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Culture of Syria

In Damascus (Photo Shutterstock)

Syria has a rich cultural life. Damascus and Aleppo been cultural centres for centuries, and today, the arts are still very much alive in these cities. Museums may be somewhat run down, but there are many art galleries showing contemporary art. Music – traditional as well as modern, and Arab as well as Western – plays an important part in the Syrian culture. Almost every city has its own music and/or dance festival, and so do important archaeological sites (Palmyra, Bosra). Film and theatre are very popular and subsidized – despite subsidized films frequently being banned. Television soap series (Syrian and foreign) are also immensely popular.

Further Reading

In the past, Aleppo and Damascus were on the Silk Road. Silk is still sold in the souks, and silk and other garments are still made in small factories and homes, as is embroidery, although in family settings and not on a large sca...
As one of the centres of Arabic culture, Syria has made an important contribution to medieval Arabic literature. It has produced many writers, including the highly influential poet Abu Tammam, the poet, philosopher and prose write...
Contemporary Arabic literature has its basis in the Nahda, the movement of cultural revival which began in Egypt during the 19th century, although some of its roots can be traced back to an earlier period. The Nahda accrued from t...
Syria has many archaeological and artistic treasures. Unfortunately, many museums or archaeological sites are in dire need of maintenance and/or renovation. In addition, little attention seems to be paid to the need to preserve an...
Syria's music is part of the Arab tradition. However, at the crossroads of different cultures, it also benefits from various other influences – Turkish, Kurdish, and Persian as well as Egyptian. Some singers are revered across t...
The most popular sport by far is football (soccer). However, although the Syrian football team performs reasonably well at the regional level, they have never passed beyond the qualifying stage of the World Cup.
Syrian cinema is not well known outside the country, except for a few directors' films. Abdullatif Abdulhamid's first film, The Nights of the Jackal (1989) won international praise. His other films include Verbal Messages (1994), ...
Syrian architecture is wide and varied. There are Roman temples – in Palmyra and in Baalbek, to name but two. Magnificent buildings from the Umayyad era have survived, such as the Umayyad Mosques in Damascus or Aleppo, as have ...
The most obvious effect of the war is the structural damage to many of Syria’s cultural heritage sites under shelling and bombing during fighting between government and opposition forces.

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