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Syria Spiritual: Mosaic of Faith and History
Profile of Syria Spiritual Trip “Mosaic of Faith and History”
  • Discover Syria’s religious and cultural diversity, from ancient temples to revered shrines, mosques and monasteries.
  • Visit the underground St. Ananias Chapel in Damascus, the surviving early Christian place of worship where the Apostle Paul regained his sight.
  • Visit the iconic Umayyad Mosque, a testament to the city’s Islamic heritage and home to the Shrine of John the Baptist.
  • Explore the Jewish Quarter, one of the oldest continuously inhabited Jewish quarters, and experience its old-world charm.
  • Visit the Greek Orthodox church of Saint George in Ezra’a, showcasing distinguished religious architecture.
  • Journey to Sayyidah Zaynab, a significant shrine dedicated to the Prophet Muhammad’s granddaughter.
  • Explore Bosra, a historical site with Roman, Byzantine, and Islamic monuments, including the well-preserved Roman theater and Al-Omari Mosque.
  • Marvel at the timeless ruins of Palmyra, offering glimpses into ancient civilizations.
  • Experience the serene beauty of Wadi al-Nasara, the Valley of Christians.
  • Visit the Monastery of St. George of al Humaira, one of Syria’s oldest monasteries.
  • Journey to Mar Musa Monastery, known for its frescoes and religious tolerance.
  • Explore Maalula, a historic Christian town where Aramaic is still spoken.
  • Visit the Convent of Our Lady of Sednaya, a Christian pilgrimage center with a revered icon and panoramic views.
  • Indulge in traditional dishes to savour the Middle East’s rich culinary heritage.
  • Embrace the genuine warmth and hospitality of the local culture.
Itinerary of Syria Spiritual Trip “Mosaic of Faith and History”
 
Day 01: Beirut Int’l Airport – Damascus
  • Upon your arrival at Beirut Int’l Airport, you will be greeted and welcomed by our professional representative. From there, you will proceed with your journey to Syria.
  • Take a break at a street café for refreshments before reaching the Lebanese-Syrian border crossing.
  • After completing the necessary entry visa formalities, continue your journey to the captivating capital city of Damascus, Syria. Known for its rich tapestry of religious, ethnic, and cultural heritage, Damascus offers a captivating experience for travelers.
  • Your drop-off point will be Bab Touma, the north-eastern gate associated with the old city’s Christian neighbourhood.
  • Stroll along the ancient roadway to a boutique hotel located in the heart of old Damascus for overnight stay.
Day 02: Damascus City Tour
  • Discover the captivating city of Damascus, a vibrant capital that showcases a remarkable fusion of religious, ethnic, and cultural heritage.
  • Begin your exploration at the underground St. Ananias Chapel, the sole surviving early Christian place of worship from the 1st century in Damascus. This humble chapel reflects the simplicity of the initial Christian community and remains an active church where services are still conducted. St. Ananias Chapel holds significant religious importance as it is believed to be the site where the Apostle Paul regained his sight after encountering Jesus on the road to Damascus.
  • Take a walk along the renowned street known as Straight, which has been famous since biblical times. Previously known as Via Recta during the Roman era, this street serves as the central axis of old Damascus and gained prominence due to the conversion of Saint Paul to Christianity.
  • Explore Al-Zeitoun Church, the headquarters of the Greek Catholic Patriarchate. Known as the Cathedral of Our Lady al-Niah, the church is named after an iconic image of the Virgin Mary. Built primarily with dark basalt stone, the church showcases grand vaulted ceilings and sturdy columns. The contrast between the white-painted ceilings and the dark basalt pillars contributes to its impressive beauty.
  • Take a short stroll through bustling streets to reach the magnificent Azem Palace, an exemplary display of traditional architecture in Damascus.
  • Visit Khan Assad Pasha, the largest and most impressive among the many renovated khans (inns) within the old city
  • Continue your walk to the Mausoleum of Saladin, situated adjacent to the northwest corner of the Umayyad Mosque. This mausoleum serves as the final resting place of the medieval Ayyubid Sultan Saladin.
  • Explore the Umayyad Mosque, the fourth holiest site in the Islamic world and the spiritual center of Damascus’ Old City. Marvel at the domed mausoleum of John the Baptist, known to Muslims as the Prophet Yahya.
