Day 2 textile tour - Ma'aloula and the Krak de Chevaliers
The road threads through them.
On the top of the mountain is a very early Church. It has been dated to before the Nicene committee of 325 AD banned rims on altars in Christian churches - and there are rims on the altars. The towns of Maaula and Sidnaya still speak Aramaic - which was the language of Christ. I am not deeply religious though I love the mythology of Christianity. They will say the Lord's prayer for those who are interested in Aramaic - it is interesting to hear it in such an early language. The town nestles into the hills and rocks, and there is a lovely walk down through a small wadi where snow melt has cut a way to the town form the church on top of the hill.
The area is also pocked with rock cut tombs or cells of early Byzantine monasteries.
I must confess here that last year we did not get to Maalula. It was snowing as we turned off the highway and the road into the hills was too steep and slippery for the bus. This year, I hope it will be fine. We will be visiting one month later - which should also give us the beginnings of spring flowers at the Krak de Chevaliers. No promises - it all depends on the weather - but I will have my fingers crossed.
Another hour takes us to the Krak De Chevaliers which sits on top of a high hill overlooking the green fields of fertile Syria. It has to be the best of all the world's Crusader Castles. The best of Syria is that you can wander and explore here - there is no barbed wire, and few closed areas. It is just superb.
I have so many photos - but I want twenty people to come and I am so afraid that if I give you too much you will feel as if you have done the trip already.
Here endeth Day 2, weary and sleepy as the bus returns to Damascus.