Syria has more than its fair share of significant historical sites. The ancient cities of Damascus, Aleppo and Bosra are all listed on Unesco's World Heritage list, as is the sensationally beautiful ruined city of Palmyra. Mighty Crusader castles, labyrinthine medieval souqs, jewel-like Damascene houses and sacred Umayyad mosques are only some of the treats on offer; there are plenty more for those who are keen to search them out. Best of all is the fact that these monuments are often woven into the fabric of daily life - the locals worship in the mosques, shop in the souqs, drink tea in the houses and picnic in the ruins. And they're happy for travellers to join them.
Talking about picnics brings us to the pièce de résistance when it comes to a Syrian so-journ - the food. The national cuisine is simply superb, so come with a big appetite. You're bound to be replete in so many ways when you finally tear yourself away.
What an eyeful: the world's most beautiful buildings
Straight away we'll say that this isn't a top 10 list. There are just far too many styles of buildings, each worthy of a top 50: sacred buildings, homes, skyscrapers, theatres...
Tony Wheeler's Bad Lands
In an age of plastic knives on planes, Tony Wheeler can make the extraordinary claim of having visited all the rogue countries currently on newsreaders' lips. Bad Lands is a witty first-hand account of his travels through places often perceived as having some of the most repressive and dangerous regimes in the world.
Legend has it that on a journey from Mecca, the Prophet Mohammed cast his gaze from the mountainside onto Damascus but refused to enter the city because he wanted to enter paradise only once – when he died.
10 best things to climb
Over ice and iron girders, shinnying up temples and scaling rainforest trees – tackle the world’s most worthwhile ways to reach the top. In this excerpt from Lonely Planet's 1000 Ultimate Experiences we've gathered together ten things to go up, from the somewhat gentle to the downright difficult.
Middle East - Syria (Chapter)
Due to violent internal conflict, Syria is currently a no-go zone. How long this will last is impossible to guess, but when it ends, the wealth of historic sites and gracious hospitality of the Syrian people are sure to lure us back.
Golan Heights Day Trip from Jerusalem
Discover the beauty of Israel’s Golan Heights in all its rugged, mountainous glory, on a full-day tour from Jerusalem! On the journey to the national park, enjoy several photo stops including one at the sacred baptismal site of Yarendit, and then explore Golan Heights’ ancient capital, the village of Katzrin, on a walking tour.
Top sights of the Islamic world
The Islamic world covers some of the greatest treasures of the natural world as well as some of the finest gems of civilisation.
Middle East phrasebook
With eight key languages in this first ever phrasebook to the region, let no barriers - language or culture - get in your way.
Sights in Syria
Activities in Syria
Budget hotels & hostels
Guesthouses and B&Bs
While Damascus was always the ‘holy’ city, the seat of rulers and wary of foreigners, Aleppo (or Halab as it is known), Syria’s second city, has been one of commerce since Roman times.