Tourism & attraction
Latakia is Syria's main sea-port on the Mediterranean (186 km southwest of Aleppo). It has retained its importance since ancient times. Latakia was one of the five cities built by Saluqos Nikator in the 2nd century B.C. He named it after his mother, Laudetia. Not many ancient remains have survived in Latakia, but there are four columns and a Roman arch from the time of Septimus Severus (circa 200 A.D.), in addition to a beautiful Ottoman construction called "Khan al-Dukhan", which is now a museum.
Latakia is the sea-gate to Syria. There is beaches, mountains, archaeological sites and many relics of the Crusaders, all within a few hours from each other.
Mention should also be made of the historically important Ras Shamra, only 16km to the north of Latakia. This is the site of Ugarit, the kingdom that had a golden past in administration, education, diplomacy, law, religion and economics between the 16th and 13th centuries B.C. It is the kingdom that gave humanity the first alphabet in the world. This alphabet is still preserved on a clay tablet at the National Museum in Damascus.
Documents, statues and jewels from the Ugarit kingdom are also on display at the Latakia, Aleppo and Tartus museums.
For a small coastal town, Latakia has developed considerably in the last few decades. To stop Syria's dependence on Iskanderoun and the Lebanese ports, Latakia was equipped with a modern harbor more than 20 years ago. It now has a University and is linked to Aleppo on the national railway lines. As Syria's primary port it has great economic significance for the rest of the country.
Latakia is situated 341 Km from Damascus and can be visited via Tartous or Homs, while it is only 183 Km from Aleppo and can be visited by train.