11,000 yr old 'modernist' painting unearthed in Syria

The oldest painting in the world was unearthed underground in Syria by French archaeologists. The 11,000 yr old two square-meter painting that dates back to 9,000 BC is surprisingly modernistic with red, black and white squares all over.
Where do you think the colors came from? Hematite rock gave the red color, while crushed limestone and charcoal were used for the white and black.
Syrian artist, Mustafa Ali says that such patterns are commonly used in Persian carpets and rugs. The painting will be housed in the Aleppo’s museum next year. The earlier officially declared oldest painting was a 1,500 year old one that was found in Turkey.Source & Image

source:Ecotourism Blog


السياحة البيئية في سورية

يشكل قضاء يوم كامل أو عدة أيام في البرية متعة كبيرة للعديد منا. حيث نحضر طعامنا معنا أو نقوم بتحضيره ونجلب العديد من التسالي لكي تساعدنا على قضاء وقت ممتع. وبعد الانتهاء، نجمع أغراضنا ونرحل. ولكن، ماذا عن النفايات؟العديد من المواقع التي يقصدها السياح والزوار للاستجمام أصبحت مغطاة بأكياس النايلون وقشور الفواكه والعلب وغيرها. فما أكثر اللذين يتركون المخلفات مدّعين أن "الرياح ستأخذها"!نعم، إن الرياح ستأخذها، لكن إلى أين؟ ستأخذها إلى الأرض المجاورة أو إلى الطريق، أو إلى النهر المجاور.يقوم آخرون بحرق النفايات، لكن الحرق يترك أثراً سلبياً على صحة من يقوم بإشعال النار أولاً وعلى صحة المصطافين الذين يستنشقون تلك الغازات السامة. بل وإن المواد الناتجة عن الإحتراق قد تسبب تلوثاً للتربة. بالإضافة إلى إمكانية أن تسبب النفايات المحروقة، وخاصة في حال لم يتم إطفاء النار بشكل جيد، حرائق للأراضي الزراعية والغابات المجاورة.وعلى كل حال، فإن النفايات الزجاجية أو المعدنية لا تحترق وتبقى في الموقع.ويظن البعض بأن الحل الأمثل هو أن ندفن نفاياتنا قرب مواقع تخييمنا أو استجمامنا، ولكن رائحة المعلبات وغيرها ستجذب الحيوانات ليلاً لتقوم بنبش ما تم دفنه وإعادة نثره!إذاً ما الحل؟الحل هو بكل بساطة أن نأخذ نفاياتنا معنا ونضعها في حاويات القرى والمدن المجاورة!لا تقلقوا من الروائح أو الحشرات، فالقليل من الإجراءات الاحتياطية كأخذ أكياس كبيرة لوضع نفاياتنا فيها ومن ثم إغلاقها بإحكام هي أمور كفيلة بإبعاد تلك الحشرات والتخلص من الروائح.سيمر عمّال البلدية لاحقاً وسيقومون بأخذ النفايات إلى المطامر لكي تطمر
النفايات في أماكن مخصصة وبشكل صحي. أو إلى معامل التكرير، حيث سيتم تكرير الورق والبلاستيك (اللدائن) وأحياناً النفايات المعدنية والزجاج
عمرو الفحام ©Ecotourism Syria


Syrian Food: Four Courses of Heaven

Staples: Olives, dips, zesty salads, grilled chicken or lamb and hyper sweet deserts
Tastes: Fresh and healthy, lots of varieties, hot and cold with either hot and spicy, zesty or creamy (yoghurt) palates.
Best Dishes: Sharwa - delicious street meat or the Druze cousa (stuffed zucchini)Serving Suggestion: A lively night with a Syrian family at home, mezes followed by salad, meat and tooth aching baklawa desert. Enjoyed leisurely and sociably.

