December 9th, 2010
Around Easter I made trip to Syria and Lebanon, two countries I had never visited before. I had been to Israel last year Christmas and really discovered the Middle East as a very surprising travel destination.
Of course you would be talking about an entire continent but it's often not talked about in a very positive way and somehow people tend to travel to other places more often.
That being said I planned my first trip to Syria and travelled there by myself just armed with my Lonely Planet in case of need and lots of good will, curiosity and enthusiasm to live a new travel adventure.
I stayed in Damascus, the capital city, but also visited Palmyra ( mayby I'll write a different blog about that) which is known for its ancient ruins and dramatic desert surroundings.
Damascus turned out to be a beautiful mixture between Arabic culture, markets and mosques on one side and an exploding Western metropolis on the other in Downtown Damascus where skyscrapers remind you of a booming real-estate sector.
However if you really want to experience the old and ancient Syria, Damascus is still filled with historic sites like the House of Saint Ananias, or Domus S. Ananiae, in the old Christian quarter of the city and where Paul the Apostle is believed to have been baptized.
Or a visit to the Umayyad Mosque, one of the most impressive mosques in the world and visited daily by tourists and locals alike. Also make sure to soak up the smell of the Arabic herbs and spices at the local markets and don't worry, they open at night as well!
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