In the very south of Syria, near the border with Jordan, is the city of Bosra. Bosra is famous for one thing, its Roman Amphitheatre. I know what you’re probably thinking – I’ve seen amphitheatres before, in Italy, Greece, Turkey.
But have you ever seen the largest in the world?
Well unless you’ve already been to Bosra, the answer will be no. Most people are sceptical until they see it in real life and properly appreciate the grandness of this 2000 year old behemoth.
It also happens that Bosra is in a very sensitive part of the country meaning even less people travel to this part of Syria than the already small numbers who travel to the rest of the country.
4. Latakia Beach
If you visit Syria, chances are you’ll visit some of the oldest places on earth, places with immense historical value and amazing stories to tell. Latakia isn’t one of them. What Latakia is, is a glimpse into the modern-day lifestyle and outlook of young Syrians who come here to let their hair down and have fun. Other than Damascus, Latakia is the next best place to genuinely meet people and get to know local Syrians and how the live. And it might surprise you similar they are to us.
Known for its great seafood, exciting nightlife, and relaxing Mediterranean beaches, Latakia is best visited in summer when it seems that half of Syria is holidaying here.
Palmyra is probably the most famous site in Syria and one of the most famous in the entire Middle East. Founded around 3000 BC, Palmyra is phenomenal in that despite the fact that ISIS destroyed a huge percentage of it, there is still more to see than you could possibly imagine. Not only is Palmyra itself still an amazing experience, but the drive through the mesmerising Syrian desert to get there is the icing on the cake.
There is also a modern city of Palmyra, which currently is mostly abandoned except for a few hundred residents who have returned, itself a harrowing tale of the atrocities of war.
2. Aleppo Citadel
Located in the very centre of Syria’s second largest city Aleppo, the Citadel has seen every major empire come through and utilise its strategic advantage. The Armenians, Greeks, Byzantines, Mamluks, Ayyubids, Ottomans and even the French colonialists all controlled the Aleppo Citadel, just to name a few.
And most recently it was used as a stronghold by the Syrian Army.
The current structure dates from medieval times, although archaeologists are continuously unearthing older structures that had previously been built on. The other great thing about the Aleppo Citadel are the views you’ll get of Aleppo and the surrounding countryside.
1. Damascus old city
This is an unusual entry as it encompasses the entire old city rather than one particular location, however it’s everything in the old city that makes it what it is. From the bustling markets, to the ancient churches, to the incredible mosques, the old part of Damascus is one of the most incredible, beautiful places on earth. It literally has something for everyone, even if you want to go out bar hoping and nightclubbing, you won’t find anything like this anywhere else on earth.
Damascus is arguably the oldest inhabited city on earth and is the capital of Syria. While much of the new city is like any other place in the world, the old city has somehow managed to keep its charm and traditions in a way that you’d struggle to find anywhere else.