Syria 's beaches are ideal for holiday makers

The Syrian coast that stretches between the sea and green mountains is ideal for holiday makers. These mountains are mostly covered with pine and oak trees, and their slopes touch the shores.  This landscape holds a visitor 's breath from Raas al-Basit in the north to Tartous in the South, on the mountainous  villages  and towns scattered with springs of clear mineral  waters.

The Syrian sea-shore is about 175 Km long, and its series of continuous beaches are distinguished by soft sand, unpolluted waters, moderate climate and fertile lands of fresh fruits and vegetables. As a city, Lattakia is Syria 's main sea- port on the Mediterranean. It has retained its importance since ancient times, as it was one of the  five cities built by Selecus in the 2nd century B.C. and was named after his mother " Laudetia".

Lattakia is the sea gate to Syria. It has first class accommodation, and is well-placed as a base from which to explore the Coastal regions of the country.There are beaches, mountains, archeological sites and many relics speaking of glorious ancient civilization.

Raas  Shamra is Lattakia 's main monument. It is 16 Km north of Lattakia. It is the site of Ugarit, the kingdom, where  a golden past of administration, education, diplomacy, law, religion and  economics  between the 16th and 13th centuries B.C. flourished. It is the Kingdom which offered humanity the first alphabet  in the world. Statues, documents  and jewels belonging  to the glorious Kingdom of Ugarit are on display at  Lattakia, Aleppo  and Tartous museums.

The nearest coastal town to Lattakia is Jableh, 28Km to the south. It has a theatre of 8,000 seats. Close to Jableh  is Tell Sokas, where archeological relics were discovered.

Besides  its important economic position, Lattakia has considerable tourist potentials. There are beaches, mountains,  archeological sites and many relics, giving evidences on once a prosperous civilization. Moreover, the most interesting excursions from Lattakia are onto the mountains and valleys to the east and south east of the city.

The valley of Nahr al-Kabir river is almost Alpine in feeling only a few kilometers inland from the sea, and there , the road along this river valley flows to meet another tributary at al-Haffee district, where there is a turning  for the Salah Eddine Castle and then to the " charming holiday center", in the woods at Slunfeh and then to its neighboring Summer resorts on the mountains : Salma which is  only 12 Km from Slunfeh and 800 meters  above the sea level.

Syria 's coastal  Summer resorts are numerous, scattered on the hills and mountains near the sea, they boast fresh air, cool weather in Summer  and moderate weather in  Winter. And of these lovely resorts  is  Slunfeh which  is 50 Km east of Lattakia and 1200 meters  above sea level.  Slunfeh 's rival in natural beauty and oak trees woods is Kasab which is 65 Km north of Lattakia. It is located on the Aqra mountain amongst woods, 800 meters above  sea level. The road that leads to Kasab runs amidst woods, overlooking  most beautiful scenery of Syria 's  best natural beauty. The road to Kasab runs through woods and meadows of wild flowers and plants and groves of olive and vine, orchards of apple trees, leading  to the beautiful forest of Frulloq.

Raas al-Basit, however,  is Lattakia 's main resorts. It is 60 Km north of the city, by Antioch road for 42 Km, then left long a road climbing  through forests . Raas al-Basit is to become  the great popular, and at the same time, international, sea-side, resort, as the road from Lattakia to this resort is a delight in itself. After driving  through some  forty kilometers amidst-rich plantation rising  in two or three terraces from the roadside, carefully kept and ingeniously irrigated, the traveler enters the area of forests . And there, the visitor goes north. There are the forests up there.  And once over a small pass, the Raas al-Basit  road suddenly opens out to an unexpected and pleasant landscape: the forest all at once gives place to fields of cereal crops  enclosing a vast stretch of water. A deep blue lake like a precious stone set against a background of green and gold, that is the lake of Ballouran.

Beyond,  the  road drops rapidly  through a valley  and comes to a stop at the water 's edge . T the left, a sandy path leads towards a promontory, whereas the right hand side path of refreshment bars goes off to connect the bathing  resort with the Summer Resort of Kassab.

 

Tomader Fateh

Mar Takla Church

Lattakia is famous for its archeological monuments and tourist destinations which reflect the City\'s historical and humanitarian deep-rootedness and its cultural and spiritual diversity.

Mar Takla Church and Cemetery are the most important archeological, historical and religious features of Lattakia Province.

Mar Takla Cemetery is very vast as it encompasses family graves dating back to the Classical Era in the 1st Century AD, which contain primitive ecclesiastical features which thought to be used by Saint Takla as a place for worshiping.

Before a century and a half, the site was used by the inhabitants as a store for provisions and breeding livestock and poultry.

The cemetery consists of a large room carved in grits, and it can be entered through 115-cm long and 30-cm wide stairs made of stones which descend towards the cemetery with an angle of 120 degrees

Near the door of the cemetery, one can see a vast a square-shaped hall with dimensions of 410×410 cm surrounded by a 50-cm high and 40-cm wide threshold leading to 13 burial chambers distributed among the four walls of the cemetery.

