Tuesday, June 26, 2007


Unfortunately - the Syrian government just blocked the blogspot.com internet address, so I can't even see my blog once it's published. Lucky for me, the address where you publish from is different, so hopefully I can continue the blog.

This weekend we went on a trip to Maalula, one of the few villages in Syria where they 'supposedly' still speak Aramaic, the language of the bible and Jesus, etc. However I paid close attention to all of the old people we passed and I only heard Arabic, so I'm going to throw some ash in the soup and call the story only plausible.

It is an ancient christian village that houses a ton of old churches dating back to bible times, and a handful of saints that performed various wonderful miracles, one of which was the splitting of a nearby mountain to effect the escape of a nun. It is the maalula gorge where you can walk down a narrow canyon not unlike zion canyon in utah, and exit into a wide, round opening with a lot of old graves cut out of the rock. There are caves everywhere full of roman and byzantine carvings and habitations of ascetic monks, some of whom still live there.

We also saw a bunch of modern monestaries built on older roman or greek temples and that incorporate the ancient temples into their modern structures. They are mostly syriac orthodox, greek orthodox, or greek catholic monasteries, each with thier own unique style of worship.

The northwestern mountains of Syria are full of mostly christian villages that rich Syrians are now building houses in to escape the summer heat of damascus.

The heat is becoming quite hot, not as bad as DC, but especially for all of us living in the old city without any air conditioning. The highlight of the night is when you move out of the wet sweat spot in your bed for a minute and then roll back into it when it's cold. Quite refreshing.

1 comment:

Bridget said...

I promise they do speak Aramaic there - you just have to ask for it. Or the people in the churches can demonstrate it for you.

Is that gorge still filled with trash? That place had "Eagle Project" written all over it.