I had a very early AM arrival to Damascus
Ummayad Mosque by dusk
Customs and passport control at Damascus International Airport was a breeze, in the arrival hall i changed my USD into Syrian Pounds and took a shuttle bus to downtown, where I anchored in Al Haramayn hotel.
mosque in the Old City
Marjeh Square (Square of Martyrs)
snowfall in Syria... going by bus from Damascus to Hamah
wooden wheels (norias) in Hamah
Next day morning i left Damascus and headed to the north, to Hamah. It was cold and rained and as we climbed up bit higher to the mountains it even snowed! In Hamah i explored some of the huge ancient water wheels - norias, and later in the evening set myself in hotel Riad - 700 SYP a night. For next day i sign up for a tour to Masyaf Fortress and famous crusader castle Crac des Chevaliers.
Crac des Chevaliers
Crac des Chevaliers - early Gothic
Especially Crac des Chevaliers is an interesting site. Highly recommend to pay it a visit if you will be in Syria.
ancient Apamea - view towards the Central Column
Following day, after just around one hour of driving on narrow roads we get to ruins of Apamea (built around 3rd century BC). Already the first view of the long columns colonade was astonishing. No other tourists were there, so one could really enjoy the place. If this site would stand in a country like Egypt, there would be at least 50 buses of tourists and hundreds of touts offering you some crappy souvenirs.
view from Apamea towards fortified village and snowcapped Coastal Mountains
Dead cities north of Hamah
After Apamea we drive further to the north to Serjilla and Al-Bara, two of the so called Dead Cities. Al-Bara is interesting thanks to it's pyramid-shapped houses, but i liked Serjilla more.
in lanes of the Old Damascus
Ummayad Mosque seen from Mount Qasioun
My time for the north of Syria was over and unfortunately i did not have time for visit of Aleppo. Taking a bus back to Damascus and spending rest of the day there strolling around Old City and visiting the Ummayad Mosque once again. Next day follows just the return flight home.
It was a short trip, but i was satisfied. Syria is definitely worth visiting - you will hardly find a country, which on relatively small space would have so many sights and interesting places to visit.