Today's War-Torn Syria Was Once Upon A Time So Beautiful, It Was A Tourist Hotspot
You probably know Syria as a country going through the worst humanitarian crisis in modern times with millions of Syrians trying to flee their war-torn country, often with tragic consequences...
This here is the city of Kobanî in the Aleppo Governorate in northern Syria. From September 2014 to January 2015, the city was under siege by ISIL. Most of the city was destroyed and most of the population fled to Turkey in search for a better life. Prior to the Syrian Civil War, Kobanî had a population of close to 45,000.
These pictures below show the devastation war has caused to the place.
And with the rise of the Islamic State (ISIS), things are only getting worse for the people of Syria, with the terror group capturing new territories and expanding outside of its stronghold in Syria and Iraq
However, as The Citizen, a digital newspaper based in India, notes, Syria, despite having had a politically unstable past, was not always the war-torn state that people were desperately running away from.
These images from Syria in the 1940s, 50s, 60s and 70s, that paint a very different picture to the bloody and violent country that Syria is today, show how beautiful the country was once upon a time...
In fact, Syria was so beautiful, it was a tourist hotspot. In this photo, two Saudi tourists drink beer at an outdoor cafe overlooking the city, Damascus, Syria, 1996.
Palmyra, which has fallen to the Islamic State, was till recently a hotbed of tourism. In this photo, tourists walk in the historical city of Palmyra, 30 September 2010.
In 2010, before the civil war broke out, 8.5 million tourists visited Syria. In this photo, a group of tourists dance in front of the Temple of Bel at the historical city of Palmyra.
Once upon a time, women were a part of everyday life in Syria:
This image, from 1974, shows Damascus schoolgirls during a standard drill.
This image from the spring of 1960 showing demonstrators commemorating Nakba Day on the streets of Damascus. Women, dressed in modern clothes, lead the group.
This image shows women students outside the Damascus university, 1950.
This photo, from 1965, shows a range of fashions and religious styles all on a single bench inside a park in Damascus
In fact, this is how Damascus in the 1960s looked:
These images, which contrast sharply with the modern, grisly images streaming out from the nationwide crackdown on social media sites, provide a window into life as it was in the Syrian capital.
Heard of Aleppo? This is what it looks like today:
For context, here's what Google images throws up for Syria today: