Syria Tour Guide: Latakia
Syria Tour Guide: Latakia Last updated on Monday 26th April 2010
Syria's main port is on the north coast, on the shores of the Mediterranean. Known to the ancient world as Laodicea, it has grown from a small fishing village to today's thriving port. Its surrounding beaches and large, out-of-town hotels are much favoured by local holidaymakers, but the beaches are often too littered with rubbish to be of great interest to foreign visitors.
The port itself is said to date from about 400BC and contains a ruin of the Temple of Bacchus and a triumphal archway. Its streets are wide and tree-lined, giving it an almost European ambience.
It provides a good base from which to visit the ruins of the ancient city of Ras Shamra, 16km away. Known in ancient times as Ugarit, this was once a thriving centre for trade with Egypt, Greece and Mesopotamia. The stone-built city has been excavated by the French for the last fifty years and a variety of palaces, temples and houses have been unearthed.
The earliest-known complete alphabet has been found here, written on well-preserved tablets and now on display in museums in Latakia, Aleppo and Damascus, as well as in the Paris Louvre. Local buses depart for the ruins hourly from Latakia.
Latakia is the sea-gate to Syria. It is well provided with accommodation and is well placed as a base for which to explore the coastal regions of the country.
The city is connected to other main cities in the country by a network of highways and asphalt roads, and can easily be reached by public transport.
Hotels, restaurants and chalets of different standards meet every taste.
The tourist information centre at the entrance of the city provides tourists with necessary information.
Latakia "The Pearl of the Coast" blooms every year when celebrating the "Mahabba Festival" which takes place from the second till the twelfth of August. This cultural sportive and artistic event attracts many Arab and foreign tourists.