The remains of two Byzantine churches are located on opposite ends of this small Alawite village near Masyaf (مصياف). The western church, the first as you approach Deir al-Salib (دير الصليب), is in a far greater state of preservation and is well worth a visit if you’re in the area. It is very lightly decorated, but the scale is impressive and the setting is beautiful, particularly in the spring. While there is no inscription dating the church, it is estimated to have been built in the late 5th or early 6th century.
Ruins of a second church, beyond the village and about three kilometers from the first, are largely destroyed except for the foundations. After the 45 minute walk you may find it wasn’t worth the effort to reach, unless you have a particular interest in Byzantine church architecture or a lot of time on your hands.
Getting There: Deir al-Salib (دير الصليب) is located four kilometers southeast of the main Hama (حماة) to Masyaf (مصياف) road, and is easily reached using public transportation. Direct microbuses travel from Masyaf (مصياف) to Deir al-Salib (دير الصليب) and the trip takes about fifteen minutes. These microbuses depart from a main street which runs south from the castle in the center of Masyaf (مصياف), not from the town’s main bus station. Therefore, it makes sense to combine a visit to Deir al-Salib (دير الصليب) with the sites in Masyaf (مصياف).
Alternatively, take any microbus from Hama (حماة) bound for Masyaf (مصياف) and get out at the turnoff for Deir al-Salib (دير الصليب), ten kilometers before Masyaf (مصياف). From here it is a four kilometer walk, mostly uphill, or you could hitch a ride or hope for a passing microbus.
Coordinates: 35°05’31.52″N / 36°26’21.06″E
Transliteration Variants: Deir al-Saleib, Deir al-Solib, Deir al-Soleib
Rating: (5 / 10)