SYRIA

SYRIA

SYRIA

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Name: Umayyad Mosque
Location: Damascus, Syria
The Umayyad Mosque, also known as the Great Mosque of Damascus, located in the old city of Damascus, is one of the largest and oldest mosques in the world. After the Muslim conquest of Damascus in 634, the mosque was built on the site of a Christian basilica dedicated to John the Baptist (Yahya), honored as a prophet by Christians and Muslims. A legend dating to the 6th century holds that the building contains the head of John the Baptist. The mosque is also believed by Muslims to be the place where Jesus (Isa) will return at the End of Days. The mausoleum containing the tomb of Saladin stands in a small garden adjoining the north wall of the mosque.

The Umayyad Mosque underwent major restorations in 1929 during the French Mandate over Syria and in 1954 and 1963 under the Syrian Republic. In the 1980s and in the early 1990s, Syrian president Hafez al-Assad ordered a wide-scale renovation of the mosque. The methods and concepts of al-Assad's restoration project were heavily criticized by UNESCO, but the general approach in Syria was that the mosque was more of a symbolic monument rather than a historical one and thus, its renovation could only enhance the mosque's symbolism. In 2001 Pope John Paul II visited the mosque, primarily to visit the relics of John the Baptist. It was the first time a pope paid a visit to a mosque.

SOURCE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basilica_of_Our_Lady_of_Peace
Name: Citadel of Aleppo
Location: Aleppo, Syria
The Citadel of Aleppo is a large medieval fortified palace in the centre of the old city of Aleppo, northern Syria. It is considered to be one of the oldest and largest castles in the world. Usage of the Citadel hill dates back at least to the middle of the 3rd millennium BC. Subsequently, occupied by many civilizations including the Greeks, Byzantines, Ayyubids and Mamluks, the majority of the construction as it stands today is thought to originate from the Ayyubid period. An extensive conservation work took place in the 2000s by the Aga Khan Trust for Culture in collaboration with Aleppo Archeological Society. Dominating the city, the Citadel is part of the Ancient City of Aleppo, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1986.

In August 2012, during the Battle of Aleppo of the Syrian Civil War, the external gate of the citadel was damaged after being shelled during a clash between the Free Syrian Army and the Syrian Army to gain control over the citadel. In July 2015, a bomb was reportedly set off in a tunnel under one of the outer walls causing further damage to the citadel. During the conflict, the Syrian Army used the Citadel as a military base, and according to the opposition fighters, with the walls acting as cover while shelling surrounding areas and ancient arrow slits in walls being used by snipers to target rebels.

SOURCE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citadel_of_Aleppo
Name: Krak des Chevaliers
Location: Tartus, Syria
Krak des Chevaliers, and formerly Crac de l'Ospital, is a Crusader castle in Syria and one of the most important preserved medieval castles in the world. The site was first inhabited in the 11th century by a settlement of Kurdish troops garrisoned there by the Mirdasids. As a result, it was known as Hisn al-Akrad, meaning the "Castle of the Kurds". In 1142 it was given by Raymond II, Count of Tripoli, to the order of the Knights Hospitaller. It remained in their possession until it fell in 1271. It became known as Crac de l'Ospital; the name Krak des Chevaliers was coined in the 19th century.

The Hospitallers began rebuilding the castle in the 1140s and were finished by 1170 when an earthquake damaged the castle. The order controlled a number of castles along the border of the County of Tripoli, a state founded after the First Crusade. Krak des Chevaliers was among the most important, and acted as a center of administration as well as a military base. After a second phase of building was undertaken in the 13th century, Krak des Chevaliers became a concentric castle. This phase created the outer wall and gave the castle its current appearance. The first half of the century has been described as Krak des Chevaliers' "golden age". At its peak, Krak des Chevaliers housed a garrison of around 2,000.

SOURCE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Krak_des_Chevaliers
FLIGHT TIMES / MAJOR CITIES
PLEASE SEE BELOW MAJOR CITIES IN SYRIA / CLICK OR TOGGLE BELOW FOR FASTEST AVERAGE FLIGHT TIMES FROM USA.

