Syria Holidays, Events, Climate and Sightseeing

Syria: Holidays, Events, and National Customs

Public holidays

Date Holiday
January 1 New Year
6th January Armed Forces Day
8th of March Revolution anniversary
17th April National holiday
20th of April Birth of the Prophet Mohammed
1st of May Labor Day
May 6 Martyrs Day
17th July Baath Revolution Day

Source: Countryaah – Syria Holidays

The Islamic Festival of Sacrifice and Islamic Lent (Ramadan), which ends with the festival of the breaking of the fast, are based on the lunar cycle; the data are therefore changeable. The duration of the festival also depends on the moon; they can last up to ten days.

Regular cultural events

Date Event
April Homs music festival
May International women’s cultural festival with the participation of artists from many countries (visual arts, photography, digital art, dance, music, literature) in Aleppo
May Flower Festival in Damascus
May June Palmyra Festival with musical and theatrical performances, camel and horse races and arts and crafts market.
July Cotton Festival in Aleppo
August A music and theater festival is held every two years in the Bosra amphitheater.
September International Silk Road Festival (various locations, including Damascus, Palmyra, Aleppo) with music, dance, theater, arts and crafts exhibitions, gastronomy
October Film festival in Damascus (every two years), art and culture festival in Homs

Regular sporting events


International rally in Damascus under the auspices of the Syrian Automobile Club.

Special national customs

As in all Islamic countries, the following applies: women should not dress too revealingly, men should not walk through the city in shorts. The same applies, of course, to visiting churches and mosques. Mosques can only be entered without shoes, and headgear is compulsory for women. During Ramadan, Islamic Lent, Muslims are not allowed to eat, drink or smoke from sunrise to sunset. Many restaurants and shops are therefore closed during the day. The fasting requirement does not apply in hotels and not for tourists; tourists should also refrain from smoking in public.

Exchanging caresses in public is considered strange and should therefore be avoided.

Water pipes are smoked in many coffee houses, in some places also by women.

It is strictly forbidden to take photographs of military installations.

It is often problematic that only a few Syrians speak English or French and most of them cannot read the Latin script either. Since the western visitor is usually not able to pronounce Arabic words understandably, it is advisable to have the destination written down in Arabic before going on an excursion, for example in the hotel, and then give this to the taxi or bus driver.

It should be emphasized that the Syrians are exceptionally friendly and hospitable people who are very open-minded and interested in foreign visitors.

Syria: climate

The best time to travel to Syria

The ideas of what is meant by a particularly favorable travel climate depend on a number of factors. For example, cultural travelers see the climate very differently than people who want to spend a pure beach holiday, for example. The state of health or age can also play an important role. Therefore, our travel time recommendations are divided into the following two categories:

For people who are

more used to the


Syria is a large country with different climatic conditions in the different areas. For people who like to enjoy a lot of sun and for whom higher temperatures do not cause problems, the following seasons for a stay are e.g. B. particularly suitable in Damascus and the surrounding area: May to October.

For people who prefer a moderate climate

People who prefer a moderate climate and lower temperatures should better use the following seasons for a stay in Damascus and the surrounding area: March/April, November.

Climate table

The following table shows a number of weather and climate data for the country.

Month Average number of rainy days Mean maximum temperatures in (°C) Mean minimum temperatures in (°C)
January 06-08 11-13 01-03
February 05-07 13-15 03-05
March 01-03 17-19 04-06
April 02-04 23-25 08-10
May at 01 28-30 12-14
June at 0 32-34 15-17
July at 0 35-37 17-19
August at 0 36-38 17-19
September 01-03 32-34 15-17
October 01-03 26-28 11-13
November 04-06 18-20 07-09
December 04-06 12-14 03-05

Syria: Sightseeing

UNESCO World Heritage Sites


In the course of the (civil) war in Syria, according to the UN, over 290 cultural assets have already been damaged or destroyed, including UNESCO World Heritage sites. In addition, large parts of the country (as of 2018) are in ruins and there is still war.


Damascus, is one of the oldest still populated cities in the world. It is documented that it was first mentioned in 1470 BC BC – on a hieroglyphic tablet. The main attraction is the Omayyad Mosque. In AD 705, when Damascus was the capital of the Islamic Empire, the Omayyad caliph al-Walid ibn Abdul Malek had it built. Before that there was a temple at the same place, then a church in the 4th century. The construction of the mosque took about ten years; it was recently completely renovated. An interesting detail is the three minarets, each of which looks different. The ruins of the old city of Damascus were inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1979.

