The field duty stations of UN organisations are based in the capital, Damascus. The country has a km border with Iraq, a 76km border with Israel, a km border with Jordan, a km border with Lebanon and an km border with Turkey. Its Mediterranean coastline is km long. Syria is primarily semi-arid and a desert plateau. Climate The coastal region has a Mediterranean climate. The heat is never excessive and there is usually some breeze and humidity.
In fact, it is this juxtaposition of the old and the new that makes Damascus so compelling. Damascus is a city with a storied history, but still full of life, where street vendors flaunt their wares whilst men in business suits walk past. The older portions of the city are particularly enthralling with their labyrinth of narrow alleys and alluringly secretive doors that open out into lush courtyards and rather blank-faced houses.
Many of the traditional hotels in Damascus are amongst these alleys and make for great places to stay in Damascus.
During the period when Syria was a part of Ottoman empire -which lasted about years- the Turkish lira was the currency.
Dayfa Khatun bint al-Adil Muhammad fem. AH CE. Medal; but rotated as shown. Hexagram type Dirham with posthumous dates Struck during It is identical in style and alloy to the lifetime Dirhams of al-Zahir Ghazi citing Caliph al-Nasir and the overload al-Adil Abu Bakr even after their deaths. There are numerous subtypes of this coin, some naming a Seljuq or Ayyubid overload, however this coin is citing Caliph Al Musta’sim B’Allah. Common Type – Crusader imitation.
Some Dirhams and Half Dirhams of this ruler are now believed to be Crusader imitations, theoretically distinguished by style, alloy and fabric, occasionally by inscription. However, the criteria for separating them have not yet been established. Aleppo Zangid rule over Damascus The siege until June Kerak was annexed by Egypt in In a temporary agreement with the Crusaders, he ceded Jerusalem to the Christians.
The tomb of Saladin stands in a small garden adjoining the north wall of the mosque. In addition, the mosque holds a shrine which is said to contain the head of John the Baptist, who is honored as a prophet by both Christians and Muslims. It was BC at the latest when the Arameans built a temple here for Hadad, the god of storms and lightening. A basalt orthostat dating from this period, depicting a sphinx, has been discovered in the northeast corner of the mosque. In the early first century AD, the Romans arrived and built a massive temple to Jupiter over the Aramean temple.
The Roman temple stood upon a rectangular platform temenos that measured about meters by meters, with square towers at each corner.
Damascus is a city with a storied history, but still full of life, where street vendors flaunt their wares whilst men in business suits walk past.
Reliefs from Tel Halaf dating to the Aramean kingdom of Bit Bahiani Around the 14th century BC, various Semitic peoples appeared in the area, such as the semi-nomadic Suteans who came into an unsuccessful conflict with Babylonia to the east, and the West Semitic speaking Arameans who subsumed the earlier Amorites. They too were subjugated by Assyria and the Hittites for centuries. The Egyptians fought the Hittites for control over western Syria; the fighting reached its zenith in BC with the Battle of Kadesh.
From this point, the region became known as Aramea or Aram. There was also a synthesis between the Semitic Arameans and the remnants of the Indo-European Hittites , with the founding of a number of Syro-Hittite states centered in north central Aram Syria and south central Asia Minor modern Turkey , including Palistin , Carchemish and Sam’al. From these coastal regions they eventually spread their influence throughout the Mediterranean , including building colonies in Malta , Sicily, the Iberian peninsula modern Spain and Portugal , the coasts of North Africa, and most significantly, founding the major city state of Carthage in modern Tunisia in the 9th century BC which was much later to become the center of a major empire, rivaling the Roman Empire.
The Assyrians introduced Imperial Aramaic as the lingua franca of their empire. This language was to remain dominant in Syria and the entire Near East until after the Arab Islamic conquest in the 7th and 8th centuries AD, and was to be a vehicle for the spread of Christianity. Assyrian domination ended after the Assyrians greatly weakened themselves in a series of brutal internal civil wars, followed by an attacking coalition of their former subject peoples; the Medes , Babylonians , Chaldeans , Persians , Scythians and Cimmerians.
During the fall of Assyria, the Scythians ravaged and plundered much of Syria. During this period, Syria became a battle ground between Babylonia and another former Assyrian colony, that of Egypt. The Babylonians, like their Assyrian relations, were victorious over Egypt.
