What to See in Latakia (Syria)

According to Source Makeup, the main city of the Mediterranean coast of Syria and the main seaport of the country is Latakia . It was built during the Seleucid dynasty in the 2nd century BC. There are not many historical sights in the city itself. Only the columns have survived, a Roman arch from the 2nd century AD. and the Turkish building Cann al-Dukan, which now houses a museum. But in the vicinity of Latakia, you can visit the ruins of ancient cities and medieval castles.

4 km north of Latakia are the ruins of the ancient city-state Ugarit, which flourished here in the 2nd millennium BC. During excavations in Ugarit, a clay tablet with the world’s oldest alphabet was found, now it is stored in the National Museum in Damascus. Also, not far from Latakia, it is worth looking at Saladin’s castle, which under the crusaders had the name Saon. It was built by the crusaders in the 12th century on a high hill on the site of a Byzantine fortress from the 10th century. The castle received a new name from the Arabs in honor of the famous Muslim commander who conquered this fortress from the Crusaders in 1188. The fortress is well preserved and practically not rebuilt.

In the vicinity of Latakia, to the north and south of the city, beaches stretch along the entire coast. Syrian beaches are not very well maintained, but they are surrounded by very beautiful landscapes – hills, mountains and forests. You can swim here from May to November. Some of the best beaches in Syria are located to the north Latakia – Al-Samra, the sandy part of which is located on the territory of Turkey and the rocky part is on the territory of Syria, Badrousseikh and Ras al-Bassit. Also, for relaxation, I’ll go to the beach with volcanic black sand Wadi al-Kandil, the rocky beach of Burj Islam and Jable.

To the east of Latakia in the mountains there are numerous resorts with a pleasant climate, mineral springs and picturesque nature. These resorts include Slenfe, located at an altitude of 1200 m, 50 km from Latakia. Moreover, Slenfe also functions in winter and is suitable for lovers of skiing. It is worth noting that there are no specially equipped slopes and lifts here, so you will have to bring the necessary equipment yourself. Other popular summer resorts around Latakia are Kasaband Salma.

55 km south of Latakia on the coast is the city of Banyas. Not far from here, on a hill, one of the last castles of the Crusaders, built of black basalt, has been preserved – Al-Markab. Initially, in the 11th century, it was an Arab fortress. It was built on a 500 m high mountain, later the crusaders conquered the fortress. It was a truly impregnable fortress of impressive size, with 14 towers, surrounded by a deep moat, which even the Arab commander Saladin did not attack. Misaf summer resort is located 50 km east of Banyas at an altitude of 400 m. In addition to natural beauty, the resort boasts the Arab citadel of the same name, which was captured by the crusaders in 1103 and recaptured by the Arabs in 1140.

If you go even further south along the coast, you can get to the second most important seaport in Syria – Tartus. Ancient Tartus was the main seaport of the crusaders and at that time was called Tortosa. In Tartus, the castle of the Crusaders and the Cathedral of the Mother of God of Tartu, made in the Gothic style, have been preserved, which now houses a museum with archaeological finds. In the vicinity of Tartus in the mountains are the summer resort Draykish, famous for its mineral springs, and Safita. Arvad Island, the only island belonging to Syria, is located in the sea 3 km from Tartus. Boats depart from the mainland. The island is interesting for the fortress of the Crusaders of the 13th century, where the museum is now located, the Arab castle, inside which tourists are not allowed, and the remains of the Phoenician wall. There are souvenir shops at almost every step on the island.

Latakia (Syria)