In 1574 Darwish Pasha had the Souk al-Harir built next to the Umayyad Mosque. Here you can buy clothes, embroidered fabrics and perfumes. In the middle of the souk is the al-Quishani, an old bath, one of countless public baths in Damascus. In the immediate vicinity are the Abdallah al-Azem-Madrassat (school), which was built in 1779 during the Ottoman period and now houses various shops, and the particularly beautiful Nureddin ibn Zenki mosque from 1173. In the Souq Midhat Pasha, Built in 1887, there are local textiles and silk fabrics as well as copper and silver goods. In one of the side streets of this souk you will find the Maktab Anbar House, the most beautiful Damascus house from the 19th century. It is notable for its colored glass windows, large ornate halls and richly painted ceilings and is now a cultural center. There are some beautiful churches to visit nearby, including the Byzantine Hananiya Church.

In the Souk Al-Saghahexclusively jewelry is sold, mostly handmade and in all variations, also gold and silver with pearls and diamonds, rings, earrings, wedding rings, chains, bracelets and accessories In the Souk al-Bzourieh there are fruits, herbs and spices and confectionery. There is also a public bath in this souk. It is claimed that it has been in continuous operation since the 12th century.

The Sayda Zaynab Shrine can be visited about 10 km south of Damascus. Its interior is decorated with gold and silver and ornate chandeliers. Sayda Zayab was the granddaughter of the Prophet Mohammed; their shrine is visited daily by hundreds of pilgrims from all over the Islamic world.

The Old City of Damascus was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1979. You can find a detailed description of Damascus here >>> at goruma.

Crac des Chevaliers and Qal’at Salah El-Din

The Crac des Chevaliers, called Hisn al-Akrad by the Arabs and Crac of the Knights by the English, is the most important crusader castle in Syria. TE Lawrence, better known as “Lawrence of Arabia”, called it the best preserved and most admirable castle in the world. It is located on a mountain cliff at an altitude of over 600 meters between Homs and Tartus and is the easternmost of a series of five castles. In the early 12th century it was still an Islamic fortress at that time, the construction of which dates back to 1031, and was handed over to the hospitallers (later the Order of St. John); they spent five decades with the redesign and created a masterpiece of cross-knightly architecture with an outer wall 30 m thick and seven watchtowers. The castle became the headquarters of the order in Syria. In 1271 the hospitaliers were driven out by the troops of the Mameluke Sultan Baybars. Edward I came to the area during the 9th Crusade and later used the Crac des Chevaliers as a model for his own castles in England. Today the Crac des Chevaliers is a famous tourist attraction. Crac des Chevaliers and Qal’at Salah El-Din were added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2006.

Palmyra ruins

The ancient oasis city of Palmyra was in the middle of the desert – surrounded by rocks. There were two sources there that made life possible. The city was on the caravan route between the central Euphrates and Damascus. The inscriptions found in palmyrene form testify to the city’s trade relations since the 1st century BC. BC, which made her rich quickly. The city was a Roman colony in the 1st century AD. After an uprising against the Romans, the city was destroyed but later rebuilt. Then in 636 the city became Muslim. The huge ruins show the architecture of the ancient city, and it influenced the classical architecture all over Europe. Most of the buildings date from the Roman Empire. B. the district of Baal with temples, porticos and Propylaea. There are numerous tower and temple-like buildings in the vicinity of the city. The ruins of Palmyra were inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1980.

Amphitheater and old town of Bosra

Bosra is located approx. 150 km south of Damascus in the Hawran Plain at the foot of the Jebel Drus Mountains. In the 14th century BC It was first mentioned in BC. Mohammed is said to have stopped here with his caravan and personally laid the foundation stone for the Islamization of the city. The city’s most interesting sight is the famous Roman theater from the 2nd century AD, with 37 rows of seats for 15,000 visitors. It is praised as one of the most beautiful and best preserved amphitheaters in the world. In the 11th century, the Roman theater was expanded into a citadel with palace buildings. With its columns and arches, it provides a dramatic backdrop for the Bosra music and theater festival that takes place here every year.

The amphitheater and old town of Bosra were added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1980

Aleppo Old Town

Aleppo is one of the oldest cities in the world. Sights include the Great Omayyad Mosque, the citadel, caravanserais and the old Christian quarter with houses from the 17th and 18th centuries. The Aleppo souk extends over 12 km2 and is said to be the largest in the world with its many shops, workshops and baths. Other places worth visiting are the National Museum, Al-Jami-al-Kabir Mosque and the Al-Bundugiah Consulate from the 15th century. The old town of Aleppo was added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1986.


