Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Krac and Maloula

After our visit to Apamea we took a zig-zag mountain road to the Crusader castle Krac de Chevaliers. After a hearty lunch of mezzes and roasted chicken (which is apparently a specialty in the Krac region), we went to explore the castle.

Kac has been describe as "the epitome of the dream castle of childhood fantasies of jousts, armour and pennants" (Paul Theroux). It is definitely one of the best preserved castles we have visited in this area of the world. The fort is in the only significant break in the mountain range that stretches between Turkey and Lebanon.

The first fort was recorded in 1031, but it was the 12th century Crusaders who expanded Krac into the form that exists today. The Crusaders held the castle until 1271. We loved the Krac and had a great evening at the St. Francis hotel with some very LARGE whiskies and some candied fruit...

The next morning on our way back to Damascus we stopped off in Maloula. Maloula is an interesting little village, with houses set into the side of a cliff face.

There are some Muslims living here, but the population is predominantly Greek Catholic. Until very recently the main language of the village was a variation of Aramaic, the language thought to be spoken by Jesus. We visited a couple of sites and a gorge.

The Convent of St. Tecla (a pupil of St. Paul and one of the first Christian martyrs) and the Monastery of St. Sergius (where the remains of a Byzantine church remain). We also visited a mini-Siq (gorge) with 100s of other visitors.

1 comment:

Mrs. Goodwrench said...

Well, I've successfully signed up to make comments to your blog. There's no stopping me now. Who knows where it will lead? I just wanted to say how much I am enjoying the account of your trip and all of the photos. This castle amazes me because of where it is.

I wouldn't know a HTML tag if I ran into it, so just getting this far is enough for one day.

Sara AKA Mrs. Goodwrench