Ma'aloula is one
of the most scenic villages in Syria and is of particular interest as the
only place in the world where Aramaic; the language spoken by Christ (pbuh)
is still used as a living language. The word Ma'aloula means entrance in
It's situated at
an altitude of more than 1500 meters; with its little houses cling to the
face of an enormous rock; making it look suspended in mid-air.
There are two
important monasteries in Ma'aloula: Mar Sarkis and Mar Taqla: Enter Mar
Sarkis Monastery, and you will find yourself in the midst of history. This
monastery was built in the 4th century on remains of a heathen temple,
designed on the model of martyries, which have a simple, plain appearance.
It was named after St. Sarkis, one of Syrian horsemen who fell in the reign
of king Maximanus in 297. This monastery still maintains its solemn
renowned Mar Taqla Monastery, along with scores of pilgrims, both
Muslim and Christian, who go there to gain blessings and to make offerings;
the place that holds remains of St. Taqla; daughter of one of Selucid
princes, and pupil of St. Paul.
Should you want
to see more, there are the remains of numerous monasteries, convents,
churches, shrines and sanctuaries some of which lie in ruins, while others
continue to stand, defying age.
This is Ma'aloula,
the unique village, still genuine in this whole world, a magnificent plaque
that contains a strange mixture of past and present, reality and legend,
sanctity and beauty.