During the civil war in Syria, the cultural assets in Aleppo were badly damaged or almost destroyed

Important places in the country


Aleppo has about 1,700,000 residents, making it the largest city in the country. The city is located in the north-west of the country about 40 km from the border with neighboring Turkey.

Bosra ash-Sham

About 110 km south of Damascus lies this place in a fertile plain, which once had a prominent position in trade. Bosra ash-Sham consists almost entirely of black basalt and is particularly impressive because of the best preserved Roman theater in the world.


Damascus as the cultural and religious center of the country has around 1,600,000 residents and is therefore the second largest city in Syria and the capital of the country. Damascus is located in southwest Syria approx. 25 km from the border with neighboring Lebanon and approx. 60 km from the border with Israel.


Homs has around 800,000 residents, making it the third largest city in Syria. Homs is located in the north-west of the country about 70 km from the Mediterranean coast. Hama Hama has a population of around 500,000, making it the fourth largest city in the country. Hama is located in the north-west of the country approx. 75 km from the Mediterranean coast.


Ma’loula is a small town about 50 km from Damascus at an altitude of over 1,500 m, which is famous above all for its houses “sticking” to rocks and for the fact that its residents still speak Aramaic, the almost extinct one Language of Jesus. Aramaic is also spoken in the two neighboring villages, Jaba’din and Naj’a. There are two monasteries in Ma’loula, while the monastery of St. Sergios has an interesting collection of icons from the 17th and 18th centuries. The other is a Greek Orthodox monastery dedicated to Saint Thekla. Allegedly she was a student of Paul; She is said to be buried on the mountain directly above the monastery.

Special buildings and historical structures

Al Bara pyramid tomb

In the remarkable Syrian dead city of Al-Bara, among other things, the sarcophagi of a large pyramid tomb can be seen.

Damascus train station

The really interesting old train station is on Hejahs Square and was built by the English in 1917. There are also various old steam locomotives that spread the charm of the earlier years.

Baltempel in Palmyra

The district of Baal with its temples, pillared halls and Propylaea goes back to the Roman Empire. The ruins of Palmyra were inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1980.

Saladin Mausoleum in Damascus

This is the final resting place of Salah al-Din, one of the greatest heroes in Arab history and relentless opponent of the 12th century crusaders. The mausoleum was already built in 1193. It is roofed with a red dome and was laid out in the middle of a pleasant garden outside the northern walls of the Umayyad Mosque.

Statue of Saladin in Damascus

Right next to the citadel is the great statue of Saladin. He was depicted on his horse. But what is really interesting about the statue are the two defeated Franconian knights who sit under the slightly lifted tail of the horse. One of them carries a sign with a lion on it. It is not difficult to see that Richard the Lionheart, King of England, was immortalized here with little credit.

Nu r ad-Din in Damascus

The Nur ad-Din is a bathhouse from the 12th century, which is located in the middle of the old town of Damascus. Here the guest is subjected to Taqschir, a kind of peeling in Arabic.

Clock tower of Aleppo

The Bab Al-Faraj – the clock tower of Aleppo – was built between 1898 and 1899. Its shape goes back to the Austrian architect Chartier.

Damascus Citadel

This almost completely intact citadel from the Ayyubid period is located in the northwest corner of the old town. The first building goes back to the time of the Roman emperor Diocletianus (284-305), but this was lost during the Islamic period. It was now the Seljuk leader Atsiz ben Uvak who, after taking Damascus in 1076, decided to build a citadel in the city. It was completed in 1095. The fortress was expanded under Nureddin Zengi and later his successor Saladin. Saladin is said to have even lived in the fortress – from 1176 to 1193. After the great earthquake of 1201/1202 a new fortress was built. After further earthquakes in the 18th century and considerable damage to the fortifications, it was Sultan Mustafa III who was able to complete the rebuilding by 1761.

In 2006 the citadel was finally opened to the public.

Citadel in Aleppo

The medieval citadel of Aleppo is called Saif al-Daula and is one of the city’s landmarks. The exceptional structure rises on a partially artificially created settlement hill. The current citadel dates from the 13th century and was unfortunately damaged as a result of an earthquake in 1822.


National Museum in Aleppo

The National Museum in Aleppo has an exhibition with many archaeological finds.

National Museum in Damascus

The facade of the museum was once the entrance to Qasr al-Hayr al-Ghabi, an ancient military camp. In the museum you can admire excellent collections of papyrs, statues, Damascene weapons, etc.