What Syrian food lacks in variety, it makes up for in delicious, fresh flavours and savoury spices. Damascenes are tremendously proud of their local food and are not big consumers of the food of other cultures - Chinese or Mexican, for example. There are a few ethnic restaurants in the large hotels, but most of the restaurant you'll see in Damascus serve Syrian food.
A few burger and pizza joints have popped up recently. Their interpretations of classic Western food are often amusing, but surprisingly tasty. You might find hamburgers that contain fried eggs or french fries. The Syrian interpretation of pizza, while probably not giving Chicago or Napoli a run for the money, is quite good. It's got the usual array of ingredients - sausage, cheese, tomato sauce - but the seasonings are distinctly Arabic.
Visiting a RestaurantThere are many restaurants in Damascus serving traditional Syrian fare. Most of the time, there is no menu - so no worries about reading Arabic! You simply chose the type of meat you want. Every meal you eat will likely include lots of flat bread. The bread doubles as a utensil - for picking up bits of food - or a napkin, for discreetly wiping a bit of dip off your fingers. Western style cutlery is available, but it's much more fun to eat "arab style" grabbing bites of food with small pieces of bread. It's considered haram, shameful, to throw away all but the smallest pieces of bread, but this is a cultural habit that is more likely to be followed in private homes rather than in restaurants.

Guide Written by Erika Linden Green-Rafeh http://www.pilotguides.com/


Walking & Nature tours

One of our Many activities in Ecotourism Syria is walking,each time you'll find a different adventure,and a new place to enjoy walking ,and get socially involved with various freinds with diferent backgrounds but all share the love of nature,,
This time we choosed a seven hours hike from Bloudan to Halboun.
For joining our walking groups please contact: ecotourism.syria@yahoo.com

The Japanese Embasador in Syria and his wife.

walking from Bloudan to Halboun Village ,,
Bloudan is a nice area in the anti Lebanon Mountains ,,

Snow covering Mountains ,,but still a very pleasent walk through,,

Enjoy Lots of wild flowers on the way during the walk..

A beautiful scenery for the mountain,,
Photos byM.Abido ©Ecotourism.Syria


Beekeeping in Syria

Beekeping at Hafe (650m) ©M.S.Abido
Beekeeping is practiced in all geographical areas of Syria using native and exotic bees. this industry is florishing especially in agricultural areas wher major agricultural crops are produced. Best and high quality honey is obtained from hives kept in mountain areas where bees are grazed on natural vegetation. Modern as well as old fashion hives are placed in proper places during spring and summer where flowers of raised as well as wild growing plants are available. Pollen are collected by bees and honey is made. In the Winter hives are sheltered or moved to warm locations. Honey produced in mountain areas are assumed to be collected from wild flowers. It is free from chemical residues.

Mountain Honey
The Flora
The main honey flows:

-citrus trees
-eucalyptus globulus, grandis
-fruit trees (almond trees, apple trees)
-mountain plants (thyme, rosemary, cistus, thistles)
-heathers erica, calluna


Sacred Sites and Religious Places of Syria

Convent of Our Lady, Seidnaya
The Virgin Mary appears to Justinian with the plans for the convent of Seidnaya (© Hovic).
Straight Street (Via Recta), Damascus
Monumental arch and souq at the center of Straight Street (© Vinayak Nagaraj
The spectacular Roman theater at Bosra. Photo © Peter Brubacher
Krak des Chevaliers
Krak des Chevaliers, perhaps the best Crusader castle there is. Photo: A travers.
Monastery of Mar Mousa al-Habashi
The remarkable frescoes of Mar Mousa Monastery, Syria (photo © Hovic).

The Greek Orthodox monastery of St. Thecla (Mar Takla).

Icons in Mar Takla monastery, Maalula. Photo © Peter Brubacher.


Wild Flowers of Syria

Gynandriris sisyrinchium - Iridaceae

Cercis siliquastrum - Caesalpiniaceae

Pyrus syriaca - Rosaceae

Spartium junceum - Fabaceae
Photos by ©M.S.Abido .All rights reserved.


