Beautiful Ruins and Cities of Syria

Here are the top places to visit and things to do in Syria.


Aleppo is the largest city in Syria and the capital of Aleppo Governorate, the most populous Syrian governorate. Most tourist travel to Aleppo to see the Citadel hill, it sits on a hill in the centre of the city and is visible from almost anywhere. Usage of the Citadel hill dates back at least to the middle of the 3rd millennium BC, but the current structure dates from the 13th century.


Deir-az-Zur is the largest city in northeastern Syria on the Euphrates River and capital of the Deir ez-Zor Governorate.

France occupied Deir ez-Zor in 1921 and made it the seat of a large garrison. Meanwhile, the region was locally ruled by Haj-Fadel Abboud, a member of an aristocratic family.

Since the discovery of light crude petroleum in the Syrian Desert it has become a centre for the country's petroleum extraction industry. It is also a minor centre for tourism with many tourist facilities such as traditional French-style riverbank restaurants, up to 5-star hotels, a hub for trans-desert travel and an airport in Al-Jafra suburb.

There is a well-maintained, thoughtfully laid out, clean museum - a surprise given that most museums in Syria seem to be shrouded in dust, dirt and covered by broken roofs. Here you will find some background on the many tells in the surrounding area.


Damascus is the capital and the second largest city of Syria after Aleppo. Damascus was part of the ancient province of Amurru in the Hyksos Kingdom, from 1720 to 1570 BC. Some of the earliest Egyptian records are from the 1350 BC Amarna letters, when Damascus was ruled by king Biryawaza.

Today, it is the seat of the central government and all of the government ministries. Damascus was chosen as the 2008 Arab Capital of Culture.

Most tourist travel to Damascus to see The Souq al-Hamidiyya, a broad street packed with tiny shops, it is entered through columns from a Roman temple built on a site that had been occupied by an even older temple. The souqs themselves smell of cumin and other distinctive spices and you can find passages dedicated to everything from leather and copper goods to inlaid boxes and silk scarves.

Dead Cities        

Dead Cities are dispersed collection of Roman and Early Christian towns in Northwestern Syria. These towns once formed part of Antioch.

Chris Wickham, in the authoritative survey of the post-Roman world, Framing the Early Middle Ages argues that these were settlements of prosperous peasants which have few or no specifically urban features. The impressive remains of domestic architecture are the result of the prosperity of peasants who benefited from a strong international trade in olive oil at the end of Antiquity.

Favourite destinations by travellers are the Dead Cities of Ebla and Sarjila.

Bosra is an ancient city administratively belonging to the Daraa Governorate in southern Syria. Under the Roman Empire, Bosra was renamed Nova Trajana Bostra, and was the residence of the legio III Cyrenaica and capital of the Roman province Arabia Petraea. The city flourished and became a major metropolis at the juncture of several trade routes, including the Roman road to the Red Sea. The two Councils of Arabia were held at Bostra in 246 and 247 AD.
Bosra which once counted 80,000 inhabitants, there remains today only a village settled among the ruins. The second century Roman theater, constructed probably under Trajan, is the only monument of this type with its upper gallery in the form of a covered portico which has been integrally preserved. It was fortified between 481 and 1231 AD.


Apamea is a former city and lesser known set of ruins located north of Hama, Syria. Previously known as Pharmake, it was fortified and enlarged by Seleucus I Nicator in 300 BC, who so named it after his Bactrian wife, Apama – not his mother, as Stephanus asserts. In pursuance of his policy of Hellenizing Syria, it bore the Macedonian name of Pella. The fortress was placed upon a hill; the windings of the Orontes, with the lake and marshes, gave it a peninsular form, whence it’s other name of Cherronêsos. Seleucus had his commissariat there, 500 elephants, with 30,000 mares, and 300 stallions.


Hama is a city on the banks of the Orontes River in west-central Syria north of Damascus. During the Muslim conquest of Syria in the 7th century, Hama was conquered by Abu Ubaidah ibn al-Jarrah in 638 or 639 and the town regained its ancient name, and has since retained it. Following its capture, it came under the administration of Jund Hims and remained so throughout the rule of Umayyads until the 9th century.

In the last decades, the city of Hama has become known as a center of the anti-Ba'ath opposition in Syria, most notably the Muslim Brotherhood.

Hama is known for its Museum, it is housed in a 18th century Ottoman governor residence the Azem Palace. Remains in the exhibition include a precious Roman mosaic from the nearby village of Mariamin.


Homs is a city in western Syria and the capital of the Homs Governorate. Homs itself may have been founded by Seleucus I Nicator who established the Seleucid Empire upon the death of Alexander the Great, although the city did not emerge in the light of history until the 1st-century BCE. At this time, Greek philosopher Strabo spoke of a tent-dwelling tribe called the "Emesani" living in the area around the Orontes and south of the Apamea region.

Today, Homs is a major industrial center, and with a population of at least 800,000 people, it is the third largest city in Syria after Aleppo to the north and the capital Damascus to the south. Its population reflects Syria's general religious diversity, composed mostly of Arabic-speaking Sunni Muslims and Alawite and Christian minorities.


Tartous is a city on the Mediterranean coast of Syria. The Crusaders called the city Antartus, and also Tortosa. First captured by Raymond of Saint-Gilles, it was left in 1105 to his son Alfonso Jordan and was known as Tortosa. In 1123 the Crusaders built the church of Our Lady of Tortosa upon this site. It now houses this altar and has received many pilgrims.

Tartous is an important trade center in Syria and has one of the two main ports of the country on the Mediterranean. The city port is experiencing major expansion as a lot of Iraqi imports come through the port of Tartus to aid reconstruction efforts in Iraq.

Most tourist travel to to see the Cathedral of Our Lady of Tortosa or كاتدرائية طرطوس‎, it was a Crusader-era cathedral in the city of Tartus, Syria. It was built by the Crusaders in the mid-twelfth century and functioned as both a fortress and a church.


Latakia is a major port in Syria. The settlement became part of the Assyrian Empire, later falling to the Persians, who incorporated it into their fifth satrapy, Abar-Nahara, beyond the river. It was taken by Alexander the Great in 333 BC following his victory at the Battle of Issus over the Persian army led by Darius III, beginning the era of Hellenism in Syria
Favourite destination by travellers is the Ruins of Ugarit, it is an ancient Phoenician city which lays claim to developing one of the first written alphabets in the world.


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