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Money & Currency

Currency: Syrian Pound (S£) = 100 piastres. Notes are in denominations of S£1000, 500, 100, 50, 25, 10 and 5. Coins are in denominations of S£25, 10, 5, 2 and 1.

Currency exchange: Since 1986, stringent restrictions on illegal currency transactions have forced the black market to all but disappear. Syrian currency cannot generally be reconverted to hard currency. The country's banking system is state-owned, and there is at least one branch of the Commercial Bank of Syria in every main town. Hard currency can be exchanged for local currency in these branches.

Credit cards: American Express and Diners Club are most readily accepted; some hotels will accept MasterCard. Tickets may be bought with credit cards. Check with your credit card company for merchant acceptability and for other services which may be available.

Travellers cheques: Not always exchangeable at Damascus airport and not generally recommended.

Exchange rate indicators against Sterling and the US Dollar:

May'97 Aug'97 Mar'98 Nov'98
£1.00= 68.53 64.44 66.19 75.05
$1.00= 41.85 40.00 40.00 45.00

Currency restrictions: The import of local currency is unlimited; its export is prohibited. The import and export of foreign currency is limited to the amount declared on arrival (only amounts exceeding US$5000 must be declared).

Banking hours: Normally 0830-1300 Saturday to Thursday (banks tend to close early Thursday).

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