The friendly Kurdish village of Fafertin (فافرتين) is on the surface entirely unremarkable. It is surprising to find in this otherwise nondescript village what might be the oldest basilica church in Syria. The remains of the church here have been dated by inscription to 372 AD, well earlier than most churches in the region. All that remains is the apse, which today makes up part of a village barnyard. There is also a rock-cut tomb to the west of the village. The site can easily be combined with a visit to other sites in the region of Jebel Samaan (جبل سمعان), northwest of Aleppo (حلب). Just over the hill to the southwest are the ruins of Serqaniya (سرقانيا).
Getting There: Getting to Fafertin (فافرتين), like other sites in this region, is a bit of a challenge. There is no regular public transportation to the village. The nearby village of Basufan (باصوفان) does have direct microbus connections with Aleppo (حلب), and that microbus passes by a road to Fafertin (فافرتين). The turn-off is about one kilometer beyond the site of Kharab Shams (خراب شمس), and leaves about three kilometers to travel on foot. The trip only takes about thirty minutes, but unfortunately these microbuses are very infrequent. Alternatively, Fafertin (فافرتين) is only about six kilometers southeast of Qalaat Samaan (قلعة سمعان), the most prominent site in the region. Depending on your itinerary, it may be more convenient to walk or hitchhike from there, or hire a private driver from the nearby town of Daret Azeh (دارة عزة).
Coordinates: 36°19’13.79″N / 36°54’26.41″E
Transliteration Variants: Fafirtin, Fafirten, Faferten
Rating: (3 / 10)