Okt
max 12 23 36 27
min 3 9 18 13

The Syrian pound was introduced in 1919. Depicted on the banknote is a branch of the fig tree, the train from Damascus to Medina and the Hejaz train station in Damascus and at the top a highway junction.



The Qala'at Al Hosn is better known as the Craq des Chevaliers. The construction of this crusader fortress started in 1150 and would have been finished more than a hundred years later. It was also the headquarters of Richard the Lionheart. It accommodated 4,000 troops. It was abandoned by the Crusaders in 1271.

Palmyra is located in the middle of the Syrian desert. An oasis with a lots of palm trees. In 212 it became a Roman colony. When one of the regents died, his wife Zenobia declared herself queen and wanted to be independent from the Romans. In 271 her army was defeated and Zenobia was led through streets of Rome as a prisoners. Extensive excavations have been carried out. As result a theatre and the great temple of Bel were exposed. A 17th century Arabic Fortress, Qala'at Ibn Maan, is located prominent on a bare hill. A good spot to view the sunset. In the valley next to it is an extensive Necropolis. The best preserved is a grave tower, dating from 103, with four floors that could accommodate 300 sarcophagi.

Of the Roman city of Apamea only the Cardo (heart) remains. A 2km long road, flanked by columns. The Roman emperor Seleucus I built the city, named after his wife, in the 2nd century. At its peak nearly half a million people lived there.

Qala'at Samaan is located near Aleppo. In the fifth century a shepherd from the north of the country had a vision at this place He went to sit on top of a pillar and then stayed there for 36 years. A chain prevented him from falling down. After his death in 459 a huge church in the shape of a cross was built, containing the pillar. Construction finished in 490 and St. Simeon was the largest church in the world at that time. Today only a ruin remains.

Bosra, near the border with Jordan, was the first city of the Nabatans in the 2nd century BC. In 106, the kingdom was defeated by Trajan, who had the theater built. It offered seating for 15,000 spectators and is surrounded by a fortfication from the 11th century, made by the Umayyad. Between 1947 and 1970 it was thoroughly restored. The theater is 102 meters wide.

The Umayyad Mosque in Damascus was first a basilica, built late 4th century on the remains of a Jupiter temple. Arabs conquered Damascus in 635. Caliph Al Walid built the mosque in 705. The colonnade and two towers of the basilica were spared. The building is decorated with beautiful mosaics. On the north side is the mausoleum of Saladin (1193). Visit the Souk of Damascus. Walk through the narrow covered alleys with small booths with herbs etc.