Syria's reputation in recent years has been mainly dominated by the ongoing bloody civil war. However, it remains a wonderful place to visit, and history buffs will find it a particularly fascinating destination.
Where is Safe To Visit?
The civil war that has been raging since 2011 is almost over in many parts of Syria, but the country remains fragmented into areas controlled by various militias. However, the Assad government controls most of the West of the country, and these areas are relatively stable, with tourism now allowed once more. This includes many areas of historical significance, such as Palmyra, Aleppo, Damascus and Homs. That said, the situation is subject to change and you should check with your travel company before traveling.
If it's history you're after, then Damascus should be your first port of call. Syria's capital is one of the oldest continually-inhabited cities in the world (some say THE oldest), with excavations on the outskirts showing evidence of habitation going back to 10,000 BCE. If you want to see religious buildings, The Umayyad Mosque, built between 705 and 710 CE, is one of the oldest mosques in the world. The entire Old City of Damascus is listed as a World Heritage site by UNESCO and contains The Citadel, which is a military fortification that's over a thousand years old, as well as a host of other statues and historical buildings. The Old City alone could take up your entire visit to Syria.
Other Areas of Interest
Syria has many sites of historical interest that could fill entire books, so we'll just look at a couple of the absolute must-see areas here. Firstly, the Ancient City in Aleppo is another UNESCO world heritage site. Unfortunately, many parts of it were destroyed or damaged during the war, but there is still much to see, including the Citadel of Aleppo, one of the oldest and largest castles in the world. Palmyra (yet another world heritage site) is another essential stop on your historical tour of Syria. Like Damascus, it is a city that has been inhabited since neolithic times, and the ancient ruins just outside the modern city are a majestic sight that draws in history buffs from around the world.