Historic Sites in Syria

Historic Sites in Syria, Middle East

Syria Historic Sites

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What travelers are saying

  • Jane H
    Macclesfield, UK44 contributions
    Still a remarkable place with so much history. You can see damage around the buildings outside snd there is damage in the citadel but still worth a visit snd hopefully in time dome of the damage can be restored. Aleppo is perfectly safe in May 22. Please support the Syrian people in building tourism again
    Written May 20, 2022
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
  • Mathias S
    333 contributions
    Originally this place was called Sahyun, meaning "Zion", but, after the conflict with Israel, this name could not stay and it was renamed "The Fortress of Saladin", although the old name functions somewhere, and thus I've seen there, for example, a "Zionist Bakery" etc.

    It is located in the wood-covered mountains of the coast of Syria, and you can reach it by a mini-bus from Latakia.

    It was mentioned as a fort handed over to the Byzantine emperor by a Christian secretary of a Muslim ruler. The secretary was called Kulayb. The oldest part of the fortress is in the middle. It was much expanded by the crusaders, and conquered by Saladin.

    The fortress is very big, built in white stone. It is separated from the rest of the hill by a mote carved through it, in stone, with a stone pillar remaining to support the gate to the entrance (as in Edessa - Sanliurfa, but better preserved). The walls encompass a large space, but most of the buildings are closer to the moat, the rest is just walls with trees, bushes etc inside.
    Among the buildings there is a Muslim court. Some towers. Impressive water cisterns. Etc.

    While not as impressive as Crac des Chevaliers, it is probably better than Al-Marqab.

    Unlike the rest of Syria, the coast of Syria is often showered by rain, so take an umbrella, just in case.

    I've been there twice.
    Written April 13, 2019
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
  • megaadventures
    adelaide2 contributions
    the ruins are still there and mostly in tact. The city itself didn't fare so well but hoping they can get back on their feet in the very near future
    Written December 5, 2019
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
  • Mathias S
    333 contributions
    While the monasticism started in Egypt, Syria was an early follower. St Simon the Elder's (late 4th-first half of 5th century) innovation was that he stood on a pillar for many years. He attracted much attention. Pilgrims would gather under the pillar and ask him for a benediction, so Theodoret of Cyrrhus compared it to a lighthouse attracting ships from far away. People would sell minatures of the pillar of St Simon even in far-away places of the Roman Empire.

    After his death, his pillar was surrounded by a great cross-shaped building, including a church and 3 houses for the pilgrims. It was allegedly the biggest religious building of its time. Monks would live nearby too.

    The monastery was destroyed at least twice in 11th century, during the fights between Byzantium and the Muslims of Aleppo. The monks were slaughtered and I'm not sure if it recovered after it.

    In any case, the place was later on used as a citadel, hence its current name.

    The decorations are quite nice. I was most impressed by the capitels of the pillars which are like leaves moved by a wind.

    It is located on the border with Turkey, and to get there from Aleppo is not completely easy, but managable.

    On the way from Antioch to this place there's, still in Syria, the church in "Qalb Lozeh", ruined, but still nice.

    There used to be another stylite, St Simon the Younger, and his place is located in Turkey already.
    Written April 13, 2019
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
  • Mathias S
    333 contributions
    Aleppo was an important city from very early days, and a capital of several Muslim states since half of 10th century.

