Damascus (…) is the capital of Syria and its second largest city, with about 4.5 million people.Established between 10,000 to 8,000BC, Damascus is credited with being the oldest continuously inhabited city & capital in the world. The old-walled city, in particular, feels very ancient and largely consists of a maze of narrow alleys, punctuated by enigmatic doors that lead into pleasing, verdant courtyards and blank-faced houses. The old city still has an authentic medieval feel to it, although this is vanishing fast due to the increasing tourist traffic as the city continues to be highlighted as an attraction. Life, however, goes on in the old-walled city, which is still the religious and social centre of the city.Syria’s busiest airport is the Damascus International Airport.There are internal flights to Qamishli, and Latakia, costing approximately 1000 SP one way, The airport is relatively well-equipped with most standard services. The tax-free assortment is limited, but prices are very low, especially on perfume. You might find better bargains on goods such as Lebanese wine, arak (an unsweetened, aniseed-flavored, alcoholic beverage) and similar items before departing the airport. Getting Syrian pounds at Damascus International Airport might be tricky, as the change counters only accept US dollars. There are two ATMs in the main lobby that accept credit cards and foreign debit cards, but they tend to be unreliable. Your best bet is to bring a small amount of US dollars with you into Syria, and change it at the airport until you can withdraw from Damascus ATMs.The average fare from the airport to the city is 1500 SP. the prices became that high because nowadays only Taxi Companies are allowed to pickup customers from the Airport, Fares are typically about 500 SP going from the city to the airport by Taxi, however, may vary depending on your bargaining skills.There are also buses departing to and from Baramkeh bus station in the centre of town (airport buses are the only ones which serve this bus station now – all other services have moved to the new out of town Soumaria bus station). The price is 45 SP + 25 for your luggage and there are departures every half an hour, 24 hours a day. At the airport, come out of the terminal and turn right – you will find the bus at the end of the building. There is a small ticket office. The buses have been upgraded in recent years and have become very good.The bus will drop you a bit far from the Old City, but there many taxis around to get you there. Make sure to ask for the meter, and you should pay less than 50 SP, depending on traffic.Service Taxis are available to Amman and Irbid in Jordan. Depending on the political situation, these also service Beirut and other points in Lebanon, as well as points in Iraq. Since the closure of the more central Baramkeh Station, these service taxis leave from Soumaria (pronounced like the girls’ names “Sue Maria”), which is a 10-15 minute taxi ride from central Damascus, along Autostrade Mezzeh. The bus number 15 and 21 will take you to Soumaria station from the bus stop next to Matry’s place.Damascus is well served by buses internally in the country. There are two bus stations: the western bus station serves destinations west and south (including Amman and Beirut), while the northern bus station serves destinations north (including Aleppo). Regular buses to Damascus leave Amman, Jordan, the trip including crossing the border takes about 4 hours and cost approximately 6-9JD.Hatay Turizm from Antakya/Turkey has regular buses to the city. You can board on these in Istanbul as well. Normally, you will have to reserve a seat one day or more in advance, and although prices may vary, you can get a busticket for 80 YTL.When arriving into Damascus by bus, make sure to move away from the bus terminal to find a taxi to the centre of town. Otherwise, you run the risk of paying several times the going rate, which should be around SYP150-200, as cars posing as taxis operate next to the terminal. This is normally a two-man operation, with one person trying to distract you, while the driver puts your suitcase into the trunk of the “taxi” and locks it.Upon arrival at the western bus station, city bus #15 will take you to Al-Marjeh Square in Souq SaroujaOld Town (where you can find many hotels) for 10 SYP.At rush hours (10AM-4PM), the best way of transport is on foot. Smoking is absolutely forbidden in all public transport ways. A very good idea is to go on foot especially for a sightseeing, and it’s the only way to get around in Old Damascus. Walking in the new city however, should be reserved to the nicer areas of Maliki and Abu-Rumaneh, as the new city tends to be pollution clogged. The driving culture in Damascus is not the safest, so beware as a pedestrian, especially in the new city. Cars will not hesitate to come extremely close to pedestrians or other cars in order to pass.It isn’t a very good idea to rent a car in Damascus. There is almost always a traffic jam, especially in summer, and parking tends to be difficult too

Airport: DAM Damascus International Airport Cities in Switzerland

Country: Syria