Syria – the great cultural land and land of the Bible
Syria, the former beautiful country between the Mediterranean and the former Mesopotamia, presented itself to the visitor before the war with a varied landscape, colorful, lively cities and the traces of an eventful and exciting history that are still visible everywhere. The state, which was only founded in the previous century, is part of the cultural area in which the first human settlements were recorded. In ancient times, Syria was an important part of the Silk Road.
According to Christian tradition, in Damascus the fanatical persecutor of Christians Paul, in Hebrew Saul (around 10 to around 68), became a believing Christian. The conversion, which he himself described as a revelation with the risen Christ, took place around the year 38. (Acts 22: 5-16; 26, 12-18).
So far, Syria has been spared from mass tourism. The country and the people have therefore retained much of their originality. A disadvantage for European travelers may be that only a few Syrians can speak, write or read languages other than Arabic, and that all signs in the country are exclusively in Arabic. In the end, however, it will always be possible to find the way to the goal, and for a longer search you will be rewarded with a wealth of extraordinary impressions.
There has been an armed uprising against the Assad regime since March 2011, which of course makes any kind of visits impossible or life-threatening.
At the beginning of 2017, over half of the people inside and outside the country were on the run and over 100,000 had died as a result of the civil war. In addition, large parts of the country are in ruins
|Name of the country||Syrian Arab Republic|
|Form of government||Presidential Republic|
|Geographical location||Asia, Middle East|
|National anthem||Humat ad-Diyar|
|Population||previously 21 million (Credit: Countryaah: Syria Population)|
|Ethnicities||Arabs (approx. 90%), Kurds, Armenians and others (approx. 10%)|
|Religions||Sunni Muslims (72%)Alawites
|Highest mountain||Jabal Ash-Shaykh (Mt. Hermon) with a height of 2,814 m|
|Longest river||Nahr al-Furad (Euphrates) with a length in the country of 680 km|
|Largest lake||Al-Assad with a size of 674 km²|
|International license plate||SYR|
|National currency||SYP (Syrian Pound)|
|Time difference to CET||+ 1h|
|International phone code||00963|
|Mains voltage, frequency||220 V and 50 Hz|
|Internet TLD (Top Level Domain)||.sy|
Until the 19th century
Archaeological finds in the part of the world that is now called Syria prove that the first human life dates back to the Stone Age. The first city in this area is Ebla, near what is now Aleppo. The first settlers, as is believed today, were Ugarites (around 4000 BC).
According to Abbreviationfinder website, between 2500 and 2400 BC A large Semitic empire included the land between the Red Sea, Turkey and Mesopotamia. Around 250,000 people lived in Ebla at this time; The settlement of Damascus also began around this time. Around 1800 BC, Qatna was established as the capital of an Aramaic city kingdom. The first king was Ischchi-Addu. The gigantic defensive walls and the palace were built under him. Qatna was south of Aleppo near the Mediterranean Sea and at the intersection of a number of caravan routes. Around 1340 under their King Idanda the city was stormed and destroyed. After 1500 BC BC Syria was taken over by the Egyptians, Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians and Macedonians ruled. And 63 BC It was incorporated into the Roman Empire, after its collapse it belonged to Byzantium and was conquered by the Arabs six hundred years later.
Christianity spread a little later in Palestine and soon gained influence in Syria. Paul is said to have converted from Jewish to Christianity on a trip to Damascus and then founded the first church in Syria.
Under the rule of the Omayyad dynasty, whose influence reached from Spain to India, Damascus was the capital of the Islamic Caliphate from 661 to the middle of the 8th century; most of the population converted to Islam. The previously close connection to the Christian-dominated area of today’s Lebanon was broken. When the Omayyads were defeated by the Abassids, Baghdad became their new capital. Around 1100 part of Syria fell to the Kingdom of Jerusalem. Saladin ruled from 1174 to 1184, around 1250 the Egyptian Mameluks conquered the country. Parts were controlled by the crusaders from the 11th to the end of the 13th century. At the end of the 1st millennium AD, Syria was conquered by the Egyptians, whose rule lasted until 1516. Then the country fell to the Ottoman Empire.
From 1798 to 1799 Napoleón I of France invaded Egypt and temporarily conquered parts of Syria. In 1831 the Egyptians took Syria again and ruled it for only eight years before they had to leave it again under pressure from the British and Austrians. After the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869, Syria lost its importance as an important economic hub.
20th century until today
In 1918 Faysal ibn al-Husayn al-Hashimi, son of the Sherif of Mecca, succeeded in taking power; He proclaimed the Kingdom of Greater Syria in 1920, but only a short time later the entire Middle Eastern region came under the control of British and Arab troops. Syria and Lebanon were controlled by the French, Palestine and Jordan by the British. After the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, the war for Palestine began, which was lost by the community of Arab states.
After a coup in 1954, a military dictatorship was established in Syria. In 1958, Egypt and Syria united to form the United Arab Republic, which, however, fell apart again three years later. The Syrian Arab Republic was then founded. The Ba’ath Party had dominated the country since 1963. In 1967 Syria took part in the “6-day war” against Israel and lost the Golan Heights to Israel.
In 1970 Abu Sulayman Hafez al-Assad became prime minister, and a year later became president.
In 1973 Syrian troops were involved in the Yom Kippur War, and from 1976 in the war in Lebanon.
In 1983, between 20,000 and 30,000 people were killed in the city of Hama in the course of the fight against the Muslim Brotherhood. The events went down in history as the Hama massacre. The brother of the then president – Rifaat al-Assad – who later found exile in London was responsible for this.
In 1986 the UK and US accused Syria of supporting international terrorism; both countries then withdrew their ambassadors.
In 1991 Syrian troops took part in the 1st Gulf War against theIraq part.
In 1994, Assad’s eldest son, Basil, who was to take over the government, was the victim of a traffic accident.
Hafez al-Assad ruled the country until his death in 2000, when he was succeeded by his son Bashar. Among other things, he had completed training as an ophthalmologist in the USA. He began with the modernization and liberalization of the country and allowed, for example, the use of the Internet.
In 2003, Israel bombed an area near Damascus that allegedly housed a jihad training camp, which Syria strictly rejected. In 2004 Syria began withdrawing its troops from Lebanon.
On February 14, 2005, the former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri (1944 – 2005) was the victim of a terrorist attack in Beirut. According to the results of the Berlin chief public prosecutor Detlev Mehlis (born 1949), who was commissioned by the UN to investigate the situation, the Syrian secret service was also involved in the attack.
From around March 2011 popular uprisings also broke out in Syria, but these were brutally shot down by the military, the secret service and the police, leaving around 1,300 dead and over 10,000 arrests.
In August 2013, around 2 million people fled abroad as a result of the civil war and around 100,000 were killed. Large parts of the country are in ruins. After on 21./22. August over 1,000 people died as a result of the use of poison gas (sarin), an attack occurred on.