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St. Simeon,spending four decades of his life on a pillar

The Church of St. Simeon is a well-preserved 5th-century church in Qal'a Sim'an, an isolated site 60 km from Aleppo. It is built on the site of the pillar of St. Simeon Stylites, a famed hermit monk.

St. Simeon was born in 386 AD in a village in the Amanus Mountains. He joined a monastery in this area, but soon decided to seek the religious life alone as a hermit monk. He chose not to live in a cave, but at the top of a pillar 12 to 18 meters high! He soon attracted great crowds who came from far and near to hear him preach twice a day.

After 37 years atop his pillar, St. Simeon died in 459. His body was ceremoniously escorted to Antioch by seven bishops and several hundred soldiers, followed by a throng of devoted followers. Simeon's grave in Antioch became a major site of pilgrimage, and so did his pillar on the rocky bluff where he had spent the last four decades of his life.

Within just a few decades , a vast martyrium was built in Simeon's honor on this site. It consisted of four basilicas radiating from the sides of a central octagon, within which was enshrined the famous column.

The 5,000 square meters of floor space was nearly equal to that of the Hagia Sophia in Constantinople. Yet, quite unlike Hagia Sophia, the Church of St. Simeon was (and is) perched atop a barren hill 60 km from the nearest city. But it was not isolated: the church was only one part of a huge, walled complex that included a monastery, two lesser churches, and several large hostels.

St. Simeon's pillar can still be seen in the center of the courtyard, although it is now only a 2 meter-high boulder due to centuries of relic-gathering by pilgrims. The courtyard is surrounded by four basilicas on a cruciform plan.

The east basilica is slightly larger than the others; it was the most important and held all the major ceremonies. Adjacent to the south wall of the eastern basilica is the chapel and the monastery.

Opposite the southern basilica is the baptistery, which was built a little after the main church but is an important part of the pilgrimage complex. To the west of the baptistery is the processional route that leads towards Deir Samaan.

There is a beautiful view of the surrounding countryside from just about anywhere at the site.


Maysa Wassouf


Tell Barri

Tell Barri is an archaeological site located in north-eastern Syria in the Hasakah provence. Its ancient name was ahat.

Tell Barri is situated along the Wadi Jaghjagh, a tributary of the Khabur River

The earliest layers discovered at Tell Barri date to the Halaf period. Barri was situated in the fertile crescent and could benefit from winter rains as well as the river water. This developed the early agriculture of the area. The site of Tell Barri was inhabited since the fourth millennium BC. By the middle of the third millennium BC Barri came under Akkadian cultural influence. The large urban centre at Tell Brak was only a short distance away.

By the eighteenth century BC the city known as Kahat is attested from the palace archives of Mari. Kahat seems to have been ruled by semi-independent kings. The town then came under the rule of the Kingdom of Upper Mesopotamia whose capital, Shubat-Enlil, was located northeast of Kahat. When the Kingdom of Upper Mesopotamia collapsed, the harem of its king Shamshi-Adad I sought refuge at Kahat. Several centuries later, the town emerged as a religious centre when the Hurrian kingdom of Mitanni established itself in the region by the fifteenth century BC. The temple to the Storm god Teshub in Kahat is specifically mentioned in the Shattiwaza treaty of the fourteenth century BC. Shortly afterwards the town fell into the hands of the Assyrians. In the Neo-Assyrian period a palace was built by the Assyrian king Tukulti-Ninurta II (891-884 BC) in Kahat. The town lived on after the end of the Assyrian empire in the seventh century BC. Babylonians, Persians, Seleucids, Romans, and Parthians left their trace. The site was inhabited into the Arab period

In 1980 excavation team  found in Tell Barri, The town which was walled in the second millennium BC, with an acropolis at its centre. Tombs were also found at the site. Many ceramics were discovered which have helped the archaeologists determine the different strata of occupation of the mound. Artifacts from Tell Barri, including a number of cuneiform tablets, have been taken to the museum of Aleppo. Significant discoveries are a sacred complex in Area G (third millennium BC), the remains of the royal palace of Tukulti-Ninurta II (Neo-Assyrian period) and the Great Circuit Wall that surrounds the tell and dates to the Parthian period. Scant traces of Roman occupation have been found in many areas of the site. Recently, Islamic era (houses' quarter) has been attested on the northern slope of the mound

Nada Haj Khidr

Setting-up The Tourism Development Directorate


Within the framework of attaining further service,social, and economic benefits from the tourism sites, the Tourism Ministry recently established the Ttourism Development Directorate with the purpose of making contacts with the concerned sides whose task is making tourism development plans in general, and drawing the plan of local and regional development  in particular.