    The Old Town is worth a visit mostly for the citadel with the magnificent Mamluk-era gate.
    The Umayyad Mosque is quite nice, although it lost its original mosaic decoration when it was burnt by the Byzantines, and the 11-th century minaret collapsed during the recent civil war.
    The bazaar (souq) is very nice, with covered narrow lanes and a lot to buy: materials, clothes, but mostly the famous natural soap of Aleppo. Interestingly, the spices' sellers sometimes form the spices inside glass in different patterns, like, for example, the flag of Lebanon etc. There are good goldsmiths all around the city, often Armenians. I value my silver cross from there, just like my wooden boxes covered in pearl mass. Sadly, the bazaar was damaged during the civil war.
    The city walls are extant on in many places, with some nice gates remaining. But not everywhere.
    There are some old churches and mosques, but most of them are not very interesting.
    Written April 13, 2019
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
  • Africa Eddie
    Sydney, Australia9,633 contributions
    I spent four days in the city of the ancients and loved it. There is so much history and the people are great. No sign of any previous conflict and I happily walked the streets alone at times and at night.
    The city is vibrant at night and gives a hint of what it must have been like before the war.
    I visited many places in the old city but outside this was the Chapel of St Paul, a convent built behind the section of wall where he was lowered down the wall to make his escape.
    Damascus is fantastic - go on you know you want to visit.
    Written June 1, 2019
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
  • M7ammad_I
    Damascus, VA4 contributions
    when you feel that it's time to relax and have fun among lovely, kind, simple people you have to visit this small mediterranean city.
    Dont miss to taste the worldwide best KNAFEH "Mreish or Ghazalat", Then to have Shishah on one of many Cafes at the charming KORNICH " the costal street ".
    Be sure in the very next early morning to visit the ROMANIAN THEATER and SULTAN IBRAHIM MOSQUE, Then to drive towards the mountains of JABLEH where you will find the pure nature, you can start from the springs of WADI AL QELE and if you are intersted to look down to see the clouds, just go to the village of BEIT YASHOOT where you will find the best rural resturants, Don't miss to order TANNOUR bread and the unforgetable BURGHUL. It'll not be easy, but you have to leave early in order to have sufficient time for swimming on the gorgeous beach ALSHQAIFAT
    Written July 16, 2014
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
  • Aslanooo
    Dubai, United Arab Emirates2 contributions
    The oasis settlement now named, Shahba, had been the native hamlet of Philip the Arab. After Philip became the emperor of Rome in 244 CE, he dedicated himself to rebuilding the little community as a colonia. The contemporary community that was replaced with the new construction was so insignificant that one author states that the city can be considered to have been built on virgin soil, making it the last of the Roman cities founded in the East.[1]

    The city was renamed Philippopolis in dedication to the emperor. The emperor is said to have wanted to turn his native city into a replica of Rome herself. A hexagonal-style temple and an open-air place of worship of local style, called a kalybe, a triumphal arch, baths, a starkly unornamented theatre faced with basalt blocks,[2] a large structure that has been interpreted as a basilica, and the Philippeion (illustration, right) surrounded by a great wall with ceremonial gates,[3] were laid out and built following the grid plan of a typical Roman city.
    Written March 21, 2013
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
  • gammeldansk80
    Flensburg, Germany127 contributions
    Nice village 600 m above sea level, a little cooler than sticky Lattakia in summer, situated right next to the turkish border. Armenian majority in the village, which is probably why everything's tidy... Try to go up the Mount Cassius (Djebel Kassioun), the summit is on the turkish side, but you'll be able to enjoy the view southwards, on clear days, you can spot Lattakia and Tartous. Try also to go to Samra, just south of the border on the coast, there is a cafe overlooking the bay and the border, the place is gorgeous. But you'll need a guide for Mt. Cassius and Samra.
    Written May 31, 2013
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
  • rwyhuang
    Toronto, Canada512 contributions
    Saladin Citadel is this breathtaking castle that incorporates details from various periods - crusader, Franco-influence, Muslim occupation - and so evokes lots of historic detailing. It is hidden in between the greenest mountain forests overlooking expansive valleys. The castle is enchanting to walk through - all the way up to the terrace where you get the best views. This was a joy to visit.
    Written September 8, 2019
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
  • Mathias S
    333 contributions
    Located not that far away from the Umayyad Mosque, this mosque houses the tomb of sayyida Ruqayya, the daughter of Al-Husayn, the granddaughter of Ali and Fatima, who was the daughter of the prophet Muhammad.

