Sinkhar (سنخار) was a fairly extensive Byzantine settlement in the southeastern reaches of Jebel Samaan (جبل سمعان). While the state of preservation of the site is generally poor, one particular building is in remarkable condition. The sixth century chapel, originally attached to the southeastern façade of the much larger fourth century church, remains exceptionally well preserved. The chapel features detailed stone carved decoration, both around the doorway and windows of the western façade and around the interior of the apse.

The site contains several dozen structures, though only a few remain standing in good condition. Nonetheless, Sinkhar (سنخار) is a charming site to explore, remaining isolated except for seasonal settlement by local shepherds. Stone carved decoration of varying quality can be found throughout the site. Archaeologist Howard Crosby Butler said of Sinkhar (سنخار) that “there is not a more interesting or beautiful ruin than this in the Jebel Samaan”. The access road was only constructed in the last decade, protecting the site from pillaging for building materials until recently. As a result, the settlement appears to be a good candidate for future restoration.


Getting There: Sinkhar (سنخار) is one of the most remote sites in the region of Jebel Samaan (جبل سمعان), and visiting without a private driver will require some effort. The site is approximately six kilometers east northeast of Darat Azeh (دارة عزة), which has regular microbus connections to Aleppo (حلب). From Darat Azeh (دارة عزة), a paved road winds northeast to the village of Kafr Tineh (كفر تينة), about three kilometers away. From there, a dirt road continues north one kilometer to the Byzantine site of Batuta (بطوطة). Sinkhar (سنخار) is an additional two kilometers southeast of Batuta (بطوطة).

Coordinates: 36°17’52.00″N / 36°54’30.00″E

Transliteration Variants: Sinhar, Sankhar, Sanhar, Senkhar, Senhar

Rating: 5 out of 10 stars (5 / 10)

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