Deir Mar Touma (دير مار توما), or the Monastery of Saint Thomas, is located a short distance uphill from Seidnaya (صيدنايا), north of Damascus. The modern monastery is built neighboring an ancient chapel which was originally a Roman temple. The Roman foundations of this chapel are more clearly apparent than the church at Deir al-Shirubeim (دير الشيروبيم), further up the mountain, which is also of Roman origin. The chapel’s present form is very close to the original Roman architecture, with the addition of a circular apse on the eastern side. Ancient caves and various Roman capitals and carvings can also be found around the site.
Getting There: Frequent microbuses from Damascus (دمشق) to Seidnaya (صيدنايا) depart from the microbus station near Balal Square (ساحة بلال) between Qasaa (قصاع) and Zablatani (زبلطاني), slightly northeast of Bab Touma Square (ساحة باب توما). The trip takes about 30-45 minutes. The monastery can be reached on foot from Seidnaya (صيدنايا) by following the road that leads northwest from town. It is about a 20-30 minute walk, but entirely uphill and somewhat of a steep climb. There is no public transportation from Seidnaya (صيدنايا) to Deir Mar Touma (دير مار توما), so hiring a private taxi in Seidnaya (صيدنايا) to travel the remaining distance is the best option for those who don’t want to walk.
Coordinates: 33°42’32.13″N / 36°22’16.54″E
Transliteration Variants: Deir Mar Tuma
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