The remains of al-Breij (البريج), formerly the Monastery of Saint Daniel, are located on the eastern end of Jebel Barisha (جبل باريشا). This Byzantine-era monastery is in a surprisingly good state of preservation. The main building is inserted into the cliff face, the first story being cut out of the rock and the stone used to build the upper two stories. The complex of three buildings includes some oil presses, cisterns, and a conventual tomb.
Archaeologist George Tchalenko describes this as “the most interesting monastic grouping in the area.” It was built relatively late in the monastic boom. This area, on the edge of the al-Dana plain, was notoriously inhabited by Monophysites, heretical in the eyes of the central Byzantine church authorities. The Monastery of Saint Daniel was probably a Monophysite institution. The building dates from the late sixth century, though sources differ as to whether it was built in one of two phases.
Getting There: Getting to al-Breij (البريج) is quite simple, as any microbus traveling from Aleppo (حلب) to Harem (حارم) will pass within a couple hundred meters of the site. It is clearly visible on the right (north) side of the road about three kilometers beyond the town of Sarmada (سرمدا). The trip takes between 30 and 45 minutes. If no microbus to Harem (حارم) is available, it is about a 45 minute walk from Sarmada (سرمدا), which has microbus connections with Aleppo (حلب) as well as Idleb (إدلب).
Coordinates: 36°11’58.26″N / 36°40’52.24″E
Transliteration Variants: al-Braij
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