Facts and Figures
Capital : Damascus
Area : 185,000 sq km.
Population : 18,400,000 (2000 census)
Language : Arabic (English & French are also widely spoken by
many urbanite and most people in business).
Major religions : Islam & Christianity.
Monetary Unit : Syrian Pound (LIRA).
Banknote denomination are as follows:
50,100,200,500 and 1,000 liras.
Coins include : 1, 2, 5, 10 and 25 lira.
Credit Cards : A score of credit
cards are honored by major hotels, restaurants & shops.
Weights & Measures : Metric System.
Electricity: Syria electrical standard is 220 volts/50 cycles
connected via a 2-pin European plug.
As elsewhere in the region, British 3-pin and north American flat 2-pin
plugs will require an adapter.
Transport : In cities, taxis (yellow cabs) are the best form of
transportation and their reasonable fares are registered on a meter.
A number of cars rental agencies have offices in Syria's major cities,
Travelling between cities is served by many bus companies or by the
national air carrier (Syrian air)
Climate : The prevailing climate is that of the Mediterranean:
rainy winter and dry and hot summer with 2 relatively hot and mild
Security : Syria is an extremely safe country. Major cities can
be considered much safer than many of those in Europe and the US.
Business Hours : Most Syrian businesses work a 6 day week, from
Saturday through to Thursday. Shops are open from around 10 a.m until 8
p.m. Friday is the official weekend. As for government working hours
they are 8 a.m to 2 p.m.
Communications : All mean of communications are available with
the rest of the world: Telephone, Fax, Internet, e-mail.
Mobile telephones are gaining ground in Syria. A new generation of card
pay phones has proliferated throughout major cities. Prepaid
long-distance card services are accessible from any fixed line. In
addition a growing number of Internet cafés have spread throughout the
Accommodation : More than 700 hotels provide a considerable
choice with regard to costs. There are international hotels in Damascus
(Sheraton, Meridien, Al-Cham, Ebla) Latakia (Meridien), Palmyra (Al-Cham),
Aleppo (Shahba al-Cham), and in Deir Al-Zor (Furat al-Cham).
Several youth hotels and student dormitories are available during Summer
in Damascus, Aleppo, and Latakia.
Camping sites are also available on the outskirts of some cities and at
In the coastal region there are numerous camping sites with full
facilities, as well as hundreds of chalets of various categories and
Food : Visitors to Syria will always find something to their
liking. Syrian cuisine is well-known for its variety.
Western cuisine is also available at hotels and restaurants throughout
Drinking water in Syria is perfectly safe, clean and hygienic. It is
derived from natural ground and mountain springs and sources and is
treated with the most advance techniques. Most notable is the Ein Al-Fijeh
source which supplies the city of Damascus with its drinking water.
Other mineral water sources are renowned for their purity. Among these
are the Boukein and Dreikish spring water available in bottles.
Cultural activities : Artistic and cultural events abound
throughout the year. Exhibitions of painting and sculpture by local and
foreign artists are held continuously in many modern galleries
throughout the country.
As for musical concerts they are frequently performed by the National
Symphony Orchestra and by many other local and foreign group and bands.
A number of festivals and trade fairs take place regularly every year.
Shopping : Shopping in Syria is an endless pleasure. The most
favorite items usually selected by visitors are:
- Silk brocade embroidered with gold and silver threat, for which
Damascus has been famous.
- Hand-printed cotton garment and cloth, "Sarma" gold embroidery and "Aghabani"
- Pictures of epic and folk heroes painted on glass or cloth.
- Mosaic inlaid with mother of pearl and tinted wood.
- Hand woven rugs made of pure wool.
- Glass made as you-wait-and-watch; this is the work of glass blowers
using mud furnaces where liquid glass Is turned into pretty beakers,
plate and lamps.
- Delicious sweets filled with pistachios.
- Glazed fruits (pears, plums, peaches, apple or apricots) lightly
coated with sugar syrup.
Religious Services: are held in mosques, churches and other places of
worship throughout the country.
Visitors are expected to respect the sanctity of these places with
regard to dress and conduct as they would do elsewhere.
AND RELIGIOUS HOLIDAYS IN SYRIA:
Weekly Holiday Friday
January 1st New Year’s Day
March 8th March 8th Revolution
March 21 Mother’s Day
April 17th Independence Day
May 1st Labour Day
May 6th Martyr’s Day
December 25th Christmas
Moveable Feasts :
- Id al-Fitr
- Id al-Adhha
- Hegira New Year
- Birthday of the Prophet Muhammad