“Ahlan wa sahlan” (“welcome” in Arabic) is the most common expression you will hear in this most hospitable of countries. Situated in the heart of the Middle East, Syria`s fascinating history has been touched by many of the great civilisations. The Greeks, Romans, Phoenicians, Arab Caliphates and Crusaders have all left their indelible mark on this intriguing country.
And with both Damascus and Aleppo vying for the title of the world`s oldest continually inhabited city (at around 8,000 years each), there is plenty of history to absorb. This rich heritage has blessed Syria with some of the best monuments in the Middle East and its excellent and diverse cuisine cannot fail to impress.
- Damascus - the world`s oldest inhabited city?
- Aleppo`s citadel and colourful souk
- Imposing medieval castle of Krak des Chevaliers
- Boat ride on the River Euphrates
- Bedouin culture in Palmyra
- The finest Middle Eastern cuisine.
Day 1: Fly into Damascus. You will be met by our representative at the airport and transferred to your hotel. Overnight in Damascus. Meal plan: N/A.
Day 2: Day tour of the world’s oldest city. Damascus’ highlights including the National museum, Takieh Mosque, covered Souk, Umayyad Mosque. Enjoy a hearty buffet lunch. Continue tour to Azem Palace, Straight Street, St. Anania’s Church, Bab Sharqi and St. Paul’s Window. Overnight in Damascus. Meal plan: B, L.
Day 3: Drive to Aleppo stopping at the Crusader fortress of Krak des Chevaliers, one of the most impressive medieval military castles in the world. Go on to visit the historic cities of Hama, with its ancient water wheels and Apamea. Overnight in Aleppo. Meal plan: B, L.
Day 4: Visit the stunning dead cities of Al-Bara and Serjilla before exploring Ma`arret Al Nouman mosaic museum. Lunch at Ma'arret Al Nouman. Explore the church of St. Simeon, the famous Stylite who lived on an 18 m pillar. Overnight in Aleppo. Meal plan: B, L.
Day 5: Day to visit the ancient city of Aleppo and explore its souks (markets), some of the finest in the whole Middle East. Visit the impressive National museum, citadel, grand mosque and finally the colourful souks. Overnight in Aleppo. Meal plan: B, L.
Day 6: Steeped in history, visit the magnificent Roman ruins at Rasafa and the stunning castle of Qala`at Ja’abar encircled by the azure waters of Lake Assad. Lunch in a lake-side restaurant. Drive to the ancient ruins of Halabia, then on to Deir Ez-Zur. Overnight in Deir Ez-Zur. Meal plan: B, L.
Day 7: Visit the Roman walled city of Dura Europos overlooking the Euphrates and the ruins of the ancient city of Mari. Afternoon at leisure - free to discover the souk and museum and meet the friendly locals. Enjoy a boat ride and Arabian tea on the Euphrates river as the sun sets. Overnight in Deir Ez-Zur. Meal plan: B.
Day 8: Leisurely start to the day. Set off for the palace of Qasr Hirl Sharqi, a stunning fortress set deep in the desert. Picnic lunch, drive to Palmyra for a short visit of the ruins. Overnight in comfortable Bedouin tent (in a real bed - this is the most luxurious tent you can imagine!) and enjoy ambience of Syria at its best. Meal plan: B, L, D.
Day 9: After breakfast visit Palmyra, Syria’s star attraction including Palmyra museum, Bael temple, Tombs, Colonnaded Street, the Agora and the Amphitheatre. Lunch at scenic spot in Palmyra. Take a short camel ride through this atmospheric site. Overnight in Bedouin tent. Meal plan: B, L, D.
Day 10: Drive to Damascus stopping off at a Beehive mud cafe. Visit Qasioun mountain for stunning views across this ancient city. Half day free to explore. Some additional sites will be suggested by the guides. Overnight in Damascus. Meal plan: B.
Day 11: Visit the stunning Deir Marmusa, a multi-denominational monastery in a setting you won’t believe. Then drive to the scenic Aramaic village of Maaloula and its monasteries before finally discovering the Christian monastery at Seidnaya. Return to Damascus for overnight. Meal plan: B.
Day 12: Day trip to Bosra’s incredible black basalt Roman coliseum and citadel. Wander through the myriad ruins scattered through the village. Proceed to Suweida to discover its stunning 4th century mosaics. Lunch in Suweida and the chance to sample the areas wine and arak, the country`s best. Return to Damascus for overnight. Meal plan: B, L.
Day 13: Free day in Damascus to go shopping, exploring or simply relax in this charming city. Overnight in Damascus. Meal plan: B
Day 14: Breakfast. Transfer to Damascus Airport for final departure. Meal plan: B.
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Middle East Syria History Whiz Archeology/History
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