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About Syria


Cradle of Civilization, the Gateway to History


 

Syria - the Cradle of Civilization and the Gateway to History

 

 Syria has played a core role in the history and development of civilized man. It has been a great crossroad for trade between the Mediterranean and the East; it exported the Alphabet to the West and has been linked to Religion from the beginning, from the Semitic Deities to the monotheistic faiths.

 

Agriculture first appeared in Syria around 9000 BC, when man discovered the possibility of growing hundreds of new plants from seed. In ancient Syria, the secrets of metallurgy were also discovered, the possibility of hammering bronze and copper into shapes that would serve domestic, military and aesthetic uses.

 

 At Mari (Tel Hariri) were found numerous palaces, temples and murals reflecting advanced cultural and commercial activity; Excavations revealed the remains of a 275 room palace covering 2.5 hectares, with a great library stacked with 20,000 cuneiform tablets belongs to the 3rd millennium BC. The kingdom of Ugarit (Ras Shamra) offered mankind its first alphabet and had a golden past in administration, education, diplomacy, law, religion and economics between 16th and 13th centuries BC. At Ebla (Tel Merdikh), a royal palace was discovered containing one of the largest and most comprehensive archives of the ancient world, dealing with matters of industry, diplomacy, trade, art and agriculture.

 

 

Elba became world-famous for two industries - the manufacture of silk cloth of gold, and that of finely-carved wood, inlaid with ivory and mother of pearls. Today these industries still prosper, with Syrian brocade and mosaics fashioned according to the artisanal tradition of ancient Ebla. Syria was the theatre for many conquests, that descended from the Anatolian mountains or arrived t its shores from the sea. Its original inhabitants, migrants from the Arabian Peninsula, settled throughout the country, in the Fertile Crescent, and on the Palestinian coastline and the Sinai desert. They were known as the Akkadians, the Amorites, the Canaanite, the Phoenicians, the Arameans or the Ghassanids, depending on the time of their migration and the place of their settlement.

 

These settlers preserved their original characteristics despite the numerous conquests (Greek, Roman, Persian among others) which they were to experience. In 636 AD, when Muslim Arab tribes entered Syria from that same Arabian Peninsula that had given it its original inhabitants, they brought with them their language, Arabic, and their religion, Islam, both of which endure in modern Syria today.

 

Damascus, the world's oldest inhabited city, contains Greek ruins built over Aramean temples, and minarets rising over Crusader remains. The Omayyad mosque, a great edifice of Islamic civilization, became a prototype of Islamic architecture, from Spain to Samarkand. In Aleppo, a grand fortress rises before you, on the very mount where, in the year 2000 BC, Ibrahim is said to have milked his cow, giving the site of the city its name, Halab (in Arabic "to milk").

 

Syria is often described as the largest small country in the world because of its wealth of ancient civilizations. You will feel that history comes to life in Syria.

 




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