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Syria is the cradle of the great civilizations, and the
accomplishments of her ancient peoples are renowned throughout the world.
It was here that agriculture began ten thousand years ago, that settlement commenced and civilization emerged. Houses, not caves, became man's dwelling, and he embarked on a journey of self-discovery. He observed heaven and sang the earliest hymns. He tried his hand at drawing and
sculpture. Evidence of these ancient arts are found all over Syria, at Mereibet, Jeyroud, Yabroud, and on the river banks.
Syria also presented the world with another discovery. It was here that copper was made pliable and bronze was invented. The Bronze civilization came into being at Tel Halaf.
At Mari (Tel Hariri) , by the Euphrates and elsewhere, there was an abundance of palaces, temples and murals reflecting advanced cultural and commercial activity.
The Kingdom of Ugarit (Ras Shamra) offered mankind the first alphabet in history. At Ebla (Tel Merdikh), a royal palace was discovered containing one of the largest and most comprehensive documentary archives of the ancient
world. These specialized in industrial, diplomatic, commercial and administrative matters, in addition to war and peace relations with other countries.
The Amorites, the Canaanites and the Phoenicians inhabited the coastal regions, the Arameans were the highlanders, and the Nabateans inhabited the south.
Successive waves of migrations from the Arab Peninsula gave an Arab identity to Syria, and it managed to withstand the invasions by Hittites, Persians,Greeks and Romans. The Islamic conquest of 636 A.D. only confirmed this Arab
identity and gave a sense of unity to the land.
The immense strategic importance of Syria is due to her unique position as a meeting-point of three continents (Asia, Africa, and Europe), and as a crossroad between the Caspian Sea, the Indian Ocean, the Black Sea, and the
Through Syria lay the silk route which led from China to Doura Europos (Salhieh), from Palmyra and Homs to the Syrian ports on the Mediterranean, where for thousands of years Syrian seafarers had ridden the waves in their enormous fleets with gleaming white sails.
This geographical position lent distinction to the country, not only as a trade and caravan route, but also as a melting-pot of diverse ideas, beliefs, talents, and cultures.
Neighboring countries: Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Turkey, Israel
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Edited by: gardke on 17.05.2006 gardke on 16.05.2006 cathie01 on 03.12.2005 sting6582 on 11.09.2005 ulrik on 25.08.2005 zozo2k3 on 13.05.2005