 In cooperation with experts from the culture ministry and the archaeology directorate,

The tourism development directorate worked out a draft law on setting-up the general commission of the culture heritage. The draft law aims at administrating, circulating and investing the archeological sites as well as observing the traditional crafts.

Due to the current crisis Syria is witnessing the tourism development directorate participated in preparing a study on the armed terrorist groups' acts of destroying the museums and the archeological sites.

The tourism development directorate exerted every possible efforts with the purpose of encouraging the people and the local society to be steadfast in protecting Syria's heritage and the archeological sites against the terrorists groups savage aggression.

The tourism development directorate is currently discussing plans of promoting the situation of  traditional crafts as well as means of increasing their activities in the tourism development sites.These plans aim at creating more job opportunities, attaining economic benefits for the local citizens as well as highlighting the deep-rooted of Syria's archeological sites.


Tell Ramad,Understanding the origin of agriculture

Tell Ramad is a prehistoric, Neolithic tell at the foot of Mount Hermon, about 20 kilometres (12 mi) southwest of Damascus. The tell was the site of a small village of 2 hectares (220,000 sq ft), which was first settled in the late eighth millennium.

The tell was discovered by French customs officers, M. Compant and Lieutenant Potut. Laurisson Ward visited Tell Ramad again in 1939 and collected material from the surface, now in the Peabody Museum. Tell Ramad lay somewhat forgotten until it was rediscovered by W.J. van Liere and Henri de Contenson, the latter leading excavations in 8 seasons between 1963 and 1973.

Notable features from the earliest stage include a number of 3–4 metre diameter, lime-plaster floored, clay lined oval pits with ovens & clay bins that were suggested to have been used as houses. There was nothing to suggest a break in occupation between level I and II of the site. Burial customs appear to have been unchanged between the two periods. Burials were mostly done in communal graves, with little deposits of grave goods. Different flint tools were found at the site in both periods, including sickles and arrowheads.

Tell Ramad is notable as one of the few sites fundamental to our understanding of the origin of agriculture with finds including various types of domesticated wheat and barley. Emmer wheat is an important characteristic of Basin sites in this area, where it is thought to have been introduced. Wild plant foods include pistachios, almonds, figs and wild pears. The mammal fauna from level I at Tell Ramad shows that both sheep and goats were fully and simultaneously domesticated at the site, although the sheep-to-goat ratio is more than 3 to 1.

Maysa Wassouf


Lattakia,Most Popular Tourist Destination

 Latakia,the beautiful coastal city of Syria, is one of the popular places in Syria that draws a large number of admirers from all across the globe. It is the main sea port of Syria on the Mediterranean. Latakia is a historical city that comprises one of the most popular tourist destinations in Syria. Latakia,  is one place that you should not miss under any circumstances. Latakia lies in the state of Syria and therefore it is well connected by all the major means of transport. Following are some of the interesting information about Latakia.

Latakia is located at 186 kilometers southwest of Aleppo. If you are traveling from the Syrian capital of Damascus, you need to travel 348 kilometers northwest. The city was and continues to be one of the most important cities in Syria. The first record of human settlement in the city dates back to the 1000 BC. In the wake of the Great conquest of Alexander, the city of Latakia rose to prominence. It was during this period that the city was renamed in honor of Loadicea, the mother of Seleucus I Nicator, the general of Alexander the Great.

During the 2nd century AD, Latakia was declared the capital of the country for a very short period by Septimius Severus. The city later developed into an important port and the main supplier of wine. The devastating earthquakes in 494 and 555 damaged the city and was rebuilt by Justinian. The Arab army invaded Latakia in 638 AD while the Crusaders recaptured the city in 1097. Saladin became the ruler of Latakia in 1188 AD.

The ruins of the ancient city are one of the most popular attractions in Latakia. Other than these remnants, there are a number of attractions that pull hoards of travelers to the city. The extensive sea shore present the vacationers with a number of spectacular beaches, distinguished by soft sand and unpolluted sea. The museum in Latakia is one of the major Latakia attractions. You can also opt for shopping a variety of things like pottery, glassware, clay tablets from nearby Ugarit.

Maysa Wassouf