The small Roman temple in al-Sanamein (الصنمين) makes for an easy half-day excursion from Damascus. The temple, built with the black basalt typical of the region, is relatively well preserved. According to the Ministry of Tourism, it dates from the late 2nd century. The temple is in the west end of the town, tucked away behind a mosque.
The temple appears to be permanently locked, with the key kept at the town hall. If you are unable to track down the caretaker, you can still access the temple from the northern side. A stairway leads to the roof of a now-abandoned dwelling, from which you can have a clear view of the interior of the temple (and climb down, if you’re feeling adventurous). There are various other ruins scattered around this part of town, many incorporated into modern houses.
Getting There: Fairly frequent microbuses travel to al-Sanamein (الصنمين) from Damascus (دمشق). They depart from the bus station just southeast of Bab Musalla Square (ساحة باب مصللى), southwest of the old city. The trip takes about an hour. These microbuses unload passengers in the center of town, and from there you must head west along the main street until you see an older looking mosque with a black stone minaret to the left (south). The Roman temple is located behind this mosque, a bit hidden from view.
Coordinates: 33°04’17.59″N / 36°10’53.96″E
Transliteration Variants: al-Sanamain
Rating: (4 / 10)