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  • Tags: Maaloula

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Maaloula Church of Mar Sarkis

These pictures show the late antique church of Mar Sarkis (St. Sergius) which is sometimes ascribed an early C4th, possibly pre-Constantinian, foundation date due to the exceptionally rare survival of a horseshoe-shaped altar table. This shape is usually associated with pagan altars and in this case is believed to have been made for a Christian place of worship due to the lack of drainage channels for blood sacrifices. The church also housed a large collection of icons, including an 1813 image of SS. Sergius and Bacchus by Michael of Crete. The fate of these icons is currently unclear after an attack on the church by jihadists in the course of the Syrian civil war.

Type: Architecture
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Defile north of Maaloula that was used for early Christian burials

The narrow rock defile north of Maaloula is called by the local inhabitants the siq and (not entirely seriously) compared with the defile at Petra in Jordan. This part of the town and the high ground above and around the town was used for Roman and Late Antique burials.

Type: Landscape
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View of Maaloula from the shrine of St. Thecla

This is a view of the distinctive houses of Maaloula that are built on top of each other terraced into the steep-sided valley in which the town is located.

Type: Landscape
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Maaloula Church of St. Thecla

The Church of St. Thecla today is a modern convent and orphanage for young girls run by Rum Orthodox nuns, as with the convent at Saydnaya. The shrine is believed by local people to be the place that the rocks opened to receive St. Thecla as she fled an attempted rape. The story is known from the early Christian text called The Acts of Paul and Thecla and most people locate these events in Asia Minor, but there is a long-standing Syrian tradition of placing these events in Maaloula.

Type: Architecture
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