Syria is one of the oldest-habited countries on the planet – rich in culture, this territory has claimed headlines for many reasons over the years. However, it’s a nation with a history that fascinates many – so let’s take a look at some fun facts about Syria that might just surprise you.
1. Where is Syria?
Syria is a country lying towards the east of the Mediterranean, with neighbors in Israel, Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, and Iraq – it’s a western Asian territory.
2. Millions of people call Syria home.
Syria is said to have a population of more than 17.5 million people, and covers almost 72,000 square miles in land area – that’s approximately 186,500 square km.
3. What’s the capital of Syria?
The capital of Syria, Damascus, is fairly large on its own! It’s around 40.5 square miles large (105 square km), and it’s said to be home to more than 1.7 million people alone.
4. Syria’s name is actually derivative.
Syria’s modern name derives from Assyria – an area which is now covered by Iraq and Turkey. It was once a longstanding kingdom and empire all on its own!
5. Damascus isn’t the biggest…
Despite being the capital, Damascus is not actually the biggest city in Syria. That honor belongs to Aleppo, which is said to be home to more than 2.1 million people.
6. …but it’s one of the oldest!
Damascus is particularly interesting thanks to its age-setting records. It’s thought to be the longest-habited city on the planet, with archaeological evidence showing that people have lived here since around 9,000 BC!
7. More records!
Damascus is further interesting that it’s home to a record-setting mosque! The Umayyad Mosque is said to be one of the biggest – and longest-standing – of its kind on the planet.
8. Syria has been hot property over the years.
Syria’s history gets more interesting than just ancient beginnings, however – as it’s said that the Egyptian empire seized the country in 1,500 BC.
Syria has actually been the subject of many empirical takeovers over the years – as it’s called to the French, Chaldean, Hebrew, Assyrian, Roman, Macedonian, Persian, and Arabic forces. It’s lucrative land!
9. Many empires held onto Syria for long periods.
In fact, the Ottoman Empire held onto Syria for longer than many of its famous occupants – they remained in charge here for just over four centuries, only relinquishing power in 1918!
10. How much of Syria is technically arable?
Almost a quarter of Syria’s available land is suitable for crop growing and harvesting.
11. Head to the exchange!
When spending money in Syria, visitors and locals will need to use the Syrian Pound.
12. Keep this number handy!
If you want to call family or friends out in Syria, be sure to use the dialing code for the region, which is +963.
13. Record-setting Popes!
Syria played host to the first-ever Pope to enter any mosque on record! Pope John Paul II’s visit to the Umayyad Mosque is widely regarded as a record first, back in 2001.
14. A varied industry!
Syria’s industry is widely varied, with petroleum, minerals, fibers, fruit, vegetables, meat, and animals largely making up their export scene.
15. Just don’t ask about the fines…
Age is a big factor in Syria’s history – it’s even home to the world’s oldest library on record, found in what we know to be the ruins of Ebla city, dating back thousands of years.
16. A flag with purpose!
Syria’s flag is interestingly designed – it’s actually identical to the previous sigil of the United Arab Republic. The stars in the middle depict Egypt and Syria – while the black represents oppression, and the red revolution! The white stripe, however, is said to represent a hopeful future ahead.
FAQs about Syria
Is it safe to travel to Syria?
Regrettably, Syria remains highly dangerous to travel to - at the time of writing, it still; struggles with civil unrest and armed conflict. Many governments advise citizens to avoid traveling to Syria at all costs.
What’s the reason behind the conflicts in Syria?
The conflicts in Syria continue to reverberate for many reasons. For example, it’s thought that conflicts between neighborhoods and rulers oppressing local people are ongoing - and there is continuing dissent against the Syrian government at the time of writing.
What’s the main religion in Syria?
The vast majority of people living in Syria worship Islam, accounting for almost nine out of ten citizens.
Do you know any fun facts about Syria? Share them in the comments below!