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COUNTRY INFORMATION GUIDE
PLEASE SEE BELOW FACTS, USEFUL US GOVERNMENT TRAVEL LINKS AND BUSINESS VISITOR ACTIVITIES, FOR TRAVEL TO SYRIA.
FACTS:
Official Languages: Arabic
Currency: Syria Pound (SYP)
Time zone: EET (UTC+2) / EEST (UTC+3)
Drives on the right
Calling code: +963
Local / up-to-date weather in Damascus (and other regions): BBC global weather – click here
US GOVT TRAVEL LINKS:

For more useful information on safety & security, local laws / customs, health and more, please see the below official US travel.state.gov web link for Syria travel advice. NB: Entry requirements herein listed are for US nationals only, unless stated otherwise.

You can also find recommended information on vaccinations, malaria and other more detailed health considerations for travel to Syria, at the below official US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) weblink.

BUSINESS VISITOR ACTIVITIES*:
Activities you may undertake on a business visa / as a business visitor:
PERMISSIBLE
ATTENDING MEETINGS / DISCUSSIONS: TBC
ATTENDING A CONFERENCE: TBC
RECEIVING TRAINING (CLASSROOM-BASED): TBC
NON-PERMISSIBLE
AUDIT WORK: TBC
PROVIDING TRAINING: TBC
PROJECT WORK: TBC
*This information does not constitute legal advice and is not an exhaustive list. For a full legal assessment on business visitor activities, please revert to your internal company legal team / counsel.
TRAVEL INFORMATION**
It is highly recommenced that you access the above official US travel.state.gov web link and read all safety & security information prior to making your travel arrangements / planning your trip.
PLEASE CLICK / TOGGLE BELOW FOR USEFUL TRAVEL INFORMATION TO SYRIA.

The unit of currency in Syria is the Syrian pound or ‘lira’. You will see a variety of notations used locally: £S, LS or S£, Arabic: الليرة السورية al-līra as-sūriyya, but Wikivoyage uses the ISO currency code SYP immediately prefixing the amount in our guides. The pound’s subdivision ‘piastre’ is obsolete.

The black market rate for U.S. dollars is vaolatile: it was was SYP850 in December 2019, and SYP975 on 2 Jan 2020. Hard currencies such as U.S. dollars, pounds sterling or euro can not be bought legally; the only source of foreign currencies available to Syrian businessmen, students and the very many who wish to escape abroad is the black market. The maximum foreign currency amount that can be exported legally is a remarkably generous USD3,000 equivalent per year for each traveller. Any amount in excess of USD3,000 risks confiscation by the authorities and time in jail. There are restrictions on export of Syrian currency of a maximum of SYP2,500 per person.

Because of high inflation and political instability, amounts expressed in Syrian pounds in these guides are subject to significant change.

Before the civil war started, ATMs had become available in most major cities: banks, main squares, and 5-star hotels. None of these ATMs now access the international networks. The Real Estate bank had the widest network that accepted foreign cards but cards also used to be used in machines run by the Bank of Syria and Overseas and the Commercial Bank of Syria. Even before the war ATMs did not exist outside of big cities and it would be wise to carry enough cash when leaving big cities to complete your tour in the countryside and return to the city before running out of cash. Bank Audi used to be the best to try if you had a US-issued card. It is nearly impossible to change travellers cheques in Syria.

BY TAXI:

The taxis (usually yellow, and always clearly marked) are an easy way to get around Damascus, Aleppo and other cities. Arabic would be helpful: most taxi drivers do not speak English. All licensed taxis carry meters, and it is best to insist that the driver puts the meter on, and watch that it stays on. Most drivers expect to haggle prices with foreign travellers rather than use the meter. Private cab services (which advertise prominently at the airport) charge substantially more.

However, there is also a bus from Baramkeh station to the airport.

BY CAR:

Cars can be rented at various Sixt, Budget and Europcar locations. Cham Tours (formerly Hertz) has an office next to the Cham Palace Hotel, which offers competitive rates starting at about USD50 per day including tax, insurance and unlimited kilometres.

Sixt Rent a Car at the Four Seasons Hotel has rates starting from USD40 per day (all inclusive).

If you have never driven in Syria before, make sure you take a taxi first in order to get a first-hand idea of what traffic is like. Especially in Damascus and Aleppo, near-constant congestion, a very aggressive driving style, bad roads and highly dubious quality of road signs make driving there an interesting experience. so do be careful.

The only road rule that might come in handy is that, as opposed to most of the rest of the world, in roundabouts, the entering cars have the right of way, and the cars that are already in the roundabout have to wait. Aside from that, it seems that motorists are fairly free to do as they please.

If you have an accident in a rental car, you must obtain a police report, no matter how small the damage or how clear it is who is at fault – otherwise, you will be liable for the damage. Police (road police No:115) probably will only be able to speak Arabic, so try to make other drivers help you and/or call your rental agency.

Gasoline/petrol (marked as “Super”, red stands) costs about double diesel (green stand). If you manage to run out of fuel (try to avoid it), which is quite easy wherever eastern of Damascus-Aleppo highway, or mountains western from it; you can manage to find some local able to sell you few litres from canister, but prices may be high. Usually gas stations are only in bigger towns and major crossroads in the desert, so try to refuel whenever you can.

BY MICROBUS:

The microbuses (locally called servees, or meecro) are little white vans that carry ten, or so, passengers around cities on set routes. The destinations are written on the front of microbus in Arabic. Usually, the passenger sitting behind the driver deals with the money. You can ask the driver to stop anywhere along his route.

Often, microbuses will do longer routes, for example, to surrounding villages around Damascus and Aleppo, or from Homs to Tadmor or Krak des Chevaliers. They are often more uncomfortable and crowded than the larger buses, but cheaper. Especially for shorter distances they have usually more frequent departures than buses.

BY BUS OR COACH:

Air-conditioned coaches are one of the easy ways to make longer hauls around Syria, for example, the trip from Damascus to Palmyra. Coaches are cheap, fast and reliable way to get around the country, however the schedules, when they exist, are not to be trusted. For the busy routes it’s best to simply go to the coach station when you want to leave and catch the next coach, you’ll have to wait a bit, but most of the time it’s less of a chore than finding out when the best coach will be leaving, and then often finding it’s late.

BY TRAIN:

As of early 2020, rail transport in Syria is limited to a twice daily service between the coastal cities of Latakia and Tartous and a commuter service in Aleppo. All long distance services that used to connect Damascus, Aleppo, Deir-az-Zur, Al-Hassakeh and Al-Qamishli and many other cities are cancelled indefinitely. Rehabilitation is however under way on some sections and reports have emerged that the Aleppo-Damascus passenger train might return during 2020. The national operator CFS maintains an timetable at their webpage.

The summer-only excursion steam train in Damascus, which travels to Al-Zabadani in the Anti-Lebanon Mountains and back has recently resumed operation after a five year hiatus. The train is popular with locals trying to escape the summer heat.

BY BICYCLE:

While travelling by bicycle may not be for everyone, and Syria is by no means a cycle tourist’s paradise, there are definite advantages. Syria is a good size for cycling, accommodation is frequent enough that even a budget traveller can get away with “credit card” touring (though in the case of Syria, it might be better to refer to it as fat-wad-of-cash touring). There are sites that one can not get to with public transportation like the Dead Cities and the people are incredibly friendly often inviting a tired cyclist for a break, cup of tea, meal or night’s accommodation. The problem of children throwing stones at cyclists or running behind the bicycle begging for candy and pens (such as in parts of Morocco) does not seem to have appeared in Syria. Locals young and old alike will, however, be very curious about your travels and your bicycle and if you stop in a town you can expect a large crowd to gather for friendly banter about where you are from and your trip.

Wild camping is quite easy in Syria. Perhaps the biggest challenge is not so much finding a place for your tent but picking a spot where locals will not wander by and try to convince you to come back to their home. Olive groves and other orchards can make a good spot for your tent, except on a rainy day when the mud will make life difficult. Another option is to ask to pitch your tent in a private garden or beside an official post like a police station. It is unlikely you will be refused as long as you can get your message across. A letter in Arabic explaining your trip will help with communication.

The standard of driving skills in Syria is extremely low and other road users tend to drive very aggressively. They do seem used to seeing slow moving traffic and normally give plenty of room as they pass. Motorcycles are perhaps the biggest danger as their drivers like to pull up alongside cyclists to chat or fly by your bike for a look at the strange traveller and then perform a U-turn in the middle of the road to go back home. Perhaps the safest option in this case is to stop, talk for a few minutes and then carry on.