Mystery of where bald ibis goes in winter is solved

Northen Bald Ibis ©Stehen Daly
It's a weird-looking bird, a mysterious bird, and one of the rarest on earth. Now at least part of its mystery has been solved.
Satellite tracking has enabled scientists to find the wintering grounds of birds from one of the only two known colonies of the bald ibis, a wader once found in Europe, but now on the brink of extinction in north Africa and the Middle East.
Its population has shrunk to 250 at a site on the Atlantic coast of Morocco, and a tiny group of 13 birds found in 2002, near the city of Palmyra in Syria, 150 miles north-east of Damascus.
While the Moroccan birds are resident on their nesting areas all year round, the Syrian ibis migrates south at the end of the summer - and a tracking experiment has found out where. The adult birds fly nearly 2,000 miles across seven countries and the Red Sea, to spend the winter in the highlands of Ethiopia, 50 miles from the country's capital Addis Ababa.
This week, the three birds that were tagged, christened by scientists Sultan, Salam and Zenobia - the latter named after Palmyra's third century warrior queen celebrated in Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire - have returned from Ethiopia to their Syrian nesting cliffs. It is hoped the other, younger birds that were part of last year's colony, thought to have migrated somewhere else, will soon join them.
Birds in the ibis family are distant relatives of storks and herons.

The bald ibis, Geronticus eremita, has a bald head, scruffy feathers in a punk-like tuft on the neck, a long, curved, red bill and a bronze and purple shine on a black body. It was was revered by the Egyptian Pharaohs and had its own hieroglyph.
It was once widespread in the Middle East, northern Africa and the European Alps - there were breeding populations across Germany, Austria, Switzerland - but, by 1900, the birds had disappeared from much of their range. In the 20th century, colonies were extinguished in Syria and Algeria, largely by hunting.
The current Syrian tagging project is funded by Britain's Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) as well as The National Geographic Society. Bedouin nomads and rangers from the Syrian Ministry of Agriculture and Agrarian Reform protect the breeding site and the new data will help conservationists guard the birds in migration and in winter.
"The birds' return is a huge relief," said Dr Ken Smith, a senior RSPB scientist. "Knowing the migration route is a major breakthrough and means we can now tackle the huge challenge of protecting the birds throughout the year. The next riddle we must solve is where the young birds go and how we can safeguard them as well."
Paul Buckley, the RSPB's International Officer explained: "None of the nine younger birds in Syria last summer have been seen and that suggests that they use a different over-wintering site."

From the Independent By Michael McCarthy, Environment Editor
Published: 02 March 2007

The Fronloq protected area in Latakia Syria

Al Fronloq, which extends up to 4,500 ha. Is located in the northwestern coastal region of Syria. It has a unique northern (European) natural vegetation. It is a place where you can tour in designed tracts the protected area and see natural beauty of streams and various herbaceous plants.

The Fronloq protected area (35.51N, 36.00E-580m) is located in the Al- Bayer sub-district of the governorate of Lattakia (North west Syria), about 47 kilometers of Lattakia city. The Lattakia-Kassab road forms the Western border of the protected area. Whereas the “current Syrian Turkish borders” forms the most northern borders of the site. From the East, a 50-100m strip bound the site to the east of nahr Al Kabier Al shamali. Agricultural lands of Al-saraf, Zahie, Al-kabier, Biet shardaq and Kantara villages form the southern borders


Syrian silk brocade(Natural silk)

photo from :www.arabiannights.ca/brocade.html
Hareer (Brocade)
As one of the Eco tourism ingredients The famous Syrian silk brocade"Brocard" is one of the most luxurious products made of natural silk.
Damascus city is famous of making many types of natural silk especially the Brocade. Everything for brocade production is supplied locally - from untreated silk, to natural dyes.

Hareer (Agabani)


The Cedar and Fir protected Area in Latakia/ Syria

The Cedar and Fir protected area covers 1300 ha. of distinctive vegetation primarily Cedrus libani and Abies cilicica. It is located 40 km east of Lattakia at an elevation 1200-1570 m. It is a bird watching site and a place for learning natural conservation.

Paeonia muscula
A 20 km west of the Cedar and Forest protected area the citadel of Salah ed Din is located high in the coastal mountain range. It is just also a 24 kilometres east of Lattakia. Its natural setting is spectacular, resting high on a ridge between two deep ravines, and surrounded by forest. Much of what remains visible today dates from the Crusaders, who occupied the site around 1100 AD.

