Just a short hike up a hillside opposite Qalaat Samaan (قلعة سمعان) is the small Byzantine site of Taqla (تقلا). This settlement was constructed in the mid-fifth century around a small church, the western facade of which represents the only decently preserved structure surviving today. The plan of the church was typical of the columned basilicas of the mid-fifth century, with the apse flanked by two side rooms. The village was once inhabited by farmers who exploited the fertile plain below to the west. While the remains are quite modest, it is a pleasant hike to this ideal picnic spot.
Getting There: Taqla (تقلا) is roughly five kilometers north of Darat Azeh (دارة عزة), which has regular microbus connections to Aleppo (حلب). From Darat Azeh (دارة عزة), head north on the main road towards Qalaat Samaan (قلعة سمعان), passing the road to Qatura (قاطورة) along the way. After about four kilometers, the road will fork. The left fork heads to Afrin (عفرين), while continuing straight ahead will take you to Qalaat Samaan (قلعة سمعان). Just ahead and to the right is a dirt road that heads east, and then south, an additional kilometer to Taqla (تقلا). If you want to hire a private driver to the site, do so in Darat Azeh (دارة عزة).
Coordinates: 36°19’09.96″N / 36°50’51.03″E
Transliteration Variants: Taqleh, Takla, Takleh
Rating: (3 / 10)