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Syria (Bradt Travel Guides) Paperback – 28 Jul 2006

3.9 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 296 pages
  • Publisher: Bradt Travel Guides; 1 edition (28 July 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1841621625
  • ISBN-13: 978-1841621623
  • Product Dimensions: 21.6 x 13.7 x 1.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,306,313 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

'A good mix of site information and related background history. Also a very easy read." --Ian Smart - Derbyshire

"Fantastic one of the best I've used. Others in our party kept borrowing it for it s better detail well done!" --Geoff Hewitt, Scotland

"The guide was excellent! I liked the sub sections within the text to explain particular elements of Syrian history or background." --Ann Proffitt - London

About the Author

Fluent Arabic-speaker Diana Darke has more than 30 years' experience in the Middle East and worked as a translator/interpreter for the Omani government. She is the author of Bradt's Syria and North Cyprus.

Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This is a superb guide to a staggering country. Whatever we in the

West are led to believe about Syria, it is one of the safest and most

welcoming places I have ever been; beautiful, completely unspoilt, steeped

in history - it really is the Cradle of Civilisation. Maybe thanks to all

the adverse publicity, it is completely off the beaten-track, so you can

explore all the incredible sites without the usual coach loads round you. We had the place practically to ourselves. There is no begging or importuning, just friendly curiosity and hospitality, which led in our case to wonderful invitations to visit homes and share food.

The hotel facilities are amazingly in advance of the tourist hordes, so

this really is the time to go and explore the place and get to know the

people - with all the comforts we seem to expect, but without any of

cynicism or exploitation that may alas creep in later.

Diana Darke's new guide is absolutely up-to-date and comprehensive on all

levels. It provides excellent coverage of the basic practicalities of

getting around, accommodation, essential travel information and helpful

advice about the Syrians and the Arabic language. It also offers in depth

information about the history and culture.
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Format: Paperback
Probably this is the best guide book available in English, if you read French or German there may be better options. As many others have said it is not particularly helpful if you are travelling by local transport, Its weaknesses were brought home to me when I fell ill and bereft of arabic the guide provided little insight into obtaining medical help, which in fact turned out to be free, fast and competent at public hospitals in both Bosra and Aleppo. Its strength is that it provides a good introduction and overview of the country, its peoples and sights, its disadvantage is that it is clearly sponsored by the Cham group and if you are not travelling on a $300+ per day budget or a guided coach tour it lacks a lot of essential practical information, particularly for a first visit. Its maps and diagrams are also poor.
Also in a country such as Syria undergoing such rapid change, particularly in the cities, it is already very out of date.
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Format: Paperback
I recently visited Syria, and after purchasing a number of guide books about the country I found myself reaching for this book first, it has a great wealth of information and details about the country and region.

The only problem I had with it is the Authors obvious pro-Syrian view, she constantly praises the government and the country, and in some parts it becomes laughable when compared to other sources of information. In fact its pretty hard to find a negative comment anywhere in the book.

In conclusion I would recommend this book for any traveler hoping to visit Syria, it is the best guide book available, but I would warn them to take the book's opinions with a pinch of salt.
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Format: Paperback
Diana Darke's 'Syria' is a much needed, evocative and sympathetic guide to a country of profound richness and importance to our civilization. The book is as clear, honest and practical for the first time traveller as its author's knowledge of Arabic and the Middle East and long history in the Levant are lightly borne and always insightful.

Ms Darke conveys the civility of the people of Syria effectively and introduces us alluringly to the civilizations tempered for millenia in the country.
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Format: Paperback
We used the Bradt guide to Lille to great effect last year, so were tempted to buy this, especially since it was published more recently than either the Lonely Planet or the Rough Guide books.

In some ways this was a perfectly good tool for the job. It seems to cover all one would want covered. I particularly liked the Arabic proverbs which accompany each chapter heading - such advice as Trust in God, but tie your camel, and He who takes a donkey up a minaret must take it down again (though I am not sure what that one means), and It is better to endure the wind of a camel than the prayers of a fish.

Where the guide falls down is in the really bad editing. Neither the author nor the copy editor (if there was such a person) properly read the finished text, so that there are several places where various recensions of the text are just printed one after the other, like the P and Q sources in the book of Genesis, so that you get the same description twice in slightly different words. An example comes in the last paragraph on page 185, at the end of the section on Ugarit.

"Look out near the two temples for a black basalt stone in a triangle shape with three holes, which was an anchor used for tying up ships. Ugarit's gigantic anchors were celebrated. They weighed up to half a tonne each, giving an idea of the size of the ocean-going vessels. There used to be lots of these stones, but most have now been stolen. The whole site has now been fenced to prevent theft which has become a bit of a problem. Look out for a black basalt stone in a triangle with three holes, which was an anchor used for tying up ships. There used to be lots of these stones, but most have now been stolen."

That repetition is annoying and unnecessary.
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