One can also see five holes carved in the walls of the cemetery that were used for the lanterns and the funerary tools.

The site also includes the Classical Grave which has attracted the attention of several international Arab and foreign and archeologists.

Al-Kafroun : a Wonderful Painting Created by Nature

AL-Kafroun is one of the most important tourist areas in Syria. 

The village consists of seven lanes called "Kavareen " these lanes are : zriek , Bashour , Rafqa , Haider , saadeh , Beit Badra and Karkar springs.

The beauty of nature , as well as, the abundance of water give al-Kafroun a special importance in tourism field .Its permanent flowing  rivers cross a very beautiful valley covered with trees . Among  the most important rivers in Kafroun are : cheir ,sheikh Hassan and bride spring . 

AL-Kafroun and the surrounding villages are considered among the oldest areas in history which witnessed the civilizations of the  Phoenician , Romans and Byzantines.

There are a lot of Byzantine archaeological sites in Al-Kafroun including the stone arches and water wells which were dug according to the ancient Roman  style .

Kafroun, unfortunately,  is sparsely populated village, especially in Winter , because its people , like the rest of the villagers, are residing in the surrounding cities to follow their work and earn their living .

 

Amal Farhat

Al-Lajat

Al-Lajat Area in Daraa…Integrated Museum, Magnificent Nature Reserve

Al-Lajat area in Daraa Province, 101 km to the south of Damascus, embraces great archeological monuments as it constitutes an integrated museum and an important tourist destination.

Al-Lajat area is estimated at 1,000 km² as it expands from the east of Jordan to al-Arab Mountain, and it has a shape of equilateral triangle, each side of which is 45 km and it is 800 m above sea level.

It was called by the Romans (Trakhonites) which means a rugged area, while the Arabs called it Lajat due to using it as forts and shelters by revolutionists during the times of wars.

During its survey works in 2003, the Syrian-French Archeological Expedition unearthed an archeological site dating back to the Copper Stone Age (the Chalcolithic) which dates back to the 5th millennium BC.

Archeologists pointed out that al-Lajat archeological sites and cities had flourished during the 2nd and 3rd centuries AD as it encompasses pagan temples, military headquarters and high towers.

Al-Lajat encompasses 70 villages that are rich in the archeological monuments dating back to the Roman, Byzantine and Islamic eras.

It is also a nature reserve which enjoys a great biological diversity as several tree species grow in it, and it constitutes a sanctuary for a huge number of birds and animals.

Aleppo's Beauty is Hard to Compare

Archaeologists believe that human beings settled on the hilltop that became Aleppo, some 350 km (225 miles )north of Damascus, around eight thousand years ago. Its Arabic name, Haleb, is said to derive from Haleb Ibrahim, Milk of Abraham, for the sheep’s milk the biblical patriarch offered to travelers in Aleppo’s environs.

 "It is an excellent city without equal for the beauty of its location, the grace of its construction and the size and symmetry of its marketplaces," wrote the great Arab Voyager Ibn Battota about this city when he visited it in 1348.

Aleppo was one of Islam’s most important cities like Damascus, Constantinople and Cairo. The modern Lebanese historian Antoine Abdel Nour praised it in his Introduction "à l’histoire urbaine de la Syrie ottoman".

"Its beauty reveals itself in the elegance of its stone architecture, redolent of historic links to Byzantium and Venice; and in the diversity of its cultures," wrote the editor Charles Glass.

 In the old part of Aleppo, a walled structure on what looks like a hill would strike your eye. As you reach the entrance, you can feel that it includes  rich  and diverse cultures. It is a marvelous example of Arab military architecture.

Aleppo citadel, which is listed by the UNESCO as a world heritage site, was built in the days of Sayf al-Dawla al-Hamadani , and lies in ruins of earlier civilizations. It has always been important – both strategically and military.

Its' designers did everything to make the fortification impossible to penetrate, and this becomes clear when you approach the entrance.

On the north and south sides, you can see great  tours rise above the moat, 20 m deep and 30 m wide. While walking inside, you would enter a small door and climb up to the Byzantine hall and the royal palace , and enter the museum containing relics uncovered during restoration and reconstruction. 

The main attraction of the citadel, 50 m over the city,  is a magnificent  view of Aleppo and its surroundings from  Ibrahim's Mosque whose square minaret is 21 m high.

The other attraction of the city is the high walls of ancient Aleppo with fortified doors (Hadid, Antakia, and Qinsrin) which are marvelous example of Islamic military architecture.

As one of the oldest inhabited cities in the world with its rich stories of the many ancient travelers and merchants who crossed the Silk Road, Aleppo's beauty is indeed  hard to compare.

Basma Qaddour