About 90 percent of the population of Syria comprises of Muslims and this makes it easy for travellers to locate a masjid or halal restaurants. Taxis are the easiest means of transport for travellers to move around places of interest in Syria. Car rentals are also easily available all around the country.
Damascus, the capital of Syria is also the largest city in the country and among the oldest continuously inhabited areas in the world. Damascus was established as early as 10,000 BC. The old fortified city takes travellers into the past as it offers a very medieval feel.
The Souq al-Hamidiyya is a wonderful place for travellers to enjoy and shop. At the end of the souq is the majestic Umayyad Masjid. The Masjid houses the mausoleum of Prophet Yahya (A.S). At the other end of the souq is a fort-like structure, the Citadel. Close to the structure is the Mausoleum of Salah al-Din. Travellers can enjoy exclusive views of the city from Mount Qasioun. Visitors can also enjoy a relaxing time at the hammam. The Azem Palace is also a lovely place to visit. Damascus is one of the best places to shop in Syria. The expansive Souq al-Hamidiyya sells almost everything that visitors can think of.
Aleppo, the second largest city in Syria is also among the oldest cities in the world. In the heart of the city stands a royal citadel which is a must visit. The citadel is built on a hill and can be dated back to the 13th century. Travellers taking a tour of the citadel can also enjoy some coffee at the café located inside.
Aleppo has a number of masaajid, however the Great Masjid is worth a mention because of its beautiful architecture and design. The Bimaristan Arghan originally a mental hospital has been converted into an interesting museum that travellers can visit. The souq in the city is excellent for shopping, visitors looking forward to shop for clothes can get some good deals at theal-Telal street. When shopping in Aleppo, travellers should definitely visit the gold shops and buy the unique Aleppo weaved gold chain. The olive oil soap is also an excellent buy.
Homs is a beautiful city for travellers to visit as well. There are quite a number of masaajid in the city that visitors can see. Some of the masaajid worth mentioning include Khaled ibn Waleed Masjid, Alnoori Grand Masjid, Masjid Qubaa in Alinsha'atand Masjid Arra'es in Alwa'er. There is also a castle in the city the Ossama Castle, however there are just ruins remaining now. The Mashta el Helou Marmarita Jwykhat Crack des Chevalier Mountains located about 45Km from the city centre is worth a visit.
Latakia is one of the main ports in Syria and is also home to the largest university in Syria, the Tishreen University. The city has some mesmerising beaches and exclusive landscapes that travellers can visit. The Saladin Castle is situated in east Latakia; it has been built overlooking the valley. The Ruins of Ugarit are located about 20Km from Latakia, an ancient Phoenician city.
Other fascinating places of interest in Syria include the Dead Cities in Northwest Syria; Tartous an ancient port town; Hama that has the largest Norias (waterwheel) on the River Orontes and the Azem Palace; Palmyra ruins of Roman city in the desert; Crac des Chevaliers the Crusader Castle; Apamea and Bosra.
Syria being a Muslim country serves halal food. Travellers can relish some delicious Syrian cuisine. Falafel and shwarma are the most popular street foods in the country. Also try the fatteh, foul, salad of Fatoush. Fresh juice is available all across the country from street stalls.
Ibn Battuta travelled for about 23 days to cover the distance between Jerusalem and the Syrian capital, Damascus. In doing so he passed through the cities of Aleppo, Antioch, Latakia, Ba'albek and a few other cities. As per the dates given in his Rihla, he reached Damascus on the 9th August 1326 (9 Ramadan 726 Hijri). He stayed in Damascus for about 24 days before joining the Hajj caravan leaving for Makkah. Here he spent quite a bit of time learning from some of the esteemed Islamic scholars of the time. It is said that he learnt from at least 14 scholars; mostly in the Great Masjid.