  • Conclude your journey with a visit to Al-Seida Raqiyeh Mosque, a captivating Shia pilgrimage site in Syria. The mosque attracts a constant flow of pilgrims who come to pay their respects at the tomb of Raqiyeh, the daughter of Hussein, the granddaughter of Ali, and the great-granddaughter of Prophet Mohammed.
Day 03: Damascus City Tour 
  • Explore the National Museum, which houses a collection of archaeological treasures that provide valuable insights into Syria’s rich history.
  • Take a walk towards the old town, making a brief stop at the bronze Statue of Saladin, which depicts the Kurdish Ayyubid Sultan Saladin. The statue is located in front of the Citadel of Damascus, a grand medieval fortified palace and is an integral part of the old town of Damascus.
  • Take a leisurely walk in Souq al-Hamidiyeh, an ancient covered bazaar renowned for its vibrant marketplace. Visitors are treated to an engaging and authentic experience that immerses them in the local culture and history. Dating back to the Ottoman era, this bustling commercial hub has thrived for centuries.
  • Visit the architectural marvel of Maktab Anbar, a testament to the harmonious fusion of Ottoman, Levantine, and European influences. This magnificent structure showcases intricate designs, ornate details, and a breathtaking courtyard. Exploring Maktab Anbar offers a splendid opportunity to appreciate the diverse architectural styles that have shaped the city’s heritage, leaving visitors in awe.
  • Discover the captivating Jewish Quarter, where history and culture intertwine seamlessly. This charming neighborhood, one of the world’s oldest continuously inhabited Jewish quarters, reflects the city’s rich and diverse heritage. Wander through its narrow, winding streets adorned with traditional houses and synagogues, and immerse yourself in the remnants of a vibrant Jewish community’s storied past. Here, you can experience the enchanting allure of an old-world ambiance.
  • Immerse yourself in the enchanting world of a traditional public bathhouse, known as a Hammam, in the historic city of Damascus. Indulge in the rejuvenating rituals and immerse yourself in the cultural significance of this timeless bathing tradition.
Day 04: Damascus – Sayyidah Zaynab – Ezra’a – Bosra
  • Journey south of Damascus visit Sayyidah Zaynab Shrine, which is dedicated to the Prophet Muhammad’s granddaughter. Experience the spiritual ambiance and witness the devotion of pilgrims who visit this sacred site in the southern outskirts of Damascus.
  • Travel to the town of Ezra’a, located on the western edge of the Hauran’s volcanic wasteland. In Ezra’a, you will visit the Greek Orthodox church of Saint George (Mar Girgis), which dates back to 515 AD and is one of the oldest operational churches in Syria. This living historical landmark showcases the distinguished religious architectural style of that era.
  • Continue your travel to Bosra, an extraordinary historical site in Syria that is a must-visit for any traveler. Bosra offers a wealth of significant historical monuments representing various periods in Syria’s history, surpassing any other location in the country. Fascinating Roman and Byzantine ruins coexist alongside remarkable early Islamic architecture. Notably, Bosra features a remarkably well-preserved 2nd-century Roman theater, early Christian ruins, and several mosques within its formidable walls. Among these is the Al-Omari Mosque, which stands as one of the oldest surviving mosques in Islamic history.
Day 05: Damascus – Palmyra – Krak des Chevaliers
  • Embark on a city tour to Palmyra, a historical site located in the Syrian desert and recognized. Palmyra is renowned for its impressive ruins, but sadly, it endured significant damage during the war. This included the destruction of notable structures such as the Temple of Bel, Temple of Baal-Shamin, Roman-era tombs, as well as the partial demolition of the Theater and Monumental Arch. Additionally, relief carvings and statues were stolen from underground tombs. However, valuable artifacts from the city’s museum have been preserved. Despite the scars of war, a visit to Palmyra allows you to witness the surviving ruins and experience the enduring spirit of the city.
  • Continue your journey to Wadi al-Nasara, a picturesque mountain resort region often referred to as the “Valley of Christians.” Immerse yourself in the tranquil landscapes, explore charming villages, and have the opportunity to meet welcoming locals.
Day 06: Krak des Chevaliers – Homs – Aleppo
  • Embark on a drive to visit the Monastery of St. George of al Humaira, which stands as one of the oldest monasteries in Syria.
