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Cultural History: The modern state of Syria was not established until 1946, after the Second World War, but it is a land, which has been inhabited since ancient times. Archaeologists have unearthed evidence of habitation dating back to about 5000B.C. and Damascus is probably the world’s oldest continuously inhabited city. Greater Syria, a land area incorporating Lebanon, Israel, Jordan and present-day Syria, was the site of much conflict and conquest throughout the days of the Ancient World. This conflict has continued throughout the Middle Ages and into modern times. The Egyptians, Babylonians, Hittites have successively ruled ancient Syria, Chaldeans and Persians. It became part of Alexander the Great’s empire in 333B.C. when one Alexander’s generals founded the city of Antioch as its capital. Struggles between the Seleucids and the Ptolemies of Egypt followed, until 64B.C. when Syria became a province of the Roman Empire. Following the decline and collapse of the Romans and the division of the empire in the 4th century A.D., Syria became a Byzantine province and remained so for almost two and a half centuries.
Cultural Identity: Syrian Arab Republic Principal cities include DAMASCUS (the capital) and ALEPPO. Most Syrians are Arabic-speaking Muslims, mainly Sunnite with significant Alawite and Druse minorities; there are also Kurds, Armenians, and CrictinsAbout 10% of the People are Christian, mainly orthodox. Arabic is the official language.
Power distance: Syria’s government has a lot of power with in. Comparing to other countries Syria has no power because its considers poor society. There are two class systems, it’s either poor, or rich which would be working with the government. Syria does not have any kind of programs that would take care of the unweallthy family the only choice they have is to go to mosques and beg for food. Unemployment is very high and it keeps on going higher for the poor level. Other Arabic countries come to Syria during summer because its known to be very cheap.
Values: Syrians mostly value their kids. They believe the better the parents take care of the kids the better they turn out and in return the kids have to take care of their parents when they get older. That’s the reason they have a lot of them.
-Another thing they value is friendship. Arabic girls are not allowed to have a lot of friends because that gives her a bad reputation of knowing every body been every wear. The bad thing about that is, girls are suppose to be unknown to others except their husband ” they are like daemons if any body breaks them they can never be fixed”
Greeting and Leaving-takings: ” Marahaba ” or in a Muslim way ” al-salam el-aucom” which means hi or hello. A person would most commonly greet others or, when a person enter a room to inform the others that he is coming for that reason the ladies needed to put on their scarf’s on their head. In Syria when the guy greets a guy he shakes his hand and if he is very close to him he would kiss him once on ever cheek. When ladies greet each other they always kiss each other on the checks under any circumstances. When it comes to men greeting a woman or vise-versa they just shake hands unless they are relatives they greet with the kissing one the cheek.
Politeness and expressing gratitude: Syrian’s are very open, nice and they like to start
conversation about each other’s life, past, and present. They always like to hear your side
of the story then they try to relate with it from their experience. Every time you mention
something good they say “mashalah” which is good for you and of its bad they say
“wlyalaamty” that means cussing the person who did wrong or them self’s if there is no
one to blame.
Celebration and Holidays: Syrian’s mostly celebrate wedding at fancy hotels not
Churches a day after the ceremony that takes place at the house. Ramadan (Dec 6) fasting
for a month the teaches them o think of others when their hungry. Eid Al Fitr (8 Feb), 3
days that’s when Muslim people celebrate eating again, and some try to go to mekeh in
Saudi Arabia for omra so they can pray. Mothers day (march 21). Eid Al Adha (17 Apr),
4 days. This holiday relatives usually visit each other brings the family together. Islamic
New Year’s Day – (8 May) that’s when the quran was introduced to the Muslims. Only
Muslims celebrate by going to the mosque. Prophet’s Birthday – 17Jul. This is a holiday
that no one takes in concretion its not know because its against the Muslim religion to
celebrate birthdays. It’s only connected a holy day. Christmas – (25 Dec) only
Christmas celebrate it among them selves.
Guests: Syrians enjoy guests, and they believe they have to take care of them as much as
possible. For example the gusset don’t put there stuff away by them self’s or if they
Wanted any thing they have to ask for it and not get it them self’s. Syrians always serve
Arabic coffee and sweets, and if the guess doesn’t wanted the sweet or coffee the person
who is serving it has to force him really nicely for him to accept it or just leaving it on the
table. If you’re coming to lunch and you haven’t seen the people in a long period of time
you have to bring something that is wanted or hard to find. If the visitor is new or
not from around there he can bring sweets and they would understand.
