Syria Off The Beaten Path

  • Minshieh Park
    Minshieh Park
    by mikey_e
  • A monument in the park
    A monument in the park
    by mikey_e
  • A close-up of the monument
    A close-up of the monument
    by mikey_e

Syria Off The Beaten Path

  • Jebel Qassioun

    Damascus Off The Beaten Path

    They shine at night, they seems to be so far from us, standing up on this mountain...Drinking a hot tea, my eyes lost in yours, no words are needed cause our hearts are talking already...Oh God, i dont wanna go away.....please, let me stay here, forever...Doesn't split what is born to be One.....Those citylights, the same i saw from the plane, as...

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  • day trips

    Aleppo Off The Beaten Path

    The Church of St. Simeon (or Qala Siman as it is known to the Syrians) is about 1 hour out of Aleppo. It is the site of where St. Simeon chose to lead the religious life alone as a hermit monk. But instead of living in a cave, St. Simeon lived on top of a pillar 12-18 meters high. He used to preach atop this pillar. After his death, the church was...

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  • covered souq

    Aleppo Off The Beaten Path

    Some 200 meters from Bab Antakia, on the right, there is a mosque of some importance: Jame al Bahra-myah, in the Turkish style with a great dome which is being restored; note the many beautiful small carpets in the prayer hall.

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  • Ugarit or Ras Shamra ---an ancient...

    Up near Latika, there is the ruined settlement of Ugarit. It was a famous port thousands of years BC. Trade was undertaken with the Egyptians and the people of Crete (Minoans)it is most famopus for an early (perhaps the earliest) alphabet that was far easier to use than hieroglyphics and cuneiform.The city was invaded by the Philistines about...

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  • Homs

    Homs is the third largest city in Syria and it is the JOKE of Syrian people. It is located in the middle of country with connection to all other Syrian cities . It is located directly in front of to what is know as the Homs Gab. The Homs gab is an opening between the Al Ansaria mountains to the North and The Lebanon Range top the south. This result...

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  • The Dead Cities, Sirjila

    Sirjila is another dead city that can be visited from Aleppo or Hama either by a hotel Organized tour or by a privately owned car. Sarjila has an on going excavation and restoration project. It has the added benefit of You talking to the Archaeologist on site, who were happy to show us around and explain the various ongoing projects. This site is...

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  • 'The Dead Cities, Al Bara

    The Dead cities are a collection of little villages and towns the are located between Aleppo and Hama along the modern highway. These cities date back to the 3rd century AD. Some were mysteriously abandoned. It is estimated that there are 500 of these sites. many of them are incorporated into existing villages and homes. Some of these sites and...

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  • Musyaf

    It is an interesting town, visited mostly to view its castle. I met few Germans living in this little town with German families to learn Arabic. There was always so sort of fortification at this site since the dawn of history. the current castle was built around the 10 century. The view is excellent from the castle. You can get o Musyaf from Hama,...

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  • Al Hamra (Beehive Homes)

    These Desert houses are Ideal for the environment. It constructed from hay and clay. It is very worm in winter and cool in summer. I was told that it take 10 people one day to built one house. The one we visited and shown in these pictures is about 80 years old. very few of these house are being built these days. You can see miniature champers used...

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  • Qasr Ibn Wardan

    This was built as an eastern frontier post by Emperor Justinian in the mid 6 th century. It functioned as a fort and a church. It was used as a staging post to control the local Bedouin tribes in the region. Today it is located 60 Km to the north east of Hama. To get to it you have to take one of the tours organized by the hotels of Hama. There is...

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  • Qalat Sheizer

    Qalat Sheizer was built by the Fatimid califs of Egypt. It was a major a thorn against the Crusader and a big allay to Saladin. Usamah ibn Munqidh, the commander of the castle who served Saladin as a Diplomat during the 12th century wrote his Autobiography "Kitab al-I'tibar" which describes the life of the period. He also talks in details about the...

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  • Qalat Shmaimees and Al Salamiyya

    This site was first fortified during the first century BC. The castle suffered from an earth quake and than was flattened by the Persian Army in 613 AD. The Current structure dates to the 11th century during the Ayubbied period. The castle was destroyed again during the Mogul invasion in 1260 AD and left the site as seen today.The site is very...

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  • Hosn Suleiman

    The current structure is a Roman Temple which was built on an earlier Phonetician temple. The building is 180 maters by 90m. Some of the stone blocks are very huge and estimated to weight 90 tones with a dimension of 10 meter by 4 (see the 3rd picture).The temple has 4 gates which has intact decoration and columns and inscribtion. The gates has...

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  • Mashta Al Helow

    This is a very beautiful town especially in the summer. There are plenty of Restaurants and hotels. The night life during summer time is great. The atmosphere and vibe of the place is incredible. Mashta Al helow is a collection of little villages with the main village is called Alkafroon. It can be a base to visit Hosn sulieman.The name is very...

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  • Ugarit-ancient city

    2400BC-From15-13.cc-Royal palace, city wallsOne of the first alphabet was written here which helped to pass to phonetic writing.There also wrote music notes. Entrance time: From: 9.00 t0 18.00 at summer, from: 9.00 to 4.00 at winter time.

