Burj Heidar (برج حيدر) is a Kurdish village to the east of Qalaat Samaan (قلعة سمعان). The site was settled at least as early as 298 AD, before the Roman empire officially adopted Christianity (in 324 AD), and was known as Kaprokera. Most of the surviving remains date from the Byzantine period, including the tower in the center of the village, from which its modern name originates (“burj” meaning tower in Arabic). Judging by the large number of Byzantine churches (at least four) relative to the size of the settlement, it would appear the community was particularly devout during that period.
Southeast of the tower are the sparse remains of a fourth century church. While little of the exterior walls survive, the columned arcades of the interior remain preserved amidst a small garden. The church was average size and typical in style of the period, and lacks any notable decoration. It is however one of the earliest churches in the region of Jebel Samaan (جبل سمعان).
Continuing to the eastern edge of the village is a small chapel, described by archaeologist Howard Crosby Butler as “one of the most attractive in Jebel Samaan (جبل سمعان)“. This sixth century chapel is richly decorated on the exterior, with bands over the windows similar to nearby Kafr Lab (كفر لاب). There was a later addition to this chapel, presumably a clerical residence, constructed at an awkward angle off the main building.
There are several remains on the western side of the village as well, including a sixth century monastery and an andron (meeting room). These are not particularly well preserved and lack any elaborate decoration. Overall, Burj Heidar (برج حيدر) deserves some brief exploration if passing through the area, but the surviving remains are less impressive than many other nearby sites. The villagers are very friendly and welcoming.
Getting There: There is a very infrequent microbus from Aleppo (حلب) to the village of Basufan (باصوفان) that travels through Burj Heidar (برج حيدر). If you are unable to locate a microbus bound for Basufan (باصوفان) and want to hire a private driver directly to the village, it would be easiest to take one of the more frequent microbuses from Aleppo (حلب) to the town of Nabl (نبل) and hire a driver from there.
Coordinates: 36°20’36.05″N / 36°54’09.08″E
Transliteration Variants: Burj Heider, Burj Haidar, Burj Haider, Burj Haydar, Burj Hayder, Burj Heydar, Burj Heyder, Berj Heidar, Berj Heider, Berj Haidar, Berj Haider, Berj Haydar, Berj Hayder, Berj Heydar, Berj Heyder
Rating: (4 / 10)