THE BEST WAY

From LAX, Air France, British, Lufthansa, United, American, Virgin Atlantic and Air New Zealand have connecting service (change of plane) to Damascus. Restricted round-trip fares begin at $979.

TELEPHONES

To call the numbers below from the U.S., dial 011 (the international dialing code), 963 (country code for Syria ), 11 (the area code for Damascus) and the local number.

WHERE TO STAY

Four SeasonsHotel, P.O. Box 6311, Damascus, Syria; 339-1000, www.fourseasons.com. Luxury hotel near the National Museum. Doubles from $240.

WHERE TO EAT

Beit Jabri (Jabri House), Old Damascus, Sawwaf Street, in a small alley southeast of Umayyad Mosque; 541-6254, www.jabrihouse.com. Traditional Arab fare. No alcohol. Has an Internet cafe. Prices: Less than $10 per person.

Leila's, Old Damascus (southeast corner of Umayyad Mosque); 544-5900. Arabian food. Roof terrace overlooks the mosque. Less than $10 per person.

TO LEARN MORE

Syrian Embassy, (202) 232-6313, www.syrianembassy.us. When applying for visas and when entering the country, passports must have no entry or exit stamps from Israel.