Here is an article I was working on after travelling to Syria ten years ago. I probably should have finished it and published soon after returning. Needless to say Syria is far from ready to accept visitors any time soon. Here was my impression of Syria in 2010.
Eat, Pray, Love…in Syria
There is a saying in Syria that goes:
“eat in Aleppo because they have the freshest kitchens, drink in Damascus because the water is good and marry from Homs because the most beautiful women in Syria are reputed to come from there.”
Well there is good food to be had in the main tourist areas throughout Syria, the water in Damascus is not so good nowadays and the president of Syria, President Bashar is married to a woman from Homs. As for the praying part take your pick. There is the Ummayad Mosque in Damascus, one of the world’s holiest, plus many other mosques and numerous Christian Churches carved into the mountains in Ma’alula where Aramaic, the language of Jesus and the original bible, is still spoken.
It is 2010 and the World Cup is on as evidenced by the display of the world flags of participating teams. Different cultures have passed this way for various reasons and Syria has even been called the ‘cradle of civilization’.
Syria was once a stop along the Silk Road yet things haven’t changed drastically. The caravans of camels have been replaced with busloads (small and few) of tourists; the trading route (i.e. Silk Road) is now the tourist trail; the trade of spices and silk have given way to souvenir shopping and obligatory haggling of prices; and the caravanserai, a rest stop for camels and traders, is now a hotel for travellers.
Syria is relatively inexpensive to travel in, has many important historic and religious sites and few tourists compared to the tourism mecca that is Egypt. And in my opinion, it is top contender for the best vegetarian food I have ever eaten when travelling.
Change in life is constant but there are some things in this world that have been sadly altered forever. If there is a place you would really like to travel to carpe diem and go before it is gone.