The Elderly: the elderly get most respect, because Syrian people believe they have more
Knowledge and you are wiser. There is nothing such as seniors. The younger person
always has to serve the elder. For example offering your seat or just even opening the
door. In Syria elderly people have a specific name which is “hageh” for women, and
“Hagy” for men.
Relationships’ between men and women. In Syria women now just started to have the
same equal say of saying if wanted a divorce as men. There are only 10% of divorces in
Syria. There are three things men connote do to his wife when they get married. 1) Take
the money that she makes even if he needed it unless she gives a permision.2) he has to
give her every thing that was provided to her at her parent’s house. And 3) he cannot
force her to have sex with him.
Unacceptable behavior between men and women: in Syria a man can hit his wife is
she did something wrong. For example dress unproperly in public, and have an affair.
Relationships between same sex: there is no same sex relationship. People some times
talk bout cretin others that might be gay or lesbian, they think there is something wrong
with them and if the government ever found out they would killed them.
Relationship with children: the parents have a very strong relationship with children.
Children do get hit if they did any thing wrong by grandparents and other relatives.
Communication nonverbly: Syrians have different hand gestures comparing to
Americans. They don’t
wave if they don’t have to they rather scream our ” hello.” The absolutely do not do eye
contact under any circumstances. They have a way of making a water dorp of their hand
to tell you to hold on. The worst thing you can ever do to a Syrian is stick five of your
fingers in his face.
Environment: Syrian people don’t like privacy. They always like to be in big
crowds full of people talking screaming at each other. They enjoy going out with big
groups either friends or family
Gestures: Syrian girls cannot sit with their legs spread open even if they are wearing
pants. Yawning in the presence of strangers or in a group is impolite because it is a sign of hunger or Borden’s
In a social setting, don’t accept food the first time it’s offered. It’s polite to decline at
least once before accepting. Do offer a guest food or drink several times (as he may
decline the firs toffer)…Do feel free to talk politics with your guests, but don’t hammer
home a point or be insensitive to local and national traditions. Feel free to debate issues
like democracy, the price of coffee, etc., but don’t say negative things about the ruler of
the country, even if asked…Sahyun, ahuge Crusader-era castle (near Latakia) is
spectacular and contains the ruined remains of Byzantine and Arab buildings…Don’t
admire a specific item in a host’s home or office–or the host may feel obliged to give it to
you, something neither of you really wants. Keep your compliments general..
Topic of conversation: American should avoid talking about business out side of
business spatially to family members. Syrian men favorite topic is news and what happen
In the world other then Syria because they are not allowed to talk about Syria or the
government of Syria because that could get killed. Syrian women like to talk about
fashion, food, and each other’s friends. For example did you hear what happened to so
Politeness: Americans are viewed to be as shy and don’t like talking. Syrians don’t say
thank you and have a nice day they just stop at bye.
Tipping and Service: there is tipping in Syria to the waiter who followed you around
the whole time your have lunch or dinner. Approximately $1.00. and there are no taxes.
In a restaurant customers don’t leave right after the meal like they do in America, that’s
when they take time to talk about their day or any thing else.
Table Matters : Syrians don’t have any table matters to her then having lunch at 2:00
PM and dinner at 10:00 PM as a family.
Tips for travelers:
Complement: Americans should give their opinion on every thing they see and
occasionally complement. Syria is use to travelers from all over the world so if you have
any questions just ask there always would be some nice to give you an answer.
Telephone and Electricity: Syria dose not have any pay phone, if some one wants to
use the phone they would have to go into a liquor store. The electricity is 250 volts AC.
Don’t assume That men walking arm in arm or hand in hand are homosexual. In many
Middle Eastern countries, men are much more physically affectionate with their male
friends and relatives than men are in the West…Do be careful at security checkpoints
when traveling inside Syria. Move slowly and obey the authorities…Don’t expect your
phone conversations to be private (the phones may be bugged)… Do compliment Syria’s
strides in development…Don’t point at people or use your hands to give direction, as to do
so is rude. Also, be careful that the sole of your shoe doesn’t show when you’re
sitting…Do make appointments and be on time, but don’t be offended by a lack of
punctuality by others. Also, don’t be offended if the person you’re meeting for business
conducts other business during “your” appointment…Don’t show irritation when
everything stops five times a day for prayers…Do shake hands and say marha-bah,
keif halak, when greeting people…
Books with one author
A.H Hourani . (1954). Syria and Lebanon, Oxferd University press
Tabitha Petran . (1972). Syria. Praeger Publishers Inc
Volney, G. F. C. (1987), Travel through Syria and Egypt, 2 vol., London press
Books with tow authors
Malcolm B. Russell M. Islamica B, (1985), The first modern Arab state, Cambridge University Press
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