Wajdy (1/2): Life in Syria before the war

In Syria you have 3 months of summer and there is no rain or cold. It’s always sunny, the air is clean. In the North or the coastal areas they are full of forest. People from Jordan and Lebanon came to Syria to buy food and clothes because it was cheaper to buy it in Syria.


Tourism and safety

Wherever you go as a tourist, no one will touch you.


When you are a foreigner you were welcome.

Everyone would take care of you.


The police would help you with all kinds of accidents and they would find the criminal everywhere in Syria if someone steals from you.


Syria is famous for its ruins, the old historical buildings. Damascus, the oldest city in this part of the world.


Living situation

I worked in hotels at the reception and also as a tour operations coordinator. Before the war the salary was really good. The average salary was equal between 200 – 450 Euros. You were able to invite your friends to go to a restaurant and have a big meal for little money.


The rent of a good house in an average area was, in Euro, 100-150€ maximum.


You couldn’t find anyone who was suffering from hunger.


Life was cheap but we were not able to dream to buy a car and you were rarely able to register for a home.


During Bashar Al-Assad this dream became true. He did many amazing things in Syria. Bashar started to prioritize the citizen’s life.  We got cheaper food, the social system became better.


In the last years before the crisis everyone could afford a car. We were living in such a good way.


Getting married

If you are patient to get married, you have to save many years to save money. For getting married you have to pay money for religious reasons. And you have to pay for the bride, gold and furniture. The groom has to pay for it.


Also Christian people have to find a home and buy furniture. In the beginning they don’t have to pay money.


It depends on the area where you live who you can marry. For example in Damascus: The old people from Damascus choose. Wives from Damascus are the best. They are the most amazing wives and take care of the house and their husband. When you get inside the house she lets you forget everything.


But in my home town and in coastal areas it was not like that. We have Alewites, Sunnits and Christians.


Industry and products

Our country was producing oil, not like the Arabian golf, but we were living in a good way. Oil was very cheap.

We were the second largest country in the Arabian countries for producing olive oil.


In the world we were ranked 8th or 9th. We got millions of olive trees and with a good quality. You can buy 20 liters of olive oil for a very cheap price, it was only 50€ for a perfect quality.


We also have really good ghee butter. Ghee is really rare to find in Germany. We have many kinds of ghee, from cow, from lamb, from goat.

When it’s from lamb we call it Arabic ghee. If you put a little bit of it in your food it will give you a totally different flavor. Back in the days it was a bit expensive because it’s rare to find.



When you are an employer for example in the ministry and you had an accident you could go to the hospital and you don’t have to pay anything.


When you work for a private company you always have to pay for medical treatment but it is very cheap in Syria. Especially dental is very cheap. Here (in Germany) you pay 1400€ for an implant, before the war it was 35€ in Syria.

Also surgery was very cheap.



High School is free and with a high quality. We have many really good students.

When you finish High School you can study industry, veterinary, commerce, trade, science, literature. Depending on your marks you can study in institute or university. University costs 12€ per year.

In my home town everybody is able to read, you won’t find illiterate men or women.


Sense of community

You know each other in your neighborhood, you have to know each other. If someone is ill you have to help him.


When you hear my voice when I shout than you are considered to be part of my neighborhood.

When you are my neighbor and I am cooking I have to give you some food.


When you are sick and poor and

you are not able to pay for medical treatment,

all the neighbors have to collect money and help you.


And maybe ask the charity organization to help too.


You are not alone. But because of the war it changed.

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