    It is decorated inside, apparently not that long ago, by Iranian-like ceramic and mirror covering. Overly decorative and colourful, but impressive.

    The people there are nice, and you get some nuts etc in the evening at Ramadan.

    Women have to cover themselves tightly, but they receive a temporary black cover to achieve that.
    Written April 13, 2019
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
  • Mathias S
    333 contributions
    Busra (Bostra) was a Nabatean city and later the Roman capital of the province of Arabia. It was never really important later on, apart from some temporary importance under Ayyubids I think.

    The ruins are in black stone, which makes it a bit gloomy. The ruins include, typically, lots of collumns, but also some churches (including a church attributed to a monk Buhayra / Bahira, who allegedly predicted to Muhammad he'd become a prophet)
    There are some mosaics, but not great, a nice gate, and, above all,
    the theatre, which was turned into a fortress. It is very well preserved and high, with some lighter collumns behind the scene, there's a nice view from it too.
    There's also one of the first mosques outside Arabia, although not so beautiful and I don't think it's in the same form as it used to be.
    Written April 13, 2019
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
  • rwyhuang
    Toronto, Canada512 contributions
    Palmyra is breathtaking in magnitude despite destruction from the war. You feel so small walking through the various procession streets, taking in all the columns and the ancient structures. There is so much history here. The neighbouring museum and the old booming tourist town is completely destructed, but is undergoing restoration. As it is still a military zone, guards will escort you through the site. There is very little shade so bring water, sunscreen and maybe a hat.
    Written September 10, 2019
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
  • THOMASFROMDAMASCUS
    Damascus, Syria3,325 contributions
    The old village of Maaloula is still one of the only towns in the world that the local inhabitants still speak Aramaic, the language of Jesus.
    Maaloula is located northeast of Damascus at an altitude of 1,600 meters or about 5,000 feet under the mountainous region of Qalamoun. The village of Maaloula is isolated and naturally protected, which may largely explain its inhabitants’ continuing adherence to Christianity and the Aramaic language. In Aramaic language Ma’lula means: ‘entrance’ or ‘passage’ and this is well noted as there is a narrow passageway between two steep mountains.
    The majority of the village houses were built on these steep slopes of the two mountains, thus making Maaloula a very picturesque and beautiful village to visit.
    There is a famous Greek Orthodox Convent and a Roman Catholic Monastery up on the top of the hill above the city for anyone to visit.
    Unfortunately the only large hotel has been destroyed during the Syrian Civil conflict. Nevertheless Maaloula is a very interesting town to visit.
    Maaloula also has a nice restaurant for one to enjoy a great lunch or dinner after you complete your touring of this great old city of Maaloula. Trust me you will enjoy yourself while visiting this old and very historic village.
    Written August 2, 2020
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
  • Mathias S
    333 contributions
    Originally Tartus was Antarados, a city vis-a-vis Arados island. It was in ruins when Byzantine emperor Basil the Bulgar-Slayer captured it. Its better-known history start when Raymond of Tolouse (St Gilles) captured it in early 11th century. It was thus the main city of the crusaders' county of Tripoli, before the Tripoli itself was captured, several years later. At a point it was temporily a capital of an independant crusader county. It was called Tortosa back then.

    While another Syrian port, Latakia, is devoid of crusader remains, there are a few in Tartus. There's a crusader-era cathedral, later turned into a mosque. Not very interesting, covered in pigeon poo. But nice. There's a reasonably cheap hotel ran by an Orthodox guy in front of it.
    There's some palace on the shore, and in the city you can see some building doors etc in a Gothic style. In one place there's a large Gothis ceiling with modern buildings springing next to it.
    There's some mosque on the shore which allegedly used to be a church, but it can not be seen.

    In general, although the city seemed neglected, I enjoyed it. Much better than Latakia.
    Written April 13, 2019
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.