Local traditions and culture in Syria

  • Local Customs
    by Robin020
  • Local Customs
    by Robin020
  • Local Customs
    by Robin020

Most Viewed Local Customs in Syria

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    No stops for mini buses

    by Robin020 Written Jan 29, 2012

    Be aware that there no stops for minibus (van) except the main or start point,you can stop it by rasing your hand,or giving a sign that you want to stop it and when you are on board you can also ask the driver wherever you want.

    No ticket required You pay cash ONLY when you are on board.Bear in mind the front board of the bus is ONLY writen in arabic you need to askdriver or any body on board if it pass through your wanted location They are friendly and wil guide you to your wanted destination,make sure you have local currency to pay.

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    Some Syrian Mezze (starters ) or for breakfast

    by Robin020 Written Nov 11, 2011

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    MAGDOUS

    Ingredients
    Eggplants
    Sweet red pepper paste
    Crushed walnuts
    Olive oil
    Salt
    Sliced garlic (optional)

    The stuffing
    Mix together the sweet red pepper paste with the crushed walnuts and the garlic.

    MOUHAMMARA

    Ingredients
    100 gr. bread crumbs
    50 gr. sweet red pepper paste
    10 gr. crushed dried hot red pepper
    20 gr. cumin
    40 gr. concentrated pomegranate syrup
    100 ml. olive oil
    100 gr. crushed walnut
    150 ml. water
    20 ml. lemon juice
    15 gr. sugar
    Salt

    VEGETABLES OMELET (EJJEH)

    Ingredients
    1 bunch of parsley
    7 eggs
    1 teaspoon of flour
    1 onion
    2 cloves of garlic
    1 teaspoon of dried mint
    1 teaspoon of dried sweet red pepper
    1 pinch of cinnamon
    200 ml. olive oil
    Vegetable oil

    EGGPLANT FATTOUCHE

    Ingredients
    1 kg. eggplant
    2 tomatoes
    1 onion
    1 bunch of parsley
    Lemon juice
    Olive oil
    Vegetable oil
    Arabic bread
    Salt

    MOUTABBAL

    Ingredients
    500 gr. eggplant
    1 green pepper
    1/2 bunch of chopped parsley
    4 branches of green mint
    150 gr. sesame oil
    1/2 glass of lemon juice
    25 gr. concentrated pomegranate syrup
    30 ml. olive oil
    1 tomato
    1 clove of garlic if desired
    some grains of pomegranate
    Salt

    BABA GHANOUGE

    Ingredients
    1 kg. eggplant (about 5 big pieces)
    Olive oil
    Garlic (optional)
    Lemon juice
    Concentrated pomegranate syrup
    Chopped parsley
    Pomegranate grains
    Salt
    OLIVE SALAD

    Ingredients
    250 gr. green olives
    60 gr. concentrated pomegranate syrup
    40 ml. olive oil
    2 green onions
    1 peeled tomato
    1/2 bunch of parsley
    Grains of one pomegranate for decoration
    Salt
    Branch of thyme for decoration

    FATTOUCHE

    Ingredients
    500 gr. tomato
    500 gr. cucumber
    100 gr. onion
    75 gr. green mint
    75 gr. purslane
    1 bunch of parsley
    1 lettuce
    2 cloves of garlic
    50 gr. of black olives
    1 lemon juice
    3 teaspoons of vinegar
    1 teaspoon of sumac
    125 ml. olive oil
    Vegetable oil
    Bread cut into triangles as desired
    Salt

    Ejjeh

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    Coffee & Tea

    by PierreZA Written May 9, 2010

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Drinking coffee and tea is very much part of everyday life in Syria.

    Tea is served in small glass cups, and is often quite sweet. A cup of tea is offered many times when you visiting shops etc.

    Coffee is similar to what you find in Turkey. Strong and is is drunk without milk. You will be asked how (sweet) you take your coffee before it is made. Sugar is added when brewing the coffee and not added afterwards. Let the coffee rest for a while so that the 'mud' can settle at the bottom. You will usually get a glass of water with your coffee.

    Locals drinking tea

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    Barbers

    by PierreZA Written May 9, 2010

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    Like in most Islamic countries, barbers can be found all over the place.
    I never bother to take my own shaving kit when visiting the Middle East etc, as it is such a treat to sit down for a shave.
    It is very cheap and you should not be concerned about safety/health, as a new blade is always used for every new client.

    Traditional Coffee Shop

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    Relaxing in a Hammam

    by PierreZA Written May 9, 2010

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    Visiting a hammam is most probably something you should try to do while in Syria.
    There are several to choose from in most cities, especially Aleppo and Damascus.
    Syria does have some beautiful hammams. It is authentic, clean and not expensive.

    They usually have a price list at the entrance, where you can see exactly what it will cost you, including admission, soap, wash, shampoo, massage, drinks etc.
    You can take your own soap and shampoo if you wish to do so.
    There are different ‘rooms or areas’ which vary in temperature. Some steam rooms can be VERY hot.

    Average price for the full ‘menu’ could be between 400 – 600 SYP. It is generally expected to leave a tip for the guys helping around with the towels, tea etc.

    Hammam Nureddine (Damascus) is located at Souk el-Bzouriyeh, close to Khan Assad Pasha – go here for a good experience. It is clean and service is good.

    There are separate times for males/females to visit.

    Entrance ; Hammam Nureddine Inside the Hammam

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    Nargileh - Everywhere

    by PierreZA Written May 9, 2010

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    Smoking nargileh must be one of the favourite passtimes in Syria. It is not only popular with men, but you will see many women smoking these water pipes in restaurants.
    It seems that the most popular time is from late afternoon, into the evening.
    There are also many shops selling these pipes, which can make a great gift for someone at home.