Finding good maps tends to be another problem. You should bring a map with you as good maps are hard to find in Syria. Free ones are available from the tourist bureaus but they are not very good for cycle touring. Even foreign-produced maps can contain errors or roads that don’t exist, making excursions away from the main route a challenge. Asking several locals for the right road is a good idea when you come to a crossroads. Without good maps it can be hard to avoid riding on the main highway, which while safe enough (a good wide shoulder exists on almost all the highways) is not very pleasant due to the smokey trucks and uninteresting scenery.

You should think about bringing a water filter or water treatment tablets with you. Bottled water is not always available in the smaller towns. Finding local water is easy. Tall metal water coolers in many town centres dispense free local water and water is always available near mosques. The Syrian word for water is pronounced like the English word “my” (as in “that is my pen”) with a slight A afterwards and if you ask at any shop or home for water they will happily refill your bottles.

EAT:

Falafel, deep-fried chickpea patties, are available. Another popular vegetarian meal is Foul. Don’t let the name put you off. It’s actually pronounced “fool” and this fava bean paste – topped off with cumin, paprika and olive oil and served with flatbread, fresh mint and onion – is not only tasty but satisfying and filling.

You may also be able to order a salad of Fatoush with your soup. Chopped tomatoes, onions, cucumbers and herbs are mixed together in a dressing and finished off with a sprinkling of fried bread that resembles croutons. Cheese may also be grated on top.

DRINK:

Fresh fruit juices are available from street stalls in most towns, such as mixed juice (usually banana, orange juice and a few exotic fruits like pomegranate).

Beer is cheap. Syrian wine can be found and Lebanese and French wines are also available in a higher price bracket.

Tea is served in a little glass without milk, sweetened with sugar. Add the sugar yourself as the Syrians have a collective sweet tooth and will heap it in.

A double room in a three stars hotel costs about USD50, USD80 for four stars, and can reach USD250 in a five-star hotel.

An international student card reduces the entry fees to many tourist sites to 10% of the normal price, if you are younger than 26 years. Depending on who is checking your card it is even possible to get the reduction when you are older than 26 or have only an expired card. It is possible to buy an international student card in Syria (around USD15). Ask around discreetly.

In the souks (especially the Souk Al Hamidiya in the Old City of Damascus where you can easily “get lost” for a whole morning or afternoon without getting bored), the best buys are the “nargileh” waterpipes, Koran, beautifully lacquered boxes and chess/draughts sets and (particularly in Aleppo) olive soap and traditional sweets. The quality of handicrafts varies widely so when buying lacquered/inlaid boxes, run your hand over the surface to see that it is smooth, check, in particular, the hinges. In the souq haggling is expected. Bargain ruthlessly.

Syrian traders who price goods in foreign currencies now face up to 10 years in jail after a decree issued by President Bashar al-Assad forbids the use of anything other than the Syrian pound as payment for any type of commercial transaction or cash settlement. This was because of the increasing “dollarisation” of an economy in ruins after two years of civil war.

**All travel information has been sourced from wikivoyage. However like wikipedia, wikivoyage is an open platform editable by any member of the public. Therefore, although very useful, all above information IS INDICATIVE ONLY and must be verified prior to personal use. Moreover, if you wish to see more information please visit: https://en.wikivoyage.org/wiki/Syria
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PLEASE CLICK / HOVER ON THE IMAGES BELOW FOR MORE INFORMATION.
Name: Umayyad Mosque
Location: Damascus, Syria
The Umayyad Mosque, also known as the Great Mosque of Damascus, located in the old city of Damascus, is one of the largest and oldest mosques in the world. After the Muslim conquest of Damascus in 634, the mosque was built on the site of a Christian basilica dedicated to John the Baptist (Yahya), honored as a prophet by Christians and Muslims. A legend dating to the 6th century holds that the building contains the head of John the Baptist. The mosque is also believed by Muslims to be the place where Jesus (Isa) will return at the End of Days. The mausoleum containing the tomb of Saladin stands in a small garden adjoining the north wall of the mosque.

The Umayyad Mosque underwent major restorations in 1929 during the French Mandate over Syria and in 1954 and 1963 under the Syrian Republic. In the 1980s and in the early 1990s, Syrian president Hafez al-Assad ordered a wide-scale renovation of the mosque. The methods and concepts of al-Assad's restoration project were heavily criticized by UNESCO, but the general approach in Syria was that the mosque was more of a symbolic monument rather than a historical one and thus, its renovation could only enhance the mosque's symbolism. In 2001 Pope John Paul II visited the mosque, primarily to visit the relics of John the Baptist. It was the first time a pope paid a visit to a mosque.

SOURCE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basilica_of_Our_Lady_of_Peace
Name: Citadel of Aleppo
Location: Aleppo, Syria
The Citadel of Aleppo is a large medieval fortified palace in the centre of the old city of Aleppo, northern Syria. It is considered to be one of the oldest and largest castles in the world. Usage of the Citadel hill dates back at least to the middle of the 3rd millennium BC. Subsequently, occupied by many civilizations including the Greeks, Byzantines, Ayyubids and Mamluks, the majority of the construction as it stands today is thought to originate from the Ayyubid period. An extensive conservation work took place in the 2000s by the Aga Khan Trust for Culture in collaboration with Aleppo Archeological Society. Dominating the city, the Citadel is part of the Ancient City of Aleppo, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1986.

In August 2012, during the Battle of Aleppo of the Syrian Civil War, the external gate of the citadel was damaged after being shelled during a clash between the Free Syrian Army and the Syrian Army to gain control over the citadel. In July 2015, a bomb was reportedly set off in a tunnel under one of the outer walls causing further damage to the citadel. During the conflict, the Syrian Army used the Citadel as a military base, and according to the opposition fighters, with the walls acting as cover while shelling surrounding areas and ancient arrow slits in walls being used by snipers to target rebels.

SOURCE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citadel_of_Aleppo
Name: Krak des Chevaliers
Location: Tartus, Syria
Krak des Chevaliers, and formerly Crac de l'Ospital, is a Crusader castle in Syria and one of the most important preserved medieval castles in the world. The site was first inhabited in the 11th century by a settlement of Kurdish troops garrisoned there by the Mirdasids. As a result, it was known as Hisn al-Akrad, meaning the "Castle of the Kurds". In 1142 it was given by Raymond II, Count of Tripoli, to the order of the Knights Hospitaller. It remained in their possession until it fell in 1271. It became known as Crac de l'Ospital; the name Krak des Chevaliers was coined in the 19th century.

The Hospitallers began rebuilding the castle in the 1140s and were finished by 1170 when an earthquake damaged the castle. The order controlled a number of castles along the border of the County of Tripoli, a state founded after the First Crusade. Krak des Chevaliers was among the most important, and acted as a center of administration as well as a military base. After a second phase of building was undertaken in the 13th century, Krak des Chevaliers became a concentric castle. This phase created the outer wall and gave the castle its current appearance. The first half of the century has been described as Krak des Chevaliers' "golden age". At its peak, Krak des Chevaliers housed a garrison of around 2,000.

SOURCE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Krak_des_Chevaliers
FLIGHT TIMES / MAJOR CITIES
PLEASE SEE BELOW MAJOR CITIES IN SYRIA / CLICK OR TOGGLE BELOW FOR FASTEST AVERAGE FLIGHT TIMES FROM USA.

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...WHO ARE WE?

...WHO ARE WE?

…WHO ARE WE?
…WHO ARE WE?

My name is Manny and I would like to personally welcome you to Global Visas.

Our team is dedicated to providing a consular service which focuses on attention to detail, delivering a personal approach and with a high focus on compliance. Feedback is very important to us, therefore any comments you provide about our service are invaluable.

Our team is dedicated to providing a consular service which focuses on attention to detail, delivering a personal approach and with a high focus on compliance. Feedback is very important to us, therefore any comments you provide about our service are invaluableI have provided some of my own personal testimonials over my years in immigration below; working and leading on very large projects...

I have provided some of my own personal testimonials over my years in immigration below; working and leading on very large projects.

Please do also view our introductory video at the following web link:

https://usglobalvisas.com/personal/more/about-us

We look forward to working with you and meeting all your expectations.

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“Manny. You have really gone the extra mile in supporting the US Business Visitor Service. You have demonstrated real commitment and energy, working a late shift night while we try and find others to fill the position. I know that the other night you stayed until 4am. You are always so positive and your cheerful disposition and attention to detail has resulted in excellent client feedback. On Monday the key client came to London and she was effusive about the service. This is largely due the cover you provide.”

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