Arabic Word of the Day 77# [Journey in Arabia 19# - Syria Facts!]
Hey guys! Today we’re going to continue our journey, but this time we’re going to a country which isn’t exactly the most popular tourist destination, yet holds many beautiful sights and historical buildings. So here are 34 random facts on Syria:
1# A country of fertile plains, high mountains, and deserts, it is home to diverse ethnic and religious groups, including the majority Arab population.
2# It’s a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the west, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest.
3# The Euphrates, Syria’s most important river, crosses the country in the east. It is considered to be one of the fifteen states that comprise the so-called “Cradle of civilization”
4# Petroleum became Syria’s leading natural resource and chief export after 1974. Natural gas was discovered at the field of Jbessa in 1940.
5# Syria’s main exports include crude oil, refined products, raw cotton, clothing, fruits, and grains. The bulk of Syrian imports are raw materials essential for industry, vehicles, agricultural equipment, and heavy machinery. Earnings from oil exports as well as remittances from Syrian workers are the government’s most important sources of foreign exchange.
6# The great architectural jewel of Damascus is the stunning 8th century Umayyad Mosque with its exquisite interiors and glittering gold and coloured mosaic. The mosque is considered to be one of the most sacred places in the Islamic world and is a highlight of any visit to Syria.
7# The desert oasis of Palmyra was the premier caravan city in the Middle East in the 2nd and 3rd centuries AD. The resulting revenues enabled the citizens of Palmyra to construct the grandest of civic buildings. Using a local sandy honey coloured stone the resulting Roman-style columns, temple facades, theatres, and tombs, are particularly beautiful.
8# Described by T.E. Lawrence as: “the best preserved and most wholly admirable castle in the world”, this stunning example of Crusader military architecture was built to secure the Homs Gap – the easiest access between the Mediterranean and the Syrian interior. Crac des Chevaliers was never captured by force and is hugely impressive.
9# Visiting the medieval covered souqs (markets) of Aleppo is a real immersion in the Middle Eastern experience. Said to be over 15 km in length everything from luxury goods to aromatic spaces and household goods is on sale here amidst an intoxicating atmosphere that can hardly have changed for centuries.
10# St Simeon’s Monastery is a Byzantine masterpiece built to support the cult of Simeon – an aesthete monk who is remembered for having lived on top of a column for 42 years. According to an expert: ‘The great cruciform church is … the most beautiful and important monument of architecture between the buildings of the Roman period of the second century and the great church of Santa Sophia of Justinian’s time.
11# One of the most attractively located Roman ruins in Syria. Apamea’s main feature is a magnificent colonnaded street, over 1.5 kilometres in length, and lined with columns along almost its entire route. Here you can walk along the wheel-rutted Cardo Maximus though what was once the bustling heart of one of the most important Roman cities in Syria.
12# Regarded as one of the finest survivals from the World Of Late Antiquity the Dead Cities of northern Syria are a group of approximately 600 abandoned Byzantine churches, villages and monuments. Some of these are extraordinarily well preserved, and many have charming rural locations.
13# During public speeches in Syria, it is customary to applaud each time the name of President Assad is mentioned.
14# It was on the road to Damascus, according to the Bible, that St Paul was dazzled by a heavenly light and converted to Christianity. He later escaped arrest in the city by being lowered from a window in a basket.
15# Swords made from Damascus steel have been much prized over the centuries. According to written sources, blades were prepared by heating and then cooling them rapidly.
16# The ancient legend said, that the world’s first murder occurred on the territory of modern Syria. It is here the biblical Cain killed his brother because of jealousy.
17# Syria does not recognize Israel. If in passport you have visa of Israel, then you can’t visit Syria.
18# The earliest account of a mermaid is the story of the Syrian goddess Atargatis who became half-fish after accidentally killing a shepherd she loved.
19# The Golden (or Syrian) hamster was discovered in Aleppo, Syria, in 1930.
20# All the hamsters kept as pets today are descendants of hamsters found in Syria.
21# Syria has competed at the Olympics since 1948 winning one gold, one silver and one bronze medal.The gold medal was for the women’s heptathlon in 1996.
22# Ugarit is the place where the oldest alphabet of the world is believed to have originated.
23# The New York Times reported that the Assad family paid public relations firm Brown Lloyd James $5,000 a month to facilitate Syrian first lady Asma Assad’s March 2011 profile in Vogue headlined “Rose in the Desert.” When Syria’s image became less fashionable, Vogue took the profile off its website.
