This important archaeological site has been called the Pompeii of the Syrian Desert. It was abandoned in the 3rd century and is home to the oldest surviving house-church and synagogue ever found.
Great Mosque of Damascus (Umayyad Mosque)
This historic 7th-century mosque stands on a site that has been sacred since 1000 BC. It has medieval mosaics on the facade and a shrine to John the Baptist inside.
This ancient city features an exceptionally long Roman street and other classical ruins. In the Byzantine era, it was home to Evagrius the church historian, Theodoret the bishop, and Monophysitism.
Shrine of Sayidda Zeinab
This is a beautiful Iranian-style mosque and shrine in southern Damascus, housing the tomb of Sayidda Zeinab, daughter of Ali and granddaughter of the Prophet Muhammad. It attracts Shi'a pilgrims from Iran and around the world.
This Turkish-style mosque complex was designed by the great architect Sinan on order of Sulieman the Magnificent, and therefore looks much like a mosque you would see in Istanbul.
Serjilla (also spelled Sarjella) gets Lonely Planet's vote as the "most eerie and evocative" of the Dead Cities of northern Syria. It also has the greatest number of semi-complete buildings.
Al-Bara (also called Bara) is the most extensive of the Dead Cities of northern Syria and one of the last to be abandoned. It held out as a bastion of Eastern Christianity until the arrival of the Crusaders in the 11th century.
Located 50 km from Damascus, Maalula is the only place in the world that still speaks Aramaic, the language of Jesus. Home to two ancient Christian monasteries, it attracts Christian and Muslim pilgrims.