While not particularly well-preserved or extensive, the Byzantine site of Wadi Martahun (وادي مرتحون) is quite impressive for its dramatic setting, constructed on a rocky mountain gorge. The site has numerous villas that were built on the steep slopes overlooking a dry stream bed. The most well-preserved Byzantine-era structures are on the southern portion of the site. On the northern side of the ravine are numerous man-made caves that likely predate the Byzantine settlement, as well as some interesting rock carvings. The site is small enough to be thoroughly explored in an hour or so, and can easily be combined with a visit to nearby al-Bara (البارة).
Getting There: Wadi Martahun (وادي مرتحون) is most easily approached from the nearby town (and important archaeological site) of al-Bara (البارة). Regular microbuses travel from Aleppo (حلب) to Ariha (آريحا), a roughly thirty minute trip. Ariha (آريحا) also has regular microbus connections to Idleb (إدلب), Maarat al-Naaman (معرة النعمان), and some other larger towns. From Ariha (آريحا) there are infrequent microbuses to al-Bara (البارة).
Once in al-Bara (البارة), there is no regular public transportation the remaining distance of about four and a half kilometers to Wadi Martahun (وادي مرتحون). It is a pleasant enough hike, however, and most passing vehicles would probably be willing to give you a lift. The road to the site heads out of al-Bara (البارة) to the southwest, towards the village of Kansafra (كنصفرة). Follow this road for about four kilometers, then turn right (north) at the first paved road. About 500 meters on, the road will wind to the left (west), but a dirt path continues straight ahead about 100 meters to the site.
Coordinates: 35°40’30.13″N / 36°30’55.15″E
Transliteration Variants: Wadi Martahoun, Wadi Marthoun, Wadi Marthun, Wadi Martahon, Wadi Marthon
Rating: (4.5 / 10)