Maktab Anbar House

This beautiful Damascus house from the 19th century is on a side street from Souq Midhat Pasha. The building impresses with the large ornate halls, the colored windows and the richly designed ceilings. A cultural center is currently housed in this house.

Mosques and churches

Omayyad Mosque

The Omayyad Mosque is one of the most important religious sights in the country. In AD 705, when Damascus was the capital of the Islamic Empire, the Omayyad caliph al-Walid ibn Abdul Malek had it built. Before that there was a temple at the same place, then a church in the 4th century. The mosque took ten years to build; it was recently completely renovated. An interesting detail are the three minarets, each of which looks different.

Ananias Church/Damascus

This church refers to the healing of St. Paul from his blindness by Ananias (also Ananias). If one believes the religious tradition, then the church stands exactly where Paul is supposed to have lived after his conversion in Damascus – namely in the cellar of the house of Ananias. Probably the oldest Christian sacred building is about six meters deep underground. Nureddin ibn Zenki Mosque/Damascus This beautiful mosque is in the immediate vicinity of the Souq al-Harir. The Islamic house of worship was built in 1173.


Sayyida Zainab Mosque

About seven kilometers south of the center of Damascus is this beautiful mosque, which is named after the granddaughter of the Prophet. It should also be the one buried here. It is therefore understandable that the mosque, which was built in Iranian tradition, is an important pilgrimage site for devout Muslims.

Important universities

University of Damascus

The University of Damascus is the largest university in Syria. The state educational institution was founded in 1923, making it the oldest university in Syria. About 85,000 students are currently being trained at it. Around 2,000 scientific staff are employed here. The university is divided into 15 faculties. These are:

  • Faculty of Agricultural Sciences
  • Faculty of Architecture
  • Faculty of Civil Engineering
  • Faculty of Fine Arts
  • Faculty of Design
  • Faculty of Computer Science
  • Faculty of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering
  • Faculty of Medicine
  • Faculty of Dentistry
  • Faculty of Science
  • Faculty of Public Administration
  • Faculty of Education
  • Faculty of Pharmacy
  • Faculty of Law
  • Faculty of Sharia (Islamic Law)
  • Faculty of Economics

University of Aleppo

The University of Aleppo was founded in 1958. Its predecessor was a civil engineering faculty that had existed since 1946. There are currently around 60,000 enrolled students at this university. The university is divided into 12 faculties. These are:

  • Faculty of Agricultural Sciences
  • Faculty of Civil Engineering
  • Faculty of Human Sciences
  • Faculty of Medicine
  • Faculty of Modern Languages
  • Faculty of Science
  • Faculty of Education
  • Faculty of Pharmacy
  • Faculty of Law
  • Faculty of Veterinary Medicine
  • Faculty of Economics
  • Faculty of Dentistry

Other universities in Syria are the universities in Homs and Lattakia.

natural beauties


The river known as “Chrysorrhoas” in antiquity was also called Abana, Amana or “River of Gold”. The Barada, which has its origin in “Anti-Lebanon” (= mountain range between Jordan and Syria, northwest of Damascus) flows through the northern part of the Syrian capital, which in turn extends in the Barada Valley. The oasis of Damascus, the “Ghouta”, is watered by the river before it ends in a swamp. However, drinking water is no longer obtained from it.


Coming from Turkey, the Euphrates flows through Syria and further into Iraq, where it flows into the Persian Gulf at the Shatt al-Arab – the confluence with the Tigris – on the border between Iraq and Iran. The Euphrates is the largest river in the Middle East and has a length of around 3,380 km with its longer source river, the Murat, the second source river is the Karasu (black water). Both rivers have their source in Turkey in the mountains of eastern Anatolia. Both unite in the “Keban” dam and form the Euphrates, which is around 2,735 km long. legend has it that the garden of “Eden” was located here. In addition, the neighboring rivers Euphrates and Tigris are next to the Nile with the rivers with the oldest cultures on their banks or in their vicinity.


The Mediterranean – actually the “European Mediterranean” – stretches over approximately 2,500,000 km² between Europe, Asia and Africa. The “Strait of Gibraltar” connects it to the west (near Spain and Morocco) with the Atlantic Ocean. Connections exist via the Dardanelles, the Marmara Sea and the Bosphorus with the Black Sea and via the Suez Canal with the Red Sea. Damascus is about 90 km from the Mediterranean Sea – but Jordan is in between. Further north, Syria borders the Mediterranean Sea for around 150 km.

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