Culture and Religion in Syria

Lady Zaynab Mosque
The impact of Syrian culture has been felt over the course of thousands of years. Syrian scholars and art both had an impact o­n foreign cultures such as the Romans. It is now believed that a culture o­n par with Mesopotamia and Egypt was o­nce seated in Syria. The Syrian culture puts great importance o­n family, religion, and betterment of the self. Dances and celebrations of old can typically be found at marriages or when a child is born into a household.

Syrians have a fierce pride in their traditions of poetry, both oral and written. Syrian writers have long played a critical role in the Arabian literary world for hundreds of years. They had a hand in the cultural and literary revival in the 19th century known as al-Nahda. Various political institutions through the centuries have had great impact o­n Syrian literature in general. Harsh police states enforced strict censorship o­n many works. Syrian writers responded by moving abroad, spreading their culture with them. They also adopted the methodology of some Victorian era writers and created new genres that took subtle swipes at the ruling class and their laws.

Syria is a primarily Muslim nation. Approximately 87% of the population is Muslim with about 74% being Sunni. The remaining percentage of Muslims are made of various denominations. Christianity comprises approximately 10% of the population. Several groups of Christians make up this number with a sizable majority drawn from the Antiochian Orthodox. A small percentage are comprised of Druze with some individuals that adhere to Sufism.

A notable feature of the religious population of Syria is how the different faiths tend to congregate in particular areas. For instance; the majority of Muslim Alawis live in the rural landscape of Jabal an Nusayriyah, comprising almost 80% of rural dwellers in the province. Religion is an all important part of life for the average Syrian. It is quite common to hear the Muslim population calling to Allah for their spiritual and physical well-being through the course of a day.