Cedar and Forest protected Area

The Citadel of Salah Ed-Din
The seven pages illustrated document describes the history and possible sight seeing of The Citadel of Salah Ed-Din. url :



Within the Mediterranean only the loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta) and the green turtle (Chelonia mydas) nest (Margaritoulis, 2003) with the green turtle population being so depleted from historic levels it is listed as critically endangered in the IUCN Red Lists (ERASG, 1996). Recent population reviews for loggerhead turtles (Margaritoulis et al 2003) and green turtles (Kasparek et al, 2001) indicated that little was known concerning the status of sea turtle populations in Syria.
In 2004, during beach surveying efforts for nesting turtles in Syria, a ‘major’ new green turtle population was discovered on the 12.5km beach south of Lattakia City (Rees et al, in press). Additionally it was learned that there are high levels of interactions between Syrian fisheries and marine turtles (Jony & Rees, in press; Rees et al, 2004).
Both nocturnal surveys during the nesting season and co-operative efforts with fishermen afforded the first opportunities to observe turtles in the wild, to obtain basic biometric data and tag the turtles before they returned to the sea after nesting or were released after being caught in fishing nets.



Joint Expedition to Tell Umm el-Marra, Syria

(Jabbul plain, looking south towards Jabbul salt lake)
Located east of Aleppo, a dominant urban center of northern Syria since Bronze Age times, the Jabbul plain controls an important east-west route linking Aleppo and the Mediterranean with Mesopotamia. Most of the plain receives enough precipitation for dry farming, but annual rainfall decreases from west to east, resulting in a dry, agriculturally marginal region in the eastern fringes of the Jabbul. Historically, this eastern zone is utilized by nomadic pastoralists tending herds of sheep and goat.
http //www.jhu.edu/neareast/uem/page9.html


The 4 Syrian Sites on the UNESCO's World Heritage List

o Ancient City of Damascus (1979)
o Ancient City of Bosra (1980)
o Site of Palmyra (1980)
o Ancient City of Aleppo (1986)

Old Damascus
Administrative District of Damascus
N33 30 41 E36 18 23
ref: 20
Brief Description
Founded in the 3rd millennium B.C., Damascus is one of the oldest cities in the Middle East. In the Middle Ages, it was the centre of a flourishing craft industry, specializing in swords and lace. The city has some 125 monuments from different periods of its history – one of the most spectacular is the 8th-century Great Mosque of the Umayyads, built on the site of an Assyrian sanctuary.

Governorate of Deraa
N32 31 05 E36 28 54
ref: 22
Brief Description
Bosra, once the capital of the Roman province of Arabia, was an important stopover on the ancient caravan route to Mecca. A magnificent 2nd-century Roman theatre, early Christian ruins and several mosques are found within its great walls.

Brief DescriptionProvince of Homs
N34 33 15 E38 16 00
ref: 23
An oasis in the Syrian desert, north-east of Damascus, Palmyra contains the monumental ruins of a great city that was one of the most important cultural centres of the ancient world. From the 1st to the 2nd century, the art and architecture of Palmyra, standing at the crossroads of several civilizations, married Graeco-Roman techniques with local traditions and Persian influences.

Ancient City of Aleppo
Brief DescriptionAleppo
N36 11 58 E37 09 45
ref: 21
Located at the crossroads of several trade routes from the 2nd millennium B.C., Aleppo was ruled successively by the Hittites, Assyrians, Arabs, Mongols, Mamelukes and Ottomans. The 13th-century citadel, 12th-century Great Mosque and various 17th-century madrasas, palaces, caravanserais and hammams all form part of the city's cohesive, unique urban fabric, now threatened by overpopulation.

Why visit Syria?

Syria is one of the most beautiful destinations in the world and still relatively undiscovered by mass tourism. Landscape ranges from forests in the northwest to beaches on Syria's Mediterranean coast. Syria is often called "The cradle of civilizations" because there is no civilization in the east or west throughout the world history that didn't pass through Syria to leave a mark, but also to be deeply affected by Syria's long history.

It was here the first alphabets were invented that Greek and Roman culture helped to conquer over the world. It was here that civilization began over ten thousand years ago at Mereibet, Jeyround and Yabroud.

