Thursday, September 11, 2008

Day 2 textile tour - Ma'aloula and the Krak de Chevaliers

This is a day spent outside Damascus. We go first to Maalula - a small Christian town in the foothills of the Anti-Lebanon Ranges, about one and a half hours from Damascus. High in the hills is a ridge of huge rock - it looks like the rim on a piecrust from a distance, but as you approach it get bigger and bigger until you realise that these are HUGE rocks.


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.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello!!! Is beautifull your blog!!!
My name is Aldana. I am argentina but now I live in Spain
Do you want exchange a thimble with me?
Sorry but my english is so so

2:50 am  
Blogger Dionne said...

Your photographs are spectacular. I've never been to that part of the world, but I am so thankful to have stumbled across your blog!


6:06 am  
Blogger Kathy said...

Great photos of the Krak de Chevaliers. I've been there in the early spring time when there was no one around. It was lovely and on entering the Krak I felt that I could almost hear the sound of horse hoofs behind me. I've been to a lot of famous places of this type but the Krak is my all time favorite because of its particular atmosphere.

10:39 pm  
Blogger Leah/ Texas/ United States said...

your photos are amazing, as usual. i lvoe the photo of the light ray coming through the window and also the one of the village/city up against the mountain. this inspires me to travel.

3:50 pm  
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