24# One of this century’s most admired people was Syrian-American — and didn’t know it for most of his life. Steve Jobs’ biological parents, University of Wisconsin student Joanne Schieble and Syrian-born teaching assistant Abdulfattah “John” Jandali, gave him up for adoption to Paul and Clara Jobs. While in his 30s, the consumer electronics genius tracked down his birth mother and learned he had a sister, novelist Mona Simpson. Jobs remained estranged from his biological father, who was working as a casino manager in Reno, Nev., when his famous son died.
25# Syria was the cradle of civilization, at least 10 thousand years. In this area, there is the ancient imperial city – Ebla. Ebla flourished from the 1800 BC to 1650 AD. In Ebla was found 20 thousand precious cuneiform tablets. The records on these tablets allowed to know a lot about everyday life of Mesopotamia at ancient time. The territory of Syria, at various times was ruled by Egyptians, Assyrians, Chaldeans, Persians, Macedonians and Romans.
26# The Golan Heights, a mountainous and strategically import area bordering the Sea of Galilee, was captured by Israel during the 1967 war. Part of it was handed back after the 1973 war, but the return of the remaining territory has been one of the Syrian regime’s principal goals ever since. There is a spot on the ceasefire line known as Shouting Valley where Syrians use megaphones to hail their relatives on the other side.
27# The Hama massacre: In 1982 Syrian forces launched a brutal assault on the city of Hama to quell an uprising by the Muslim Brotherhood, killing thousands. Memories of the event, which is rarely mentioned publicly in Syria, continue to cast a long shadow over political opposition to the regime.
28# Lebanon was separated from Syria under the French mandate, since it was largely a Christian enclave, and became officially independent in 1943. From Damascus, Lebanon still tends to be viewed as part of Syria’s traditional sphere of influence. Syria used its military to stabilise Lebanon after the 1975-91 civil war but also meddled extensively in Lebanese politics.
29# Damascus was once a major centre for weaving and trading in textiles. Damask – using an ancient technique for weaving patterns into cloth – derives its name from the city.
30# Syria’s national dish – is Burguli. Burguli – it is wheat, boiled steamed, dried and milled. It is added to many dishes, Burguli must be on the table during all holiday dinners.
31# In social interactions, people stand close together, speak loudly, and gesture widely with their hands and heads. Greetings hold great social significance. They are often lengthy, including questions about health. They usually are accompanied by a handshake and sometimes by a hug and a kiss on each cheek. Placing the right hand on the heart when meeting someone is a signal of affection.
32# The major secular holidays are New Year’s Day on 1 January, Revolution Day on 8 March, and the anniversary of the formation of the Arab League, 22 March. Syrians celebrate Martyrs Day in memory of the nation’s heroes on 6 April; National Day (also known as Evacuation Day, celebrating independence), on 17 April; and the Day of Mourning on 29 November.
33# There is a long literary tradition that dates back to poets such as al-Mutanabbi in the 900s and al-Maarri in the 1000s. Writers must contend with government censorship, but fiction writing is not as tightly monitored as is nonfiction. Whereas the punishment for breaking laws concerning nonfiction is usually imprisonment, fiction writers generally are reprimanded.
34# Seventy-four percent of the population is Sunni Muslim. Sixteen percent belongs to Alawite, Druze, and other Muslim sects, and 10 percent is Christian. There are small Jewish communities in Damascus, Al Qamishli, and Aleppo. As in many Arabic countries, religion is an integral part of the culture and daily life. The word “Islam” means “submission to God.” The religion shares certain prophets, traditions, and beliefs with Judaism and Christianity. The foundation of Islamic belief is called the Five Pillars
So I hope you’ve learnt a few more facts on the positive side of Syria. Syria is a wonderful country that just needs the work of time to heal… It also has really nice food ;p Anyways! Thanks for reading, and I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s post! Cya guys next time! :D
It really was beautiful before the war ^
P.S: Who here has already started their summer holidays? :’(
Beautiful post. A few of my teachers actually went to study in Syria years before the war.
35# According to Islamic tradition which describes this graphically, Jesus' descent will be in the midst of wars fought by al-Mahdi (lit. "the rightly guided one"), known in Islamic eschatology as the redeemer of Islam, against al-Masih ad-Dajjal (the Antichrist "false messiah"/ purple, grape eye guy) and his followers. Jesus will descend at the point of a white arcade, east of Damascus, dressed in yellow robes—his head anointed[I learnt this in school and did a test on Islamic theology on Wednesday. It was easy ;p].
