Your Syrian adventure starts in the timeless city of Damascus where the ancient world converges with the modern seamlessly. Historic buildings such as the great Umayyad Mosque and the Azem Palace help you to feel immersed in the history of this ancient city. You will have an extensive tour of the city followed by plenty of free time for you to explore the maze of souqs and sample the delicious cuisine.
From Damascus we travel to the cosmopolitan coastal city of Lattakia. Along the way we will make stops at the ancient village of Ma’loula where residents still speak the language of Christ – Aramaic followed by an extensive tour of the stunningly preserved crusader castle of Krak des Chevaliers.After arriving in Lattakia in the afternoon you may have time to swim in the sea before sunset or you could try one of the many excellent restaurants along the sea front.
After enjoying breakfast in Lattakia we follow the coastal road north to visit the ruins of Ugarit. Ugarit was only discovered in 1928 and since then, tablets have been discovered which has led experts to believe that the Ugaritic Alphabet may have been one of the first ‘simplified alphabets’ in the region. It has been identified as semitic, an ancient form of Hebrew.
Slightly in land from Ugarit stands the magnificent Castle of Saladin. Despite its name, the castle wasn’t actually built by Saladin, it was originally a Byzantine fortress which was taken over by the Crusader Knights in 1108. The castle we see today was then built on this site by Robert de Saône. The castle stayed in the de Saône family until Saladin captured it in 1188. It was from this victory which the castle then took its name. After a tour and free time at the castle, our journey takes us north to Syria’s second city – Aleppo.
As with Damascus, Aleppo and its surrounding areas are teeming with historical sites waiting to be explored and our guided tour will visit the most important of these such as St Simeon’s Monastery, the Great Citadel and the Mosque. Our Aleppo city tour will conclude at the Citadel where you will have the option of returning to your hotel or visiting the nearby Souq Al-Attareen and returning to your hotel later in the evening in you own time.
Syria doesn’t really offer much in the way of nightlife, however whilst in Aleppo you should certainly visit the Jdeideh Quarter where Aleppo’s upmarket nightlife is located with many bars offering live music.
Leaving Aleppo behind we travel to ‘Bride of the Desert’ - Palmyra, making stops along the way to view the Roman ruins at Apamea and the moaning waterwheels at Hama. Palmyra is generally considered to be one the world’s best examples and most complete classical cities and once you arrive you will realise why! Palmyra is an evocative and haunting town where you almost expect to see a Roman Soldier rush past in his chariot. You will have a full day tour of Palmyra before returning to Damascus for your final evening.
Leaving Syria behind we cross the border in Jordan, you have a free afternoon in Amman to get accustomed to your new surroundings. Your tour starts with a day trip out to the 'desert castles' to the East of Amman. Not actually castles as such, these old ruined fortresses, palaces, bath houses and other complexes have been swallowed up by the expanding desert since they were abandoned over 1000 years ago. We also visit the Azraq Wetland Reserve, an area of marshland and lakes in the middle of the desert, and the Shaumari Wildlife Reserve, where endangered species such as oryx, ostriches, onagers and gazelles are being successfully re-introduced.
Next, we tour some of Amman's roman highlights, including its impressive amphitheature, before driving down the Desert Highway to Aqaba, where we spend the evening beside the Red Sea.
Our next stop is the beautiful desert scenery of Wadi Rum with its towering rust coloured rocky 'jebels'. We include a a jeep safari through the desert here, and a traditional Bedouin lunch.
The tour then arrives in the 'lost' city of Petra, which rightly makes it onto so many lists of wonders of the world. We enjoy a full day inside the city here, exploring, and learning about the way the tombs and buildings were carved into the mountains, and admiring the many colours in the rocks. Extra visits are available to do the Petra by Candlelight tour and to explore the main site further the following day, after we have visited 'Little Petra' in the morning.
From Petra, a drive up the beautiful King's Highway, through villages and winding up and down many deep Wadis, brings us to Amman, with stops en-route to visit the old crusader castle of Kerak, Roman mosaics at Madaba, and enjoy spectacular views across to Israel from Mt. Nebo.
Guide to the sights and sounds of Amman, Jordan's capital city.
Short guide to Petra, Jordan's jewel in the crown and world heritage site.
Spectacular desert scenery that was once a base for Lawrence of Arabia.
"I was just shocked to get what I got out of this tour. I never thought that I would get this much for the price I paid! The tour guides were brilliant, I will recommend Egypt Uncovered to everybody I know going to Egypt! Thank you for everything!"
Ms. J. Santolla (Temples, Tombs and Alexandria)
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