Syria has captivated travelers for centuries, inspiring visitors with its rich heritage, fascinating history, diverse culture, vibrant markets, delicious cuisine, stunning landscapes, well-preserved archaeological sites, remarkable monuments, and spectacular religious shrines and places of worship. Foreigners who have had the opportunity to visit Syria tend to agree that its residents are among the most hospitable, warm and kindhearted people anywhere they have traveled. After spending several years exploring the region, I felt a personal obligation to share the beauty of Syria with the world. Compiled from a collection of nearly 30,000 photographs taken between 2006 and 2009, Syria Photo Guide was created to serve as a resource for those interested in learning more about the country’s cultural and historic sites.
Born and raised in Los Angeles, California, the desire to travel and explore surfaced in me from a young age. By age twenty, I had traveled independently to thirty countries throughout Europe, Southeast Asia, the Indian subcontinent and North America. At twenty-three years old, I planned an ambitious journey that was to take me overland from Egypt to China over the course of eighteen months. It was on this trip, in 2003, that I was first introduced to Syria. While I had traveled extensively, nowhere else had I encountered people so welcoming and hospitable. Syria’s incredible diversity, captivating history, and astounding variety of archaeological sites and natural attractions deeply impressed me. I aborted plans to continue traveling overland through Central Asia to China, refocusing my journey on better understanding the Middle East. Having initially planned only a few weeks in the country, I extended my stay to nine months. During this time I immersed myself in Syria’s culture and developed a deep appreciation for the country.
In 2006 I undertook another trip to Syria, determined to get to know the country in even greater depth. Basing myself in Bab Sharqi, Damascus, I lived in the country throughout most of 2006 and 2007. Combining my passion for photography with my interest in Syria’s heritage, I spent much of my time visiting, documenting and photographing Syria’s wide range of archaeological, cultural and natural attractions. I contributed articles about these sites for a local English-language magazine entitled “What’s On”, in addition to teaching English at a local language center. My most recent visit to Syria was from September 2008 through March 2009. I currently reside in San Luis Obispo, California and I am pursuing a degree in cultural anthropology. In addition to continued work on Syria Photo Guide, I have recently had Lens on Syria, a collection of my finest photography of the country, published by Just World Books.
In light of the horrific conflict that has engulfed Syria since 2011, I hope that Syria Photo Guide can provide a reminder of the immense beauty and rich heritage of the country that is gradually being lost through the senseless violence and destruction of war. On a personal level, it has been absolutely devastating to witness the Syria I know and love be destroyed, and the fates of so many kind and generous people I spent time with unknown. This website is dedicated to the Syrian people, to whom I will always be indebted for providing some of the most wonderful years of my life.
Thank you for your interest.
– Daniel Demeter