Old Aleppo city ©Muthafar Salim (Nature Iraq)
Due to its unique position at the point three continents meet each other Syria has been the focal point of ancient civilization. It was the crossroad between the Caspian Sea, the Indian Ocean, the Black Sea, and the Nile River. For thousands of years Syria controlled the silk route which led from China to Doura Europos (Salhiyeh), from Palmyra and Homs to the Syrian ports on Mediterranean, where Syrian seafarers had ridden the wave in their enormous fleets with their famous white sails. Up to this day silk is an important industry in Syria. In Damascus, Hama and Aleppo the silk weavers still work at the same sort of wooden handlooms their ancestors used in Ebla four thousand years ago.

If you are interested in history and historical monuments, you cannot miss Syria. The country is literary packed with the ruins and monuments of almost all civilizations that passed through here. Today these ancient sites are still the most visited attractions.

There’s Qalaat Samaan were St Simeon sat on his 15 meter tall pillar for 36 years and preached to thousands of pilgrims that cam to visit this most holy man in the early middle ages.

There’s Palmyra, the ancient caravans stop between the Mediterranean world and the empires of the East - Mesopotamia, Persia and India. In the days of desert queen Zenobia it really was a cosmopolitan city, were east met west and exchanged exotics. It was here the gigantic temple of Baal rose up in the heart of the city. Now it’s a city in ruins, best known for the “Valley of Tombs”.

In the North you will find the big crusaders' castle Le Crac des Chevaliers and the cities of Aleppo and Hama. And, adjacent to the Turkish border close to Hatay, there’s the ruins of the “Dead Cities” Al Bara, Serdjilla, Qalbe Lbrse and Qirbirze. Piles of rock that were once houses palaces and churches lay abandoned on the vast desolated plains of the Idleb Province.

Fronlok protected area
All these things and the very pleasant population make a trip to Syria an unforgettable one.

Arwad Island

This is the only island in Syria, and it is located 3 kms from Tartus. It was an independent kingdom named Aradus in the days of Canaanites. It was often mentioned in inscriptions because of its importance in commerce and seafaring.
Arwad provided shelter for those escaping from foreign invasions in ancient times, especially for the people of Amrit in the south of Tartus.
Arwad is just off the coast of Tartous. There are many boats making the trip and it's a nice excursion to make. There is no need to look for accommodation on the island - it's easier found on the mainland.

There are two small castles on the island, a crusader fort from the 13 century and an arabic castel. There is also remains of a phoenician wall.You can roam around freely. Locals claim theirs castles was built by Alexander the great.


Principles of Sustainable Tourism

Some of the most important principles of sustainable tourism development include:
Tourism should be initiated with the help of broad-based community-inputs and the community should maintain control of tourism development.
Tourism should provide quality employment to its community residents and a linkage between the local businesses and tourism should be established.
A code of practice should be established for tourism at all levels - national, regional, and local - based on internationally accepted standards. Guidelines for tourism operations, impact assessment, monitoring of cumulative impacts, and limits to acceptable change should be established.
Education and training programmes to improve and manage heritage and natural resources should be established.
Source: Jamieson, Walter and Alix Noble, "A Manual for Sustainable Tourism Destination MAnagement" CUC-UEM Project, AIT, 2000

Top Ten Deserts to Explore

Sand patterns in the Arabian Desert (Corel)
Source: Gorp.com
Syrian and Arabian Deserts
By Ethan Gelber

Dominating the southwestern edge of the Asian continent, two deserts of distinctly different character are a formidable barrier between the Asian steppe and the Mediterranean. The Syrian Desert is an arid rocky wasteland covering northern Saudi Arabia, eastern Jordan, southern Syria, and western Iraq. Formed by lava flows, the rock and gravel steppe is utterly barren, but crossed today by oil pipelines. In the south, a nomad-inhabited desert mountainous region known as Al-Hammad gives way to the great Arabian Desert. Famous in film as an endless blur of sand and terra cotta—colored plains, black lava flows, and red-tinted dunes, the Arabian Desert is unmistakable. Although hard to discern and despite the endless sand-swirling winds, there is life in this desert. Only the Rub' al-Khali, Arabic for the "Empty Quarter," is truly deserted. The largest uninterrupted sand-covered spread on the earth and one of the driest regions in the world, the Rub' al-Khali occupies most of the central southern Arabian Peninsula. In 1948, Al-Ghawar, the world's largest oil field, was discovered here.


Photo Gallery of Syria

Sternbergia clusiana Endandered speices on CITES list