    Smoking!

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    Toilet Paper

    by MadKiwiBeast Written May 3, 2007

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    Please never throw your toilet paper in any toilet, whether its a squatter or a sitter, its blocks up the system.
    The water is the cleaner option anyway, but I find a combination is the best, wash and dry!

    Antique squat toilet, not the usual...
    Related to:
    • Family Travel
    • Budget Travel
    • Backpacking

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    Dress Conservatively...

    by atufft Updated Feb 21, 2007

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    VT member Bavavia traveled with little guide support in Syria, and so her advice will probably agree with mine. Basically, both men and women should generally expect to wear long pants on the street. Short sleeve shirts are OK, but avoid any T-shirts with American/European logos as one doesn't want to invite political or religious complications. Syrian men dress more or less like Europe/USA, so these things are not difficult for a man to conform to. A woman may have a slightly more difficult time, particularly if she is used to dressing in sensual attire. Women can wear long pants, but should consider wearing blouses with long sleeves much of the time. Short dresses and short pants are not advisable for women. My wife found it convenient to wear a scarf on her hair, as that is the custom for most women on the street. Girls over about age twelve should conform to the standards of adult women, but young adult women don't need to wear scarves over their hair. Boys should conform to what is seen worn by Syrian boys, but in general young children need not wear anything special. Senior citizens with grey hair and otherwise the appearance of advanced age need not worry too much as respect for older folk, regardless of religion is very high. Wearing of jewelry on the street is not particularly unsafe in Syria, but in general I don't recommend bringing attention to ones wealth while traveling. Those who arrive with the attitude of social change or missionary work risk a difficult if not dangerous social life.

    Women shopping on the street in Aleppo
    Related to:
    • Religious Travel
    • Women's Travel
    • Family Travel

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    Definately be open to meeting Syrians

    by Clara_Louise Written Nov 7, 2006

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The hospitality and friendliness puts the UK to shame. Every day you take tea with several people, all of whom approach you in the street. Tea is served without milk in tiny ornate glasses, typically in a 50:50 sugar:tea ratio. People are so proud of their beautiful country that they welcome visitors from overseas lavishly. Politics is not readily discussed but they are pretty apparant- posters of the elected President adorn the wall in every house and shop and the markets are chock-a-block with Hezbollah flags, posters, t-shirts.... Regular graffiti suggests the imminent downfall of Israel and the US, but the American tourists are welcomed profusely to the country and offered lashings of tea, fascinated questioning about their family and constant cries of 'Welcome to Syria!'.

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  • Sometimes it is good to be a woman.

    by RblWthACoz Written Aug 22, 2006

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    It is very common for women to cut to the front of a line ahead of men, especially if they are older. On numerous instances, old women just walked to the front of a line and passed everyone by that was waiting while I was in line.

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    Gifts of friendship

    by midnight_mike Written Jun 15, 2006

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    Throughout your travels in Syria, you will probably be invited to have coffee or tea several times a day. Syrians love to impress you with their hospitality. Some will even give you a gift as a sign of your new friendship. Most often this gift will be prayer beads.

    Before leaving on your trip, you might want to consider bringing small gifts with you such as post cards or a key chain.

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    What to wear

    by midnight_mike Written Jun 15, 2006

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    Women in Syria are not required to cover their hair, although they may be compelled to do so. Syria has a secular government, so there are no laws about dressing in public. However, if a woman wears a revealing outfit she will probably get dirty looks from Syrian women. And the men will probably stare at you like you are naked.

    In most Syrian cities, a majority of women cover their hair. Some even go to the extreme of covering their entire face. The only city where this is not true is Latakia, where Christians make up a majority of the population. Even there, you are unlikely to see women with exposed legs. Some Christian women in other parts of the country do cover part of their hair with a scarf.

    Men are also expected to cover their arms and legs, although you are unlikely to cause the same public scene as a woman would. If it is really hot, wear clothes that make you feel comfortable. Just don't wear tank tops/sleeveless shirts.

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  • The beers of Syria

    by RblWthACoz Updated Mar 28, 2006

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    The two beers of Syria are Barada and Al-Chark. Both are light in flavor and alcohol. A lot of places that serve alcohol are quick totell you about the imported beer first.

    One other oddity to mention because I thought it was so off the wall. A man next to me at Oxygen in Damascus ordered a Mexican beer and it was served with a salted rim on his glass and a lemon on the bottom I think. Anyone ever witnessed that before?? It was a first for me.

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  • Definitely not losing their religion

    by RblWthACoz Written Mar 27, 2006

    Syria is a majority Sunni Muslim nation. However, there is a sizeable Christian minority - about 15% of the population. The country prides itself on it's acceptance of all races and religions. There are no hostilities between Muslims and Christians. Also because of Syria's history of so many different people groups coming through and making it their home, etc., has led to a fair amount of "mixed" children/people. This is one thing I heard numerous times was Syria's acceptance of all religions and people as one.

    Left window has a cross. The right a crescent.

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  • None of that he said, she said, please.

    by RblWthACoz Updated Mar 24, 2006

    If someone is kind enough to share their true feelings about a matter of government or politics, do not repeat what they have said to anyone. You never know if another person you are talking to is a government informer. There are many of these who work for the government to keep things in line. "Subversive" behavior or critical opinions are heavily frowned upon and even a negative comment could get someone in trouble. Even you as a foreigner, especially an American, going to eat at someone's house could be trouble for them. So just don't share with other Syrians things people have told you or that you have done.

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Syria Local Customs

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