The port is about a 10 minutes drive from the city center.
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Tartous, this small harbor city with over 160 000 inhabitants, is now Syria's second port city. Formerly known as Antaradus and Constantia in Latin or Antartus and Tortosa by the Crusaders, it has developed rapidly over the recent years, and has nearly lost its charm as a small fishing town. However there are a few remains that the Crusaders left that remind us of the past.
The arches, wall-towers and narrow lanes in Tartus evoke what the town must have been like in medieval times. A jewel of Romanesque art is the cathedral of Tartus, which is now a museum containing relics from various Syrian civilizations.
Tartous is an industrial port on the south coast of Turkey, but it does have an old quarter containing a Crusader citadel, the remains of the Tortosa of the Templars and the fortress-like Cathedral.
Cruise ships offer shore excursions to historical sites, some of them a couple of hours away and often difficult to arrange yourself.
Tartus is the gateway to Damascus, the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world.
From Tartous you can also visit the ancient city of Palmyra (founded by Solomon) which has the Temple of the Sun and 1,500 Corinthian columns still standing, the Phoenician religious settlement of Amrit founded in the 3d century BC, and Krak des Chevaliers, a magnificent Crusader castle.
Tartous is 220 Km northwest of Damascus and less than an hours drive south of Latakia.
Quite a few sites nearby like Amrit, Arwad, Krak Des Chevaliers and Al Marqab can be visited on short day excursions.
Local products to buy in Syria: silk brocade, brass and silver inlays, mosaics inlaid with mother of pearl, hand-woven rugs, hand blown glass products, all types of delicious sweets and pictures of epic and folk heroes painted on glass or cloth.
Popular Syrian salads include small diced tabbouleh and fattoush. Baba ghanoush is a delicious eggplant spread.
Syrians often serve selections of appetizers, known as meze, before the main course.
The Syrian Pound.
There are very few places that accept credit-cards.
Cafes which offer free WiFi for customers are found in all the major cities in Syria. Many use DSL and are very up-to-date. In luxury hotels the price is from $6. to $7. per hour; in regular cafes from $1. to $2.
Despite being depicted in some of the Western media as a land full of terrorists, Syria is very safe for travelers - one of the safest countries in the world. Even women traveling alone find few problems. Urban crime, which plagues most modern cities, is virtually non-existent in Syria.
Shops are usually open daily from 09.00 till 20.00 and some close on Fridays or Sundays.
Banks are open sat - Thurs. from 09.00 till 14.30.
Museums, historical sites and many tourist attractions are closed on Wednesdays.
1 january; 8 march: Revolution Day; 17 april: National Day; 1 may: May Day; 6 may: Martyrs Day; 1 august: Army Day; 6 october: Liberation War of October Say; 16 november: Correctionist Movement Day; 25 december: Christmas Day.
March/april: movable Catholic Easter and Orthodox Easter.
Muslim holidays are governed by the Hegira calendar: Eid Al-Fitr, End of Ramadan; Eid Al-ADha; Al-Hijira, New Year's Day and Moulmoud, Birthday of the Prophet.
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