Now, I really believed in karma. I was hungry then I remember I have some bananas in my camera bag which I bought at the service van station in Damascus, I ate a couple of it and out of my mind I threw the peel on the ground while walking, in seconds I was looking for my eyeglasses --- I've lost it! Then I remember I did something wrong, I walked...more
The last set of stairs going inside a carved concrete housing on a rock is said to be the burial cave where the remains of St. Takla lies.When you get in the chapel-like house, there is a courtyard where people are sitting on the sides and a large tree protrude its branches in and out to the windows of the house. At the end of the courtyard is the...more
The monastery of St. Takla holds a nice chapel and the remains of St. Takla inside a small concrete house on the uppermost portion carved inside the rock mountain.St. Takla is a daughter of a Seleucid prince, a pupil of and married to St. Paul. The convent is bigger the St. Sergius and Bacchus convent and in a more dramatic location.more
Rested for awhile at the open-air courtyard of the gorge. Lots of tourists are gathering here owing to the beauty of the view.In fact, I didn't expect seeing this in Ma'loula, I was just interested in seeing the scenic town on the edge of the mountain, this was a plus.more
After passing through the small opening passageways between the rocks, it opens up to a huge open-air sort of a courtyard where people converge -- taking pics. The view of the whole area is breath-taking. You'll find many inlet carvings on the mountain rocks some of them big enough that you can get in, similar to the ones I've seen in Cappadocia,...more
The story says, this gorge opening is related to the escape of St. Takla. WHile St. Takla is escaping from her father's soldiers who're after her because of her christian beliefs, and she prayed til the mountain opened up that made her escape.So this is the gorge opening. It's kind of thrilling passing through the small opening between the gorges....more
From the gorge passage entrance, I walked along with other people. You have to navigate in between the gorges of huge mountian rocks. There are people passing and I found it, could I say this -- "cute" nuns photographing each other. Am not really sure if I could say that, but am not used to seeing nuns.So on we go to the way to the convent.Keep on...more
St. Takla is a greek orthodox monastery dramatically enclaved on the rugged rocks of Ma'loula.After visiting St. Sergius and Bacchus convent, I walked along the road passing by the 4-star and maybe the only big hotel in the area - Safir Hotel. Sat for awhile at a side-road store to drink a soda, while sitting in front of me on the other road are...more
The St. Sergius and Bacchus convent is a greek catholic monastery located up on the mountain of Maaloula. Probably one of the oldest christian monastery predating the council of Nicea 325AD. Dedicated to the paired saints of St. Sergius and Bacchus - who died in 303AD - two high ranking roman soldiers under Ceasar Maximianus persecuted because of...more
The catch: the only place on earth where people still speaks the language of Christ - Aramaic.I guess that's the main reason - uniqueness - that made me come to Maaloula, however, the village is truly a beauty. Houses built on the side of the rugged mountains of rocks. The village or town is up on the mountain 1,500 meters high all the houses or at...more
Located on a hill at the edge of Maaloula, Deir Mar Sarkis, a Greek Catholic (Melkite) institution, is said to have existed as a church since the earliest Christian times. It is also said to have replaced a Roman pagan temple, of which the circular altar supposedly remains to this day. Sergius was a Roman who converted to Christianity and refused...more
There's not a lot of food joints in Maalula... this one seemed cosy enough - and tiny: three little tables, nine chairs, not a lot of food, and variety - same as above but worse! But very intimante and friendly.
Favorite Dish: a huge chocolate croissant.. the largest I have ever seen. They also had 4 lonely small pizza-like breads covered in cheese or thyme. And delicious fruit juices.
I took a taxi from Damascus to the service van depot where the service van to Ma'alula is. I just told the taxi driver to take me to service or bus station going to Ma'loula. It's not really easy as I've asked 2 people who led me to the wrong way. I've asked the store at the bottom of the stairs of the pedestrian bridge going to old city. The place...more
There are tourist buses that leave regularly to Maaloula which I did not take. My mode of transportation around Syria was in a rental car. My travel companions and I took the Damascus-Homs motorway north of the city and drove for about 45 minutes before reaching the turn. However, the easiest way to get to Maaloula for the day is to hire a car with...more
Going back from Maalula to Damascus I waited at a restaurant in the outskirts of Maalula. I stopped a microbus passing and it was 25 SP to Damascus and it took about an hour. Back in Damascus I had no idea at what bus station the bus stopped. I did not recognise it at Karajat Maalula from the morning. I walked to a microbus stop for buses around...more
Rght in the counrtyard of the sant sergius and bacchus monastery, on the right, a little door on the right leads you inside the little museum and shop. Among the many religious "souvenirs" it's possible to buy unlabelled bottles of this delicous dessert wine, made by the priests themselves.
What to buy: the red sweet wine. the bottle, as stated, in unlabelled and simple, but it's possible to buy decorated empty bottles if you'd like to turn the wine into a nice present once back home
What to pay: 200 syrian pounds for a bottle
MAGDOUSIngredientsEggplantsSweet red pepper pasteCrushed walnutsOlive oilSaltSliced garlic (optional)The stuffingMix together the sweet red pepper paste with the crushed walnuts and the garlic.MOUHAMMARAIngredients100 gr. bread crumbs50 gr. sweet red pepper paste10 gr. crushed dried hot red pepper20 gr. cumin40 gr. concentrated pomegranate syrup100...more
Maalula is really a strange place: I wrote before that people of different faiths go there on a pilgrimage, or that different religious denominations coexist under the same roof, peacefully. On top of this, the little village presents another peculiarity: the language! Although all people are taught arabci at school, the native language of the...more
Deir Mar Takla, Santa Tecla monastery - a place where there's a well containing healing waters. I've heard two different sides of the story: the first is that this water helps healing illnesses, and the second says that drinking this water has the power to make woman pregnant and to "remove" sterility from men. The great thing about it is that...more
I don't know if it's dangerous but surely it should be a warning. My belief in karma or the saying that what goes around comes around - was strengthened here.
I was a bit hungry and I started eating the bananas I've bought at the van station in Damascus. While walking I throw the banana peeling on the ground just on the side of the St. Takla convent - there are other rubish around so I presumed it's ok but I know it isn't of course, I was just out of my mind or unmindful.. Anyhoo, seconds after I've dropped the peeling, I was searching for my eyeglasses...damned, I must have dropped it off somewhere, then I suddenly remembered doing something not nice, so I walked back where i"ve thrown the banana peeling, picked it up and throw it on the rubbish bin. I've back-tracked where I've walked but well, bad things done and I never found my eyeglasses anymore.
So be careful, mind your rubbish.
Maaluna, and ancient predominently christian village in the mountains of the Anti-Lebanon (Al-Qalamoun mountains) which lies about 50 kilometres and 50 minutes bus ride north of Damascus. Maalula is a place like no other: life sems to be standing still, and revolving around the two monasteries: the one of saint serius and bacchus, and the one of sainta tecla.
Fondest memory: the wonderful yet simple blue houses - a striking pleasant feature after the much concrete greyness of your average MIddle Eastern cities. Maalula's houses seem to be hanging tight onto the rock behind them, in a very precarious way. It's great to walk around amid them, wondering what supernatural force allows them to exist.