18 Fun Facts About Syria That’ll Really Surprise You

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The history of Syria, or the “Syrian Arab Republic,” spans 700,000 years and is full of heritage and culture. However, since the beginning of 2011, it has been regrettably marked by war and devastation. Yet Syria carries along some hidden facts that might surprise you. Here are 18 fascinating facts about Syria, from its historical towns to the ongoing turmoil. 

1. Syria Is One Of The Oldest Human Civilizations

Syria is one of the world’s ancient civilizations. In other words, it’s the most ancient inhabited region on Earth. In this Middle East country, human remains that date back to about 700,000 years ago have been discovered.

One of the earliest human settlements to have been unearthed is the Syrian city of Ebla, which is considered to have existed circa 3,000 B.C. 

2. The Country Promotes Complete Religious Freedom 

Syria’s constitution protects religious freedom and forbids the establishment of an official state religion. 

But Islam permeates every aspect of Syrian life, and the constitution stipulates that the country’s leader must be a Muslim. 

3. Syria Is Popular For Its Linguistic Heritage

Syria continues to use the Aramaic language as a primary language. Aramaic was the universal language of many ancient civilizations, including Greece and Egypt. 

Outside of Syria, only a few small localities still speak it now including Georgia, Armenia, Iran and Turkey.

4. Syria Is Home To The Oldest City Known

The world’s oldest continuously occupied city and capital of Syria is Damascus. Damascus was established in the third millennium BC, and the book of Genesis in the Bible makes reference to it. 

The city of Damascus

The ancient city of Damascus is now a UNESCO World Heritage site. About 125 statues from various eras of the city’s history are present.

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5. Syria Consists Of Six World Heritage Sites

The ancient city of Damascus is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as was already highlighted. Aleppo, Bosra, and Palmyra, three historic cities, are among Syria’s five additional UNESCO World Heritage Sites. 

Ancient Syrian towns, as well as the crusader castles of Crac des Chevaliers and Qal’at Salah El-Din, are all included as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. 

7. Syria Has A Unique National Flag

The Syrian flag has two green stars on the white stripe and is composed of red, white, and black horizontal lines. The flag is identical to the one that served as the United Arab Republic from 1958 to 1961 when the two stars symbolized Egypt and Syria. 

The hues stand for tyranny (black), revolution (red), and a promising future (white).

8. The World’s Oldest Library Is Situated In Syria

One of the first world’s oldest libraries is found in Ebla, one of the oldest ancient kingdoms in Syria. Italian archaeologists found around 20,000 tablets in 1964; these tablets appear to have been arranged on bookshelves as per matter. 

9. Ever Heard Of The Echo Point?

4 nations converge in the Shouting Valley: Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Israel. It is an “Echo Point,” and individuals routinely use it to talk to their departed loved ones.

Its distinctive geography allows for an auditory leakage across the Israeli-Syrian border. Along both sides of the barrier, Druze people gather to hear each other’s voices and gesture to each other.  

10. Syria Is Home To A Roman Theatre, The Bosra Theatre 

The ancient Syrian city of Bosra is home to a magnificently maintained Roman theatre that features high-stage structures. It is made from black basalt. The theatre was probably constructed under Trajan’s rule. 

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The Bosra Theatre

The authentic theatre, which has survived, has a stage that is 45 meters long and 8 meters deep, and it can accommodate up to 15,000 people. It also has ideal acoustics. 

11. Western Aramaic, Or The “Language Of Christ,” Is Spoken In Syria

Only one of the three locations in the world where Western Aramaic, the tongue used by Jesus Christ, continues to be spoken is Maaloula, Syria. The other two locations are communities close by. 

According to scholars, Jesus preached in Aramaic, the dialect used by common Jews at the time. The elite classes, the administration, and the monastery all spoke Hebrew.

Contemporary highways and infrastructure, exposure to Arabic-language print and broadcast media, and for a while, official policy have all contributed to the erosion of that linguistic legacy.

12. Syria Is Also Called The Beer Country

Since the beginning of time, Syria has drunk beer to unwind. The Ebla tablets, which date around 2500 BC, contain a historical mention of beer. It shows that a wide range of beers was brewed in the city and even one that might have been called “Ebla” after the location.

Ancient ruins where The Ebla tablets were found

The state regulated its manufacture and sale, and Muslim and Christian communities saw the greatest sales.   

13. Dark Images In Syria Since Civil War

Following the start of the civil war in 2011, satellite photos reveal that Syria’s nights got 83% darker. Both the infrastructure’s utter breakdown and the departure of people are contributing factors.

 14. Syria Is The Fourth Holiest Islamic Place

The Umayyad Mosque in Damascus is the fourth holiest site in Islam. Along with the Shrine of John the Baptist, it’s also the location of the mausoleum housing the tomb of King Saladin.

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15. Syria Was Once Under The French Rule 

The French separated Syria into three independent regions between 1920 and 1921, creating distinct areas for the Druze in the south and the Alawis on the coast.

France ruled Syria from the time of World War I Ottoman Empire’s fall, until the Second World War when it attained freedom.

16. Civil War In Syria Has Killed The Most Syrian Refugees 

A not-so-fun fact is that Syria has been mired in a bloody civil war since 2011, initially started by the Arab Spring. Since then, it has developed into a complex war that has resulted in the deaths of at least 400,000 Syrians and displaced 5.6 million refugees.

17. Syria Is Also Popular For Its Musical History 

The two Arab musical and poetic genres that were specifically formed in Syria are Qudud Halabiya and Muwashshah.

These legendary Syrian songs combine muwashshah poetry from Al-Andalus with old religious instrumentals primarily gathered by Aleppine musicians. The lyrics are in classical Arabic.

18. Arabic Is Syria’s Official Language, But…

Syria is a Middle Eastern nation that borders the Mediterranean Sea and is between Turkey and Lebanon. Syria’s official language is Arabic, yet the nation also uses many regional languages regularly. 

Aramaic was the major language in Syria before Arabic arrived, and certain groups still use it now.

Joshua Smith

Joshua has visited 10 countries and has another 110 to go! He plans to sail around the world over 5 years, and then spend the next 5 years driving around the world in a 4×4. He prefers to explore the more remote places without the tourists, and yet, doesn’t mind the ritzy feel of business class at 10,000 feet either.

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