Our experience tells us that the perceptions that we have about most of the places around the world prove wrong for the most of the time. Take Syria for example, now the perception that we got form the media about this ancient country was one filled with terrorists and religious zealots but if you ever get a chance to talk to a person who have visited Syria, his view will be contrary to what the media has to say about this historically rich country. The Syrians are one of the friendliest and most liberal people of Middle East and there have been no reported incidents where the foreign tourists were harmed or harassed in any way by the locals. Even with the recent turmoil in the country’s northern parts, Syria has remained safe for the tourists.
There is a lot of sightseeing to be done if you choose Syria as your destination starting with the capital Damascus. But the premier attraction for the tourists visiting Syria has always been the historical city of Aleppo. Though both Damascus and Aleppo or Halab as it is known in the country has competed for the title of the oldest continuously inhabited city of the world but according to most historians Aleppo is the true winner of the title may be by a small margin. The city has remained a major trade center in the region for millenniums; there are enough ruins of Roman era to prove that Aleppo was a major city in that era. The recent archaeological finds have even proved a small settlement in the area that dates back to the Bronze Age.
Aleppo has its own airport and you can find a cheap flight to Aleppo from Europe with regional airlines like Qatar Airways and Turkish Airline but if you want to travel with a European carrier then there is none flying directly to Aleppo. Instead you can take a cheap flight to Damascus with the BMI, Air France, Virgin Atlantic or Lufthansa and then get a local connecting flight to Aleppo. The city is a tourism hotspot so you’ll easily find an accommodation according to your taste and budget.
Aleppo was a key spot on the trading route of Silk Road and you will still find the pretty much the same atmosphere in its bazaars that has been a symbol of Aleppo for centuries. The labyrinthine streets of the city are filled with all kinds of shops selling every thing from daily grocery items to some hi tech electronics equipment. A tour of these bazaars will provide you a great opportunity to understand the culture of the city. The huge investments never arrived in the city because of the sanctions that were pressed on Syria so no sky scrapers here, which is a good thing in a sense that it has helped to preserve the city in its true colors. The old city of Aleppo has been made a world heritage site and will be the highlight of your stay in the city. It has the architecture from the medieval era and gives you a feel of the Muslim art of that era through the calligraphy on its walls.
If you travel just outside the city you will witness many dead cities dotting the landscape, these are the ruins of ancient settlements from the Roman and early Muslim era that were abandoned because of either a natural calamity or because of the continuous wars that this area faced through out its history. A tour to any one of these cities will be a memorable experience.