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Friday, April 15, 2005 

More tourists visiting Syria

The number of tourists visiting Syria is up again. 1.2 million visitors entered Syria between January and March this year - that's a 5% rise.

Syria attracts visitors from around the world. It has sites preserved from many periods of history - Syria's a living history text book.

In Palmyra, there are the remains of the ancient Roman capital. Immaculately preserved columns and castles.

Damascus is the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world. Its mosque is one of the holiest sites in Islam, but the main prayer hall has a shrine to John the Baptists, where Muslims and Christians stand side by side in prayer, men and women pray in the same hall. Men and women have walked through the same souks just outside the mosque for millenia.

The Crusader castle in Krak de Chavaliers is said to be the most incredible in the world. There are other Crusader castles dotted around the country.

In the south the almost perfect black rock Roman Ampitheatre is still the scene of biannual performances in Bosra.

Syria is the only country where I've come across foreigners who are almost always living there by accident. Nearly every single one of them intended to stay for a month or six months but ended up staying long beyond then. That's the magic of Damascus.

Has Syria's recent newsworthiness attracted or dissuaded more people to visit?

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Your blog is very interesting, i just found it !

Keep it up

//Azad

Thanks Azad, keep on enjoying, and keep on commenting!

Accourding to the minister of tourism and official figures, tourists reached 3 millions in 2004, I think you are refering to the first quarter of this year, where there was 1.2 million visitors - 5% rise from last year, and over 600,000 tourists with approx %25 rise from last year.

regards

How do they count the tourists?

Thanks anonymous you are right - I've made that a bit more clear on the post now. But I didn't understand what you mean by a 25% increase?

Praktike, they estimate the number of tourists by the number of visa applications, the number of foreigners crossing the border and the number of hotel bookings.

So it may be the case that Iraqi refugees are considered "tourists." Personally speaking, I would love to visit Damascus. I hear it's only $200 to fly from Cairo.

700,000 Iraqis have entered Syria since the war, and they get very different treatment at the border to any other citizen. they are questioned and delayed more than anyone else.

The Syrian government keeps a close eye on Iraqis and Palestinians inside its borders, so I don't think they;d be considered tourists.

Just like any country, diplomats, refguees, business-people would be subtracted from the tourist figures.

Are you in Cairo Praktike? It's even cheaper by bus! You could stay overnight in Amman. From Europe its only $600. Flights inside Syria are incredibly cheap: $19 from Damascus to Aleppo!

If you need any more persuasion to visit Damascus have a look at Ayman's incredible photos.

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  • Written by sasa
  • From Damascus, Syria
  • From Damascus to London via Beirut. Based in and out of the central Damascene hamlet of Saroujah. News and feelings from the streets every day. I'm talking rubbish? Leave a comment. Welcome to the information democracy. See below for info about this site.
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