These images of Qal'at Seman, the famous shrine of St. Symeon Stylites the Elder on Jebel Seman are valuable because they are taken midway between the French restoration of the site in the 1930s and the way the site looked in the late 1990s when the majority of the rest of the photographs in this archive were taken. They show the complex to be well maintained, with less visitors (local or foreign) than were customary by the pre war years.
Sinkhar is located in a valley between Batuta and Sheikh Sulaiman and, at the time of the site visit, was only accessible by walking for some distance. The C4th church in the village was severely overgrown, meaning that only a well-preserved chapel to the south of the main church, that was added in the C6th, could be accessed and it was impossible to find any trace of the bema and other features recorded by Tchalenko in the 1950s.
This church is a relatively large size considering that it stands directly to the north of the cathedral-sized Church of Julianos in Brad. An inscription dates it to 561.
Brad is on a high plateau in one of the more inaccessible areas of the Jebel Seman and was a large town in late antiquity, famous in hagiographical sources as the birthplace of St. Maroun. The Church of Julianos has been dated by inscriptions to 399-402 and is one of the largest churches in the region, with the remains of a large bema still visible and a side apse to the north and the west wall being the best preserved elements of the site at the time of visit. Much of the stone seemed to have been reused in the construction of local dwellings.
The modern village now surrounds the C5th church in Kimar, although a recently built house beside the site did not immediately threaten the ruins at the time of the site visit. The walls and bema were in relatively good condition, although nothing stood higher than around knee-height. At this site the bema had clear notches in the stone indicating that wooden seats and panels would have originally been attached to the stone base of the platform.
The C4th church of Suganeh is located in the centre of the village and, on a visit in 1998, was surrounded by modern dwellings and at risk of being destroyed. At that time it was being used as a village rubbish dump and the stone was being taken for modern building projects. Only the apse, bema and a group of sarcophagi south of the apse were still extant at the time of the visit.
The road to Zar Zita approaches from the east through a rocky shallow valley that on the south side abuts the northern edge of Jebel Sheikh Barakat. Here the limestone has been carved for use as a series of hypogea and funerary reliefs that date from approximately the first century BCE until the second century CE.
Zar Zita is a small village to the south west of Qalat Seman. It has scattered Roman and late antique buildings including an imposing first or second century mausoleum in the centre of the settlement.
Qatura is one of the pre-Roman villages on Jebel Seman according to Tchalenko. It is notable for its C2nd monumental tombs of T. Flavius Iulianus and Aemilius Reginus (195).
Kafar Daret 'Azzeh means the ruins of Daret 'Azzeh and the remains of the church are located on a hill to the north and east of the current town. The church is dated 399-400 and only survives to a height of 3-4 courses above ground level.