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Syria: Serjilla

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Serjilla | Syria | Asia

[Visited: February 2006]

Between the cities of Hama and Aleppo in northern Syria, lie the remnants of hundreds of Byzantine sites. The area was mysteriously left some 15 centuries ago, and it is still not clear why the area was abandoned - probably because of shifting trade routes in the Middle East. Although the Dead Cities, as this area is called, are not very well documented, and the remains are not all that obviously described in travel guides, a visit is a special experience. We were especially lucky to find very variable weather, giving the landscape a grey overtone on some moments, while giving it a sunny look the next.

Picture of Serjilla (Syria): Serjilla: remains of the Byzantine Dead City

After a brief visit to Al Bara, another Dead City hidden in olive plantations, which we left because the sticky, red mud sucked our shoes into the earth, we arrived at Serjilla, the most accessible Dead City. Grey clouds raced down the sky above us, and the last rain drops were still falling down as we walked down the hill of Serjilla, into the small valley. As we stopped on the ridge of the valley, we could see the enormous area, with ruins of all kinds of buildings everywhere. Quite soon, we saw sarcophagi, some with their lid open, adding to the mysterious feel of the place.

Picture of Serjilla (Syria): Serjilla: arches in ruins of a house in this Dead City

Continuing our way through the muddy streets of Serjilla, we discovered some ruins barely recognizable as houses, but also some amazingly intact buildings. One of the pleasures of visiting Serjilla is that you can take up the challenge to discover elaborate decorations and carvings in the lintels of the houses, arches, columns, low doors, and even a few houses with new inhabitants. The sun came out, giving a much better view, but when the dark grey clouds closed in on the valley, it regained its eerie atmosphere.

Picture of Serjilla (Syria): Overview of Serjilla: the tavern and some other buildings
Picture of Serjilla (Syria): One of the remaining buildings of Serjilla
Picture of Serjilla (Syria): Sarcophagus in Serjilla: surviving the elements
Picture of Serjilla (Syria): Serjilla: remains of a wall in this Dead City
Picture of Serjilla (Syria): Dead City Serjilla: sunny view of one of the buildings
Picture of Serjilla (Syria): Serjilla: remains of wall of this Dead City
Picture of Serjilla (Syria): Byzantine building in Serjilla
Picture of Serjilla (Syria): Grey houses of Serjilla under grey sky
Picture of Serjilla (Syria): Serjilla: colonnaded tavern of this Dead City
Picture of Serjilla (Syria): Tavern of Serjilla under a grey sky
Picture of Serjilla (Syria): Serjilla: remaining arch in one of the houses
Picture of Serjilla (Syria): Serjilla seen from a distance
Picture of Serjilla (Syria): Serjilla seen from the entrance, looking down into the valley

Around the World in 80 Clicks

Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Serjilla (Syria). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Serjilla.
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