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  • Ebla=Tell mardikh ancient city

    It is from 3000BC. Same time with Turkey's Catalhoyuk. They were not burning to soil, that's why there is not much things to see. But there are 6-7 layers since bronze period. Hitittes restructed too much at Hitites period. Ingredients are in Aleppo and Damascus museums. There was a Isthar (god of love) temple here. Ebla alphabet has 30 letters....

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  • Bagdad Cafe in Syria

    From Damascus to Aleppo, via Palmyra, you'll need to cross the desert. The Syrian desert isn't like the Sahara or Gobi! There are a lot of nomads and tented communities. The roads aren't crowded but there is a fair bit of traffic. Anyway, half way to Palmyra there's a place called the Bagdad Cafe. Try a coffee and a snack here. The people are...

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  • Little visited museum in Damascus

    The Arab Epigraphy Museum is right next to Salah Al Din's Masoleum near the Ommayyad Mosque in Damascus. It is a very small and intimate museum. Exhibits are limited but the attraction is the building and not so much what's in it. Words are hard to describe it but I hope the pic is illuminating. Entry fee for foreigners is 75 Syrian Pounds or a...

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  • Dead Cities Outside Aleppo

    In the region between Aleppo and Antioch, Turkey, the early Christian church flourished well before their was a Pope in Rome. Today, the ruins of the Byzantine period is mixed in with some of the earliest ruins in the world. Check out my pages on the Dead Cities, under the Off-The-Beaten-Path for Aleppo for a zillion pictures and descriptions....

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  • Hosn Suleiman -the lost temple of Zeus...

    Well, the temple may not be lost but you could be trying to find it! It is really easy to take a wrong turn as you travel the winding roads that lead to this most remote site high in the Jebel Ansariye. The effort is worth it though. It is an extraordinary place. Massive hardly does justice to the size of some of the stone blocks used in the...

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  • Qasr ibn Wardan - Outpost of Empire

    What was in the emperor's mind when he comissioned these building here, right on the edge of the empire? A tall church and a Governor's palace, built in high Constantinople style with narrow Roman bricks and broad black stone bands - both materials that would have had to be imported from a considerable distance. There's little else left to tell us...

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  • The Dead Cities...

    The Dead Cities is a collective area in the north of Syria. Many people visit The Dead Citiers from Aleppo which is a good base to see these 'dead' cities.they are called as 'dead cities' because nobody knows why the inhabitants left these places which in their days could be a prosperous city !2 of the most-visited Dead Cities are Serjilla &...

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  • Der'a...

    Der'a is the southern-most town in Syria.Well, not many people will pass through Der'a; Only if you want to cross over to Jordan from Syria as a lone tourist, then you would pass through Der'a.In addition to that, if you are visiting Bosra & don't want to back track to Damascus, then Der'a would be a handy place to move to Jordan on your own or a...

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  • Deir Marmusa II

    From archeological and historical evidence, we know that Deir Marmusa existed from the middle of the 6th century and belonged to the Syrian Antiochian Rite. The present monastic church was built in the islamic year 450 (1058 AD) according to arabic inscriptions on the walls.The frescoes of the church date from 11th and 12th century.In the 15th...

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  • Deir Marmusa I

    The ancient Syrian monastery of St Moses the Abyssinian (Deir Mar Musa el-Habashi) overlooks a harsh valley in the mountains east of the small town of Nebek, 80 km north of Damascus. Altitude is 1320 m.Prehistoric hunters and sheperds first inhabited the area around the monastery, attracted by the natural cisterns and pastures, ideal for herding...

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  • Deir Marmusa III

    The church of the monastery was built in 1058 AD. It is a square of about 10X10M and divided into two sections. The larger section is a nave with two aisles illuminated by a high eastern window. The second section of the sanctuary containing the altar and the apse; it is separated from the rest of the church by a stone and wooden chancel screen.To...

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  • Qalaat Jaabar Castle

    Qalaat Jaabar was built in the 1100's on a mound near the euphrates overlooking plains. Sacked by the Mongols in 1260, it was later rebuilt but eventually crumbled away into what it is today. Mostly all that is left is the impressive entrance way and some of the outer walls. There is also an old brick minaret in the centre, wich over the years it...

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  • East of Hama -Beehive houses

    Once there were villages of mud brick beehive houses all over the north-eastern plains of Syria. Today there are only a few and instead people live in concrete boxes. It seems a shame - the old beehives were well-suited to the climate, cool in summer and warm in winter, cheap to built from the only material readily available, their tall curved...

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  • Wadi al Nadara - Mar Georgis

    St George is a much-loved saint throughout the Middle East and there has been a monastery dedicated to him here in the Wadi al Nadara since the time of the Emperor Justinian. The original chapel of the monastery lies below two later churches, one a 13th Century construction, the other a 19th Century building. These both have elaborately carved...

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  • Wadi al Nadara -the Valley of the...

    This beautiful valley has been a stronghold of Greek Orthodoxy since the earliest times of the church. As well as being a lovely green and fertile place it is interesting to see how different the villages look with their churches and signs of greater affluence than most parts of rural Syria. The valley is quite steep in parts and the houses cling...

