Latakia: Sea and Mountains

In the governorate of Latakia, tourists and visitors have fun on seashores enjoying the sun and swimming. Few kilometers from the seashore, there are mountains, rivers, lakes and fresh air where tourist can eat local delicious dishes.

Hasan Kousa, Chairman of the Tourism Chamber of Latakia said, that the governorate of Latakia has great tourism specifications and can offer high-quality tourism products including chalets and restaurants by the sea, forest, rivers, lakes.  This is enhanced by fantastic weather in the mountains.

 

“I started investing in the tourism industry in 2008 and began with the project of Vetro Hotel in Latakia city, RAND Coffee shop and others,” Hasan Kousa said to Syria Times.

“In 2010, I established Al-Nour Center for Tourism Sciences to train local staff and give a Masters Degree in tourism project management and booking tickets for travel agencies. In 2017, I established Syria Center from which  tour guides could graduate,” said Hasan Kousa, who is also a Member in the Parliament.

“I believe that Syria can attract more tourists from all over the world’s countries,” Hasan Kousa said in his office in the Vetro Hotel.

Syria Times visited the town of Mashqita and its wonderful lake , 25kms north of Latakia city, where dark blue water  is combined with green mountains and lovely fresh air.

Baseem Iskandar, a 43-year-old boat driver who works in Mashqita Lake, said that there are 40 boats working in the Lake to navigate tourist and visitors along the 12km-long lake among mountains, forest and water.

“Before the 2011 war on Syria, there were large  numbers of tourists from Arab countries and Europeans who come to the region to spend their vacation,” Baseem said while driving his “ Caesar Boat”

 “This Summer, there are Syrian tourist from Damascus, Sweida, Aleppo, Homs and even from Latakia city who come to the Lake and eat their food in restaurants near it and take a trip in boats,” Baseem added.

Above the Lake, there is a big nicely -decorated hotel / restaurant, “the Royal Palace”

Ridda Ahmed, the Director of the Royal Palace said that his tourism facility is composed of a 26-room hotel, swimming pool, and an 800-seat restaurant which also has a direct view to the Lake.

“We built this 38-donum facility 15 years ago. Today, I have visitors from Lebanon, Iraq, and Syrian expatiates in addition to the Syrian local visitors from all Syrian cities,” Ridda Ahmed said during a meeting in his office in the Royal Palace.

“I have good professional cooks and chefs who present very delicious local dishes served in  traditional hand-made clay pots . We have roast chicken, lamb meat which needs 12 hours to cook , Bulgur with chickpeas , Sausages and grilled chicken pieces. All these dishes are presented in clay pots,” Ridda Ahmed said.

About 8kms to the west of Mashqita, tourists can enjoy the seashore of Latakia which has different tourism facilities and chalets.

The La Plage Resort is the best one in the region and it is run by Syrian Transport and Tourism Company which belongs to the Ministry of Tourism.   

Yasir Mohammad, the Director of La Plage Resort said that the resort has 24 wooden cottages and five cement chalets, two swimming pools, a  kitchen, cafeteria and a big restaurant which has a direct view to the seashore. The wooden cottages’ prices are suitable for working class.

 “There are many families coming from the city of Latakia and other villages and wanting to spend a day by the seashore. They  bring their food and drinks with them,” Yasir Mohammad said to Syria Times.

Yasir Mohammad said that there are tourist groups coming from Sweida, Homs, Tartous , Damascus, and Aleppo to the resort. They spend a few nights in the wooden huts and party all night in the restaurant.

Around the La Plage Resort, there are many local simple public restaurants which present local dishes and cold drinks next to the Zighrin River. 

Zighrin town, 20kms north of Latakia city, has many villages along the seashore and others in the mountains and a river- Zighrin River.

 Zighrin River flows out from the mountain’s wells to the seashore near Qandil village where the owners of restaurants and coffee shops welcome visitors and tourist and  present them with simple clean food in the virgin nature and next to the River’s cool clean waters.

 

Written by: Obaida Hamad/ Inas Abudlkareem

Photos by: Obaida Hamad

 

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