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Jebel Samaan, Page 2

Zarzita
زرزيتا

Zarzita (زرزيتا) is a small village with scattered Byzantine-era remains to the southwest of Jebel Samaan (جبل سمعان). The village seems to date from the fifth and sixth centuries, a period when the local agricultural industry was flourishing and there was a surplus to support a large number of monastic communities. Today, it is a small village inhabited by perhaps a couple dozen families. While the …

Burj Heidar
برج حيدر

Burj Heidar (برج حيدر) is a Kurdish village to the east of Qalaat Samaan (قلعة سمعان). The site was settled at least as early as 298 AD, before the Roman empire officially adopted Christianity (in 324 AD), and was known as Kaprokera. Most of the surviving remains date from the Byzantine period, including the tower in the center of the village, from which its modern …

Kafr Nabo
كفر نابو

The tiny village of Kafr Nabo (كفر نابو) has several Byzantine-era remains and is worth a stop if visiting the nearby sites of Burj Heidar (برج حيدر) or Barad (براد). The southern edge of the settlement has a couple of large villas in decent condition with a significant number of well preserved stone carvings. The northern portion of the settlement is largely in ruin, however, …

Burjkeh
برجكة

Burjkeh (برجكة) is a small Kurdish village with two items of interest: a small Byzantine church and an impressive tower after which the village takes its name. The church, alongside the road, dates from the sixth century. The side facade and central doorway are decorated with a meandering band of carvings. Like the chapel at nearby Serqaniya (سرقانيا), the chancel is rectangular and had a …

Fafertin
فافرتين

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 …

Kafr Lab
كفر لاب

Kafr Lab (كفر لاب) is a minor yet charming Byzantine-era site hidden between olive groves in the region of Jebel Samaan (جبل سمعان), northwest of Aleppo (حلب). The settlement includes a small church, which remains very well preserved and is rich in decorative stonework. Other remains are in a far worse state of preservation, but the site is still worth exploring. It is located about …

Basufan
باصوفان

The friendly Kurdish village of Basufan (باصوفان) contains sparse remains from the Byzantine period of what was one of the largest churches in the region of Jebel Samaan (جبل سمعان). The Church of Saint Phocas was dated to 491-492 and is a columned basilica similar in style to the martyrium of Qalaat Samaan (قلعة سمعان). The design included columns with Corinthian capitals and spiral fluting, …

Banastur
بنستور

Banastur (بنستور) is a Byzantine-era site on the eastern edge of Jebel Samaan (جبل سمعان). This small settlement has only a few structures, the most noteworthy of which is a tower that survives in a fairly good state of preservation. Archaeologist Howard Crosby Butler speculated that the tower was actually a residential building, rather than one of the monastic retreats that were so common to …