Early settlement[ edit ] Carbon dating at Tell Ramad , on the outskirts of Damascus, suggests that the site may have been occupied since the second half of the seventh millennium BC, possibly around B C. The Damascus region, as well as the rest of Syria, became a battleground circa BC, between the Hittites from the north and the Egyptians from the south,  ending with a signed treaty between Hattusili and Ramesses II where the former handed over control of the Damascus area to Ramesses II in BC.
However, these events had contributed to the development of Damascus as a new influential center that emerged with the transition from the Bronze Age to the Iron Age.
Language Arabic is the official language.
It is one of the oldest cities in the Middle East. In the Middle Ages , it was the center of a flourishing craft industry, specializing in swords and lace. The city has some monuments from different periods of its history—one of the most spectacular is the eighth-century Great Mosque of the Umayyads , built on the site of an Assyrian sanctuary. The key criteria for its selection as a World Heritage site, were that Damascus: It lies on a plateau feet above sea-level.
The old city of Damascus, enclosed by the city walls, lies on the south bank of the Barada River. To the southeast, north, and northeast, Damascus is surrounded by suburban areas whose history stretches back to the Middle Ages: Midan in the southwest, Sarouja and Imara in the north and northwest. These districts originally arose on roads leading out of the city, near the tombs of religious figures. Satellite image of Damascus, with Umaween Square just above the center.
The Barada River can be seen entering the picture in the upper-left corner, and the western half of the old city is in the center of the right-hand edge of the photograph. In the nineteenth century, outlying villages developed on the slopes of Jabal Qasioun overlooking the city, on the site of the Salihiyye district centered around the important shrine of Sheikh Muhi al-Din ibn Arabi.
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Early settlement[ edit ] Carbon dating at Tell Ramad , on the outskirts of Damascus, suggests that the site may have been occupied since the second half of the seventh millennium BC, possibly around BC. The Damascus region, as well as the rest of Syria, became a battleground circa BC, between the Hittites from the north and the Egyptians from the south,  ending with a signed treaty between Hattusili and Ramesses II where the former handed over control of the Damascus area to Ramesses II in BC.
However, these events contributed to the development of Damascus as a new influential center that emerged with the transition from the Bronze Age to the Iron Age. Nicolaus of Damascus , in the fourth book of his History, says thus: Now the name of Abraham is even still famous in the country of Damascus; and there is shown a village named from him, The Habitation of Abraham.
The United Nations estimates that about , people have been killed in fighting so far, with millions displaced by the conflict.
But despite the looming U. From its ancient cities to the current conflict, here are five cultural facts about Syria. The Syrians About 23 million people live in Syria, and the majority of those people, about 74 percent, are Sunni Muslims. Another 12 percent of the population is made up of Alawites, a sect of Shia Muslims. Despite being a minority, Alawites have dominated the government for decades; President Bashar al-Assad is an Alawite.
About 10 percent of the population is Christian, and another small percentage is made up of Druze, a mystical religious sect with elements common to several monotheistic religions. Amazing Ruins of the Ancient World ] Whereas most people in Syria speak Arabic, about 9 percent of the population — mostly in the northeast — speak Kurdish. Ancient history Syria has been a cradle of civilization for at least 10, years.
Photographs by Erin Trieb The Convert Tania Joya had been married to a jihadist from Texas for ten years, but she was tired of living like a nomad and unnerved by his increasingly extreme ideology. When he dragged their family to war-torn Syria, she knew it was time to get out. November by Abigail Pesta Photographs by Erin Trieb Late on an August night in , Tania Joya found herself stranded with her husband and three young sons in a Turkish city not far from the border with Syria.
The site originally had been the Christian Cathedral of St.
Syria’s first lady — The first lady walks in downtown Beirut, Lebanon, on March 8, Hide Caption 8 of 31 Photos: Hide Caption 9 of 31 Photos: Syria’s first lady Syria’s first lady — The first lady attends an Arab women and war conference on March 8, , in Beirut, Lebanon. Hide Caption 10 of 31 Photos: Hide Caption 11 of 31 Photos: Hide Caption 12 of 31 Photos: Hide Caption 13 of 31 Photos: Syria’s first lady Syria’s first lady — The Syrian first lady waves under a portrait of her husband, right, and his late father, former President Hafez al-Assad, during the opening ceremony of the Syrian Special Olympics in Damascus, Syria, on May 15, Hide Caption 14 of 31 Photos: