Luggage and clothing Syria

The Syrians are generally conservative as far as clothing is concerned, and are not used to the bizarre (in their eyes) way that tourists often dress. Women are better off wearing dresses or trousers that cover the knees at least. Also make sure that your shoulders are covered. Spaghetti-band tops are definitely not appreciated by the locals. Local females wear a combination of western and eastern clothing. A skirt or a pair of jeans is commonplace. There are also women who wear black robes from head to foot, sometimes with their faces completely veiled. Bedouin women usually wear colourful dresses and headscarves. Men will usually encounter no problems if they wear shorts, although this can be viewed as eccentric. Long trousers are appreciated more by the locals. Many local men wear a jalabiyyeh (a long, eastern ‘dress’), over which they nearly always wear a western style jacket. Others are dressed fully in western style clothes. Many men also wear a red or black headscarf called a keffiyeh.

You must be barefoot to enter a mosque. If you wish to visit one, dress conservatively. Some of them, such as the Umayyad Mosque in Damascus, will give you a coat to wear over your clothes if they deem your dress sense unsuitable. Men wearing shorts may be refused entry, with or without wrap-around overgarments. Women must also cover their heads. During the summer months, a good travel wardrobe would contain light comfortable cotton clothes, closed shoes, maybe even sandals, sunglasses, sunhat or headscarf and a jumper or thin coat for the evenings. During the winter, a raincoat can come in handy, as well as a couple of thick jumpers, a warm coat, sturdy walking shoes/hiking boots and something thin and light for the daytime.

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