Syria - Tourism, travel, and recreation

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Syria has many famous tourist attractions, such as the Krak des Chevaliers, a Crusaders' castle; Ra's Shamrah, site of the ancient city of Ugarit; Ar-Rusafah, with its early Christian monuments and a Muslim palace; and the ancient town of Dura Europus (now As-Salihiyah). Palmyra, the capital of Queen Zenobia, is a fairly well preserved ruin of an Arabo-Hellenic city. The Umayyad Mosque, which incorporates parts of the Byzantine Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, in Damascus, is popular. Syria's mountains and Mediterranean beaches also attract visitors.

Passports, visas, and smallpox vaccinations are required of visitors. In 2000, there were 3,014,758 visitor arrivals, mostly from neighboring Middle Eastern countries, and tourist expenditures totaled $1 billion. As of that year, Syria had 15,461 hotel rooms with 34,209 bed-places, and the hotel occupancy rate was 23%.

According to 2002 US government estimates, the cost of staying in Damascus was $218 per day.

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