Syria Culture

Syria Culture and Mass Media

Newspapers in Syria

According to TOPB2BWEBSITES.COM, Syria is a country located in Asia. Syria has a dozen newspapers with little spread (20 newspaper excl. Per 1,000 residents, 2000). The most important are the Bath Party’s main body al-Bath (40,000 copies), ath-Thawra (40,000 copies) and Tishrin (50,000 copies), all published in Damascus. Newspapers are usually published by political, trade union or religious institutions, and considerable state control prevails. All newspapers and magazines must be licensed by the Ministry of Information.

Radio (started in 1945) and TV (started in 1960) are state and broadcast in two channels. There are 276 radio and 67 TV receivers per 1,000 residents (2000).


According to ANIMALERTS, Syria has rich cultural traditions ever since ancient times, but during the civil war since 2011, many older buildings have been severely damaged. Under the Baath Party’s rule, most cultural expressions have been hampered by censorship, for example, the Kurds’ popular traditions were banned until 2011. Many significant writers, artists and artists have lived in exile, while others have supported the government or adapted to the prevailing situation.

Traditional Arabic-Islamic culture, with important contributions in poetry and other literature as well as music, still plays an important role in society. During the 20th century, both music and literature were influenced by Western culture. After the turn of the millennium, the opening of Syria’s economy and the introduction of modern media led to growing cultural influence from the US and the West, but also from the Persian Gulf’s money-rich and conservative monarchies.

Among the foremost Syrian writers are Halim Barakat (born 1933) who has portrayed, in novel form, the Israel-Palestine conflict, and Hanna Mina (1924–2018) who in realistic form has written about the seamen’s life, among other things. Zakaria Tamir (born 1931) is known for his allegorical short stories and as a children’s book author. A contemporary author is Salim Barakat (born 1951) who is Kurdish but writes both prose and poetry in Arabic. Barakat has been living in Sweden since 1999 and several of his books have been translated into Swedish.

The Syrian poet Adonis (whose real name is Ali Ahmad Said, born 1930) lives in France and has become internationally known as a permanent candidate for the Nobel Prize. He has been translated into Swedish. So does the poet and freethinker Muhammad al-Maghut (1934–2006), whose politically bitter but at the same time life-affirming poetry won devoted readers. Damascus-born poet Nizar Qabbani (1923-1988) has remained very popular in Syria and also in the rest of the Arab world.

Classical Arabic music has a strong position in cities such as Damascus and Aleppo. Oud player Farid al-Atrash (1910–1974), born in a Drusian family in southern Syria but emigrated to Egypt as a child, is one of the most famous musicians in the Arab world. His sister Asmahan (born Asma al-Atrash, 1912-1944) also became known as a singer and actress. Singer Sabah Fakhri (born 1933) is considered to have popularized traditional genres. In modern times, Syrian pop stars such as George Wassouf (born 1961) and Asala Nasri (born 1969) have made great success in the Middle East. By contrast, Omar Suleyman (born 1966) and his mix of old-fashioned Bedouin songs with electronic rhythms have mostly won listeners in the West.

Syrian films and TV series began to develop rapidly in the 1990s and gained a good reputation in the Arab world. During the fasting month of Ramadan, families all over the Middle East tend to sit in front of the TV and Syrian “Ramadan soap” was very popular during the 1990s. Actor Ghassan Masud (born 1958) has primarily starred in Syrian and Arab productions, but he has also appeared in American feature films. The Inbreak War of 2011 has damaged the film industry, but also made an impression in the production: The documentary filmmaker Waad al-Kateab has been awarded several international awards for his portrayal of what it was like to live in the city of Aleppo under siege. Among other things, she has received an Emmy award for the film.

However, the traces of the civil war are most visible in architecture. Several of the building complexes, ruins and urban areas in Syria that the UN agency classified as part of the World Heritage Site have been damaged, destroyed or plundered since 2011. The large Umayyad mosque in Damascus, considered one of Islam’s main monuments, has been damaged. The parish life at the mosque is known for the call to prayer can be performed by a whole group of reciters.

In 2019, Unesco estimated that 60 percent of the old city center in Aleppo had been damaged during the war. Among the war-torn memorials are the citadel and markets. Limited reconstruction work is underway, partly as a result of an agreement between the Syrian authorities and the Aga Khan Foundation, an aid organization operating in Asia and Africa.

The Krac des Chevaliers castle south of Homs, which is from the Crusader era, has been bombed.

After taking the Roman caravan city of Palmyra (Tadmur), dating back to Roman times, in May 2015, the Islamic State blasted the nearly 2,000-year-old Baalshamin Temple and other important buildings that were on UNESCO’s World Heritage List.

In Bosra in the south, which was the capital of the Roman province of Arabia, among other things, a Roman theater was damaged by the war. Valuable archaeological sites such as the Roman ruins of Apamea, near Hama, and Dura-Europos near Dayr al-Zawr, have been excavated by looters.

On the Mediterranean coast there are ruins from the ancient cities of Marath and Ugarit.

Syria Culture

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