At the peak of Jebel Sarir (جبل سرير) can be found the remains of a Roman temple dedicated to Zeus, built during the reign of Hadrian and dated by inscription to 116 AD. The temple was constructed when the road from Antioch to Aleppo (حلب) was being developed for military traffic to support Roman campaigns to the east. Aside from the foundations, the site is largely a chaotic jumble of stones. Nonetheless, it is a beautiful hike up the mountain through pine forest to reach the site, and the views from the peak (elevation 558 meters) are fantastic. Judging by the Christian carvings on some of the stones at the site, the temple was likely converted into a church during the Byzantine period. To the west of this peak, near Sarmada (سرمدا), was the scene of the battle known as Ager Sanguinis that resulted in a major defeat for the Crusaders at the hands of Zengid forces from Aleppo (حلب) in 1119.
Getting There: A dirt road to the peak of Jebel Sarir (جبل سرير) begins at the village of Tel al-Karameh (تل الكرامة), which is on the route of any microbus headed to al-Dana (الدانا), Sarmada (سرمدا), or Harem (حارم). The road is signposted with an archaeological site sign (in Arabic only) at the point where the Roman road (الطريق الروماني) crosses the main highway. Stick to the wide dirt road, which runs off to the east before wrapping back around south and west to the peak. Don’t be confused by the other paths in the area, and when the road forks at about one and a half kilometers, stay to the right. After about two and a half kilometers you’ll reach the peak.
Coordinates: 36°10’55.74″N / 36°46’30.33″E
Transliteration Variants: Jebel Srir, Jebel Sirir
Rating: (1.5 / 10)