• A Grand Khan

    Khan As'ad Basha is one of the oldest and finest khans in Damascus It was a center of trade between the 18th and the early 20th century where it hosted visiting caravans which came from numerous cities across the Middle East.

  • A new generation of an ancient tradition

    22 year old Anas learned the art of weaving Kilims from his uncle Yaser Saghrji, who is considerd a master of this craft in the old town of Damascus. After six years of aprenticeship, Anas opened his own shop next to his uncle’s and continaully searches for inspirations from old history books.

  • Some like it cool

    Established in 1895 Bakdash parlour gained popularity thanks to the unique taste of its ice cream, which is still hand made, and it is now a mandatory stop when visiting Damascus, both for private tourists and for official visitors like kings, presidents and ministers.



  • Aleppo, Syria: a cultural guide

    (The Telegraph) - According to Gail Simmons, the souk is the hub of the old city and has been since Aleppo was a major stopover within the Silk Road.

  • Embraced by the mountains

    Maaloula is located 56 km to the northeast of Damascus, and it is built into the rugged mountainside the Qalamoun mountain range. With two other nearby towns Bakh'a and Jubb'adin, Maaloula is the only place in the world where the Western branch of the Aramaic languages is still spoken by the locals.

  • Norias

    Hama is famous for its waterwheels 'Norias' on the Orontes river as the oldest legacy of civilization in the city prompting some historians to call it 'The City of Norias'.

  • On the road to Damascus: conversion of Saint Paul

    Saint Paul's conversion to Christianity, celebrated on Jan 25, took place according to the Acts of the Apostles [Acts 9:1-31], on the road to Damascus where he experienced a vision of the resurrected Jesus after which he was temporarily blind. The photo depicts a church dedicated to the Saint in Kokab village, close to Artouz (South-East of Damascus).

  • Syria nets $7.6 bn from 40% tourism spike in 2010

    (AFP) –  Syria's tourism industry boomed in 2010, marking a 40 percent increase from the previous year and generating over $7.6 billion in revenues, the tourism minister said Tuesday. "2010 was an exceptional year (for tourism)," Tourism Minister Saadallah Agha al-Qalaa told AFP, adding the number of tourists rose to 8.5 million in 2010 from 6.2 million in 2009. The 40 percent jump generated over $7.6 billion in revenues.

  • A sacred spot

    The grandiose Umayyad Mosque – also known as the Grand Mosque - is one of the most impressive buildings in Islamic architecture. Built by the Umayyad dynasty, it was completed in 715 after ten years of labour by 1000 workers. In this photograph, the mosque looms at the end of the maze of alleyways of Souq Hamidiyeh.

  • The birthplace of the alphabet

    The ancient polity of Ugarit was discovered at the archeological site known as Ras Shamra, located on Syria's coastal strip ten kilometres north of Latakia. The ancient polity was only discovered in 1928 when a local farmer accidently found it when ploughing.

  • Travel tip

    (SANA) – American Luxury Travel Magazine selected Syria and Damascus among the top 11 luxury destinations for 2011. According to the poll, trendy hotels and food are amongst the most attractive travel assets Syria offers to tourists. The photo depicts Al Pasha Hotel in old Damascus.

  • 48 hours in Damascus

    (Reuters Life!) - The ancient capital of Syria, in the words of Syrian film director Nabil al-Maleh, is one of the last cities on the planet where most problems are solved with a smile.

  • Twilight

    Seidnaya is an important Christian village north of Damascus with monasteries and Our Lady of Seidnaya Greek Orthodox convent. When the sun sets on the village, lights illuminate the buildings and the mountain.

  • Turkey asks Syria help to speed up restoration of Ottoman-era buildings

    (World Bulletin) Jan 14 - Suleymaniye complex is one of the most important of these historical sites going through restoration. Turkey's culture & tourism minister asked for support from Syrian prime minister to add momentum to restoration of historical Turkish buildings in Syria.

  • Spice world

    In the Old City of Damascus souq Al-Bzuhurieh offers a huge variety of herbs and spices coming from the Middle East and beyond. The spices are used to flavour food and prepare traditional medicaments.

  • Blue freshwater

    North-west Syria is known for its natural beauty. The lake of Balloran is an artificial basin created by a dam. With its deep blue colour set against the forested hills, it is a popular site with picnickers.

  • Mare Nostrum

    Latakia is both a busy port and a colourful Mediterranean city. Ruins testify to its past but the town now has a very modern vibe with hotels, shops, restaurants and tourist facilities, all focussed on the sea.

  • The biggest chair in the world

    Palmyra – A wooden chair, the biggest in the world, was made as part of  the 'National Forum for Art and Innovation…from Hasya to Palmyra'.  The sculpture was made by several Syrian sculptors in Hasya Industrial City, using more than 20 tons of industrial wood, 3 tons of industrial iron and 3 tons of stone.

  • Turning Show


    The Whirling Dervishes and their spectacular spinning dance attract audiences across the Middle East. The tradition stems from the “Sema” ceremony of the Mevlevis, a Sufi order from Turkey, in which adherents aim to reach religious ecstasy. The Mevlevis are one of the many brotherhoods of the Sufi tradition who are in a continual endeavour to get closer to God.

Traditional Syrian handcrafts

A panoramic of the most popular traditional handcrafts in Syria, from wood mosaic to kilims, from blown glass to traditional clogs.

Photos by Ibrahim Malla

Palmyra: Oasis of columns

Located 200 km north-east of Damascus, Palmyra is a fertile oasis in the heart of the Syrian desert. This position, on the crossroad between Damascus and Iraq, the Arab Gulf and Persia and the Mediterranean, made of it one of the most wealthy cultural and caravan centers of the ancient world.

Photos by Ibrahim Malla