Ma’alula is a unique city in Syria




Ma’alula means the entrance in the Aramic language. It is a rocky village located in the middle of the Syrian countryside, nestled in the Qalamoun mountains 1500 meters above sea level, Maaloula is one of the most scenic villages in Syria, up till now it’s people still speak Aramic, the language of Jesus Christ . It is historically the home of the First Martyr, St Takla, daughter of a Roman prince who was converted to Christianity by St Paul. The story goes that after St Takla’s pagan father learned of her conversion, he sent his soldiers to execute her but each time she was miraculously saved. Fleeing to Syria, St Takla found herself confronted by the impassable Qalamoun mountains. After praying to God to save her, the mountain was miraculously split in half so she could escape her persecutors.

Arriving in Maaloula you feel this ancient history in the air. It’s pregnant with religion. There are crosses hidden in every cave and painted on every wall. Some are carved, some are lit at night, and more still are plain – just simple remembrances of the town’s pervasive Christianity. At the top of the mountains there’s another reminder; a statue of the Blessed Mother overlooking the village with her loving gaze. Christianity isn’t something that’s just talked about here, it’s in the air, the earth, and the very breath of each of its 2,000 inhabitants.

In Ma’alula you won’t find the usual hustle and bustle of other Middle Eastern towns; there’s a vibe of pilgrimage. A place where adventurous Christians and Muslims alike can follow the steep mountain road up to the Monastery of St Takla, home to the miraculous waterfall created by God for the pursued martyr.

The village has two famous monasteries:

Mar Sarkis

Mar Sarkis was built in the 4th century on the site of a pagen temple. It is considered one of the oldest surviving monasteries in the Christian world. This ancient Greek Catholic monastery of St Sergius, with its beautiful decoration pieces dating back from the Byzantine period, is the one of the reasons why Christian pilgrims from all over the world come to Ma’alula. They come seeking blessings and to wonder on this religious marvel.

Mar Taqla

Mar Takla is the other ancient and equally important Christian monastery in Ma’alula. This Greek Orthodox  monastery of St. Taqla houses some of the Christian religious relics considered highly sacred to the Christian world.

Archaeologists have discovered a number of rock-carved temples and halls from the 1st millennium before Christ as well as some Roman and Byzantine cemeteries dating back to the period between the 1 st and 4 th centuries after the birth of Christ   

Ma’alula Not just is one of the oldest towns in the world, It is the only city where its 2,000 inhabitants still speak Aramaic – (the language of Jesus ) .It is a unique city and is by far.

Compiled by

Butheina Alnounou