  • Explore the magnificent medieval castle of Krak des Chevaliers, with profound historical significance. Marvel at its well-preserved architecture and envision the knights who valiantly defended it.
  • Drive towards Homs, where you will witness the profound devastation that occurred. However, reconstruction has commenced, and even the once-destroyed historic Souq (market) has reopened. Visit Khalid ibn al-Walid Mosque, a renowned Ottoman-era monument, stands as the most celebrated landmark in the city of Homs. Visit also St. Mary’s Church of the Holy Belt, which serves as the seat of the Syrian Orthodox Church and houses a section of the Virgin Mary’s girdle. Though damaged and looted, restoration work is currently underway. 
  • Finally, make your way to Aleppo, a city steeped in a rich and diverse history spanning thousands of years. Positioned at the crossroads of numerous trade routes, Aleppo has nurtured a vibrant cultural heritage and boasts a distinctive urban landscape. Regrettably, Aleppo suffered extensive devastation during the Syrian war and was among the most severely affected cities.
Day 07: Aleppo
  • Explore the awe-inspiring Aleppo Citadel, a remarkable fortress considered one of the most magnificent in Syria and the entire Middle East. Fortunately, it remained largely untouched during the war. This unconquerable stronghold overlooks Aleppo’s historic center, revealing layers of Hittite-era civilization hidden beneath its surface.
  • Take a leisurely stroll through the bazaar, a network of covered markets known as souks, that winds its way through the Old City. Dating back to the 1300s, the bazaar unfortunately suffered significant damage, with nearly one-third of it completely destroyed. However, Syrians are currently engaged in reconstruction efforts to restore this historical gem to its former glory.
  • Visit the Great Mosque, the oldest and largest mosque in the city, dating back to the 13th century.
  • Explore Al-Halawiyah Madrasa, which stands on the site of an ancient Byzantine cathedral.
  • Discover the Forty Martyrs Armenian Cathedral, known for its unique bell tower and Baroque architecture.
  • Visit the Saint Elias Cathedral, an Eastern Catholic church with a remarkable dome and historical significance.
  • Finally, don’t miss the Latin church with its distinctive French-style architecture and captivating interior. These religious sites showcase the rich cultural and architectural heritage of Aleppo.
Day 08: Aleppo – Hama – Mar Musa – Damascus
  • Journey to Hama, a city situated on both banks of the Orontes River. Take a leisurely stroll through Hama’s enchanting winding alleyways adorned with majestic wooden waterwheels. Visit the Great Mosque, the most impressive religious site in the city. Originally constructed by the Umayyads in the 8th century CE, it draws inspiration from the Umayyad Mosque in Damascus.
  • Embark on a journey south to visit Mar Musa al-Habashi Monastery, an ancient Catholic monastery known for its beautiful frescoes and commitment to religious tolerance. This revered site is renowned for its remarkable wall frescoes and serves as a symbol of religious tolerance, welcoming individuals of all faiths.
Day 09: Damascus – Maalula – Sednaya
  • Travel to Maalula, a historic Christian town renowned for its charming painted houses, picturesque setting, and intriguing caves. What makes Maalula truly unique is its Aramaic-speaking population, who still preserve the ancient language spoken by Jesus Christ. Immerse yourself in the town’s rich cultural heritage, visit its historic monasteries, and witness the traditions and way of life of the local community.
  • Embark on a scenic drive to Sednaya, a renowned Christian pilgrimage center north of Damascus. Explore the Convent of Our Lady of Sednaya, steeped in history and tradition. Marvel at the revered Shaghurah icon and visit numerous chapels and monasteries, including the Cherubim Monastery offering panoramic views. Discover the impressive bronze statue of Jesus Christ near the monastery.
Day 10: Damascus – Beirut Int’l Airport
  • Free day to explore city at your own pace. Visit local markets beyond the popular Souq al-Hamidiyeh, and stumble upon charming cafes or traditional workshops tucked away in the city’s winding alleys.
  • In the afternoon, travel to Beirut Int’l Airport for your departure flight, bidding farewell to Syria with cherished memories of its rich history, cultural heritage, and warm hospitality; or extend your journey to include Lebanon and Jordan alongside your visit to Syria.
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