I finish school on Tuesday while every other school in London finished today. No fair :(
Yup, my co-worker made it 35 now ;p
IKR I finish on Tuesday too! So annoying! Everyone else in my region has finished today! I can't bear the fact that I'm not missing any computer science lessons! UGH What really takes the mick is the fact we've got a half-day on Tuesday. Like what even is the point? Instead, I could enjoy my sleep! [well they say it's a half-day, but since the new head teacher came, it became a 2/3 day but you get the point].
Apparently, every school in England has to do a certain amount of hours and it happens that both our schools missed days off so we have to catch up on them! SIGH -.-
I know. Why those days when the electricity came down or the heater wasn't working? Why???????
We're finishing at 12:30 so it really is a half-day. But what takes the mick is that period 4 I've got an Islamic Studies test on Sawm and Zakat. We could've done it today. Why?????? :(
Edit: No wait. Braces cost money now????? I got mine for free.
Edit 2: 3 is Sunnah. hehe ;p
Lol I remember when the electricity came down and everyone was excited to go home but it got fixed ;'p Ours was cus of snow days... hmm I mean snow day [cus it never snows properly in the South] and inset days [not our fault teachers were training on that day!WTH]
Well I'm finishing at... urmm I don't even know what time period 4 finishes ;p But we've got 6 periods... how many do you have?
Haha LOL good luck with your test! ;) I was meant to have a Computer Science test on that day but he postponed it [thank god]... :o
Snow days pfffft. We get SlEeT not sNoW. We get sNoW if we are lucky like last year. Remember the sNoW. It was thick and yummy. This year was SlEeT. I not like it. XD
6 periods for Tuesday or usually?
Thanks for the good luck! I'll pray and pray and pray more cos 3 is sunnah.
But u paid £3500 for ur braces??????
Haha! :p I can eat wtv I like and you can't! XD Just wait for the retainers and you know your life is ruined! :l
How long Is your day? It must be SO long or something cus I have 6 periods a day which are 50mins long... Oh wait actually I technically have 7 periods a day. The 1st period is 20mins and the rest are 50mins long [the 1st one isn't a proper lesson it's this PSHE, reading, news class... Long story].
So wait! My school starts at 8:30am and ends at 3:00pm... so does yours start the same?
We only get RAIN [just like right now! Bruv I was in Geography and there was thunder XD] Last yr? I don't remember there being much snow then either. I only remember there being actual snow when I was in yr5 and yr1 and Nursery lol [but in y1 and nursery it was thickkkk but that's only cus I lived in a different city then]
Usually. I mean we have the same no. every day but IDK about you.
Well yeah. And my sister got braces b4 me so she also paid £3500. I took mine off last month Aahh! :D But mine only took 7 months so I took min off b4 my sis though she got hers on b4 me XD I went to one fo the best private dentists that's why it's so expensive. We got ours done quickly and I got see-through braces which were kinda cool. But anyways, the only reason we went to a private was cus apparently I wasn't eligible for NHS free dentistry! MUSHROOMISM!
Oy that's no fair I've had these on since 03/10/2017 okay. TWO WHOLE YEARS[nearly ;p] with normal braces. No fair.
7 periods a day. 45 mins each. ^-^
Wait is that sNoW I see? Oh no it's poly[something that fluffy foam thing you put in like presents to fill up]. Oh no it's shredded paper.
Lol that really is a nightmare! XD I vote to start school at 10:00 and finish at 4:00 ;p
Syria has always been a fascinating country. Thanks for posting this.
P.S - Yes, I have already started mine.
P.S.S I deleted part of the thread.
You're welcome ;p
;O Then why's mine taking so long!!! :S Oh, nvm it's ok, at least on normal days I don't get loaded and packed up with homework :L I think 12 pieces of Computer Science hmwk are gonna kill me before I actually go abroad :o
Hmm... never knew this much about Syria's positive side (had debated about the Syrian crisis at a MUN, so it's all 'SYRIA! WAR!! WAR!!!' in my head ;p)
P.S.: Ended long ago :'(
LOL I'm not old enough to have heard any more than Syria = War tbh. Hmm let's see.... 2011. Oh, that's not too old actually ;p Soz my History knowledge is terrible cus as you can probably guess, English education is limited around its walls... except for the Amritsar Massacre and a little bit of Slavery.
LOL mine is in 1 day and 2/3 [they're so extra they HAD to make us do 2/3ds of a day! And perfectly planned so that I have to finish my year with my second-most-hated lesson; Computer Science.]