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  • Masyaf -Ismaeli citadel

    Try to approach Masyaf on the road from Hama. The impact of the sight of the great, crumbling ruin of this most famous of all the Ismaeli castles is much more striking when seen from this angle than when you come around to it from the town itself.Whilst it may be the both the best known and the best preserved of the sect's mountain fortresses, that...

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  • Dead Cities - Bauda

    Right by the road from Al Bara to Serjilla there is another Dead City, Bauda. Whilst neither as attractive in its setting as Al Bara nor as complete as Serjilla, Bauda is still worth a brief stop. In quite small area there is a large group of sarcophogi, a ruinous church and a very complete pyramid tomb.

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  • Ma'arat al-Numan - a place of many...

    The road signs outside Ma'arat exhort drivers to "Make less speed. A place of many inhabitants". Most people just drive past, but Ma'arat is definitely worth a detour. First there is an excellent museum, housed in an impressive Ottoman khan (the biggest in Syria) where you will find wonderful mosaics and other finds from the surrounding Dead City...

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  • Dead Cities -Ruweiha

    Ruweiha hardly deserves to be called a "Dead" City, so many of the buildings there are in such a good state of repair they are still being lived in by local people! The domed annexe to the largest church - now serving as a farmhouse - was once the tomb of a local bishop and is known as the Church of Bissos. Nearby is what looks like a toy Roman...

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  • Dead Cities - Jerada

    Whilst not as far off the main Damascus-Aleppo highway as Serjilla and Al Bara, Jerada gets far fewer visitors. Here the ruins lie within a modern village. Most impressive is the 5th Century watch tower. Not only does it still stand to its full height, the massive stone door is both still in place and functioning. Look around the site and you will...

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  • Deir ez-Zor - Holy Martyrs Armenian...

    Following the massacres and enforced expulsion of the Armenians from Turkey, many of the survivors found refuge in Deir ez-Zor. Today, their descendants honour the memory of their dead in this beautiful, simple church. There is a small museum in the crypt where photos and personal effects speak eloquently of the horrors of this genocide. The church...

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  • Palmyra - Tadmor: old name, modern town

    Tadmor is actually the ancient Arab name for Palmyra and is the name the dusty little town by the ruins still goes by. As you walk through it, go past the shabby tourist shops, the restaurants and hotels, down to where the locals live and work. You'l find a busy little town, with shops and businesses, a market and mosques. People, children...

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  • Palmyra - into the oasis

    A walk through the oasis will take you into a cool green world, a million miles from the dry desert and the dusty little town beyond its walls. A maze of lanes winds between old baked mud walls with weathered wooden gateways leading into carefully tended little groves of olives and pomegranates as well as the dates that, from the road, seem to...

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  • Deir Mar Musa - Fabulous frescoes

    The glory of the desert monastery of Deir Mar Musa is undoubtedly its little church filled with frescoes, some of which date back to the 11 th Century. Mostly dating from the 12th and early 13th centuries, they cover the walls - grave images of Christ and his Apostles, saints and prophets, the fathers of the Church, the saved and the damned. Newly...

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  • Deir Mar Musa - St Moses the Abyssinian

    There's no doubt that looking at the long climb up from the road to the ancient stone monastery of Deir Mar Musa, high above you , is daunting, but oh! it is worth the climb. From the moment you straighten up from stepping through the tiny doorway to see the Bedouin tent pitched on the high terrace and the view beyond, you know you are in a special...

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  • Dumeir - Lone Roman Temple

    As you take the road to Palmyra, a short detour into the little town of Dumeir (about 40km from Damascus) will bring you to a well-restored Roman temple standing alone among the houses. Whilst there is no access into the building - later fortification by the Arabs saw the main entrances blocked - it is interesting to walk around and note how much...

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  • Al Bara

    Al Bara is another of the Dead Cities. As with the rest of them, it's not terribly easy to get to. Unlike the rest of them, however, Al Bara lacks a definitive 'centre', and is instead made up of random ruins spread out over a large area.In its time Al Bara was a centre for olive oil production. These days little is left, two pyramid tombs (one...

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  • winding mountain roads

    outside the capital, the countryside varies considerably. Parts of the country are mountainous and travel involves driving along winding mountain roads,

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  • Al Resafa (Resafe)

    The site originally dates back to the 9th century BC since when it has been used and occupied by many. Originally by the Assyrians, then the Romans, Sassanians, then finally the Umayyads. The city was sacked by the Mongols in 1247 since wich time it has been a ruined city in the desert.The site is surrounded on 4 sides by some decently preserved...

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  • St. George's Convent

    Located in the valley beneath the Crac des Chevaliers, it was convenient to combine the two into one trip. Though unless you are already going to the Crac, I would not suggest making a trip just to see the Convent.St. George's Convent is a complex consisting of two chapels, one bigger one above and a smaller one beneath it in the back. The complex...

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Syria Off The Beaten Path

Reviews and photos of Syria off the beaten path posted by real travelers and locals. The best tips for Syria sightseeing.
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