Arwad Island, a somewhat dirty and touristy island 2 mi/3 km off the southern coast and 95 mi/150 km northwest of Damascus, merits a visit by those who want a look at what Syria used to be like: Arwad Island is a city of narrow streets with no cars.
Spend time watching the fisherfolk and sponge harvesters along the shore or visiting the ruins of a large Phoenician city. Since there are no accommodations on the island, most people see it on a day trip from Tartus (a mainland town that holds the remnants of a 13th-century fortress and the 12th-century Cathedral of Our Lady of Tortosa).
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