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Khan As’ad Pasha al-Azem in Damascus

Ten interesting facts about Syria

1. Damascus was once a major hub for textiles, that a certain type of weaving technique called Damask derived its name from the capital.

2. It is customary to applaud during public speeches every time the name of Syria’s president is uttered.

3. History records suggest that swords handcrafted in Damascus undergo a special procedure of plunging the hot blades into the urine of a boy with red hair or into a body with well-defined muscles.

4. There are more than a million Argentineans of Syrian lineage. This is largely due to the exodus of many Syrians to South America in the 19th century.

5. The famous writer and British Army officer TE Lawrence once worked as an archaeologist in Syria. His role in the war between the Arabs and Turks earned him the moniker Lawrence of Arabia.

6. Posidonius, one of Greece’s famed philosophers, was born in the ancient city of Apamea.

7. If you view images of Syria and neighboring Iraq taken with a satellite, you’ll see signs of major roads that were used by ancient civilizations more than four thousand years ago.

8. Archaeologists believe that the ruins in Syria’s Hamoukar, near the Iraqi border, point to a settlement dating back to as early as 3500 BC, much earlier than the construction of Egypt’s pyramids.

9. One of the earliest agricultural centers in the world, Tell Abu Hureyra was discovered in the Euphrates valley in Syria. The settlement was established some 13,500 years ago.

10. Syria has a lone island called Arwad, which is near the port city of Tartus.