[kl-bogel] Syrian ghost towns.

Dead city in Syria called the ruins of a Late towns in the north-west of the country, concentrated near the cities of Aleppo and Maarrat al-Numan. Ghost towns a great many, some researchers account for at least a hundred. This is the story of the most accessible of the Byzantine settlements Serdzhilla and al-Bara, located west of Maarrat Al Numan. you can get to them, both from Aleppo, and from the city of Hama, but it seems to me that the second option is preferable. Most expedient way to achieve these Byzantine ruins - guided tour of some hotel in Hama. It costs a penny and allows for time to examine immediately the many attractions. This is what should be done. But as you know, we are not looking for easy ways to ...

I decided to go on their own, thereby having tasted all the delights of travel in rural areas without Syrian own transport.
To reach the city Maarat en-Numan from Hama is not difficult, it goes straight to the taxi. But in the Maarrate the fun begins, the fact that local taxi drivers have long realized that the objects around them cities have pleasant as exclusive, and therefore wring their exorbitant prices for their services. I voiced the price of some four-digit number, which I did not even remember. I thought that any bargaining with such numbers of zeros would be impractical. And I decided to just move out to the side Serdzhilly, the nearest of the Dead Cities, by any means, but there are already in place to develop a plan of further action.

Until Serdzhilly, that is one way, the taxi driver wanted 400 lire, it too was not enough for me to be admissible, but either way we went, carrying out further bargaining as we move forward. Go for a while, about 15 minutes maximum. As a result, already in place, I gave the taxi driver the amount that, in my opinion, he deserved it, namely 200 pounds. Arab, for obvious reasons, made a wild tantrum, but I have already "arrived", and further decided to move on foot.
Residential building in Serdzhille.

Like all Dead city Serdzhilla reached its peak in the 4-6 century. Then the oil from olives dramatically gone up in price and suitable for cultivation of this product of the land started growing urban settlements, villas and various points of processing this raw material.

Serdzhilla is a sort of exemplary Roman settlement. There is a "cultural center" - a term, a small cafe or tavern and the building of a basilica, which, though not very well preserved. Around are a few houses and people's houses and most importantly several industrial sites where the processed raw material for olive oil.
The building is a term

Terms are small in the Roman standards, but they are very well preserved.

Antique Tavern.

Antique Cafe inside.

Stone slab covering a small area between the terms and antique cafe, is the roof a large underground tank to collect water.

One of the most impressive structures in Serdzhille probably a Roman villa.

Antique houses.

Antique industrial center for processing raw materials.

Roman tomb in the form of a pagan temple.

After the inspection Serdzhilly I went walking in a westerly direction. For a while I had to endure tiresome taxi driver, which I "do not Doda" money. He rode behind me and signals. To break away from him, I went to the side of the road, I had a desire to find some "high" to be able to explore the surrounding area. It was not very smart decision, since all the space outside the highway were blocked by fences of stone boulders of Syrians were labeled with their land. I had pretty sweat and climb over a dozen such fences, before I went out into the open countryside.

Local fauna - whether it is sex, whether they eat each other.

Especially all the hills here are very gentle and visibility with them is difficult, I failed to detect any objects or so. Later, I realized that all the ruined buildings are located near roads and has no special meaning too deep into this hilly terrain.
Another of the Byzantine town is a few kilometers southwest of Serdzhilly.

Maybe it's Bawdy, there is a mausoleum with a pyramidal roof and the ancient necropolis.

Farther toward the city of al-Bara I tossed a local boy on the bike, though, he brought me to the ancient city, and to his home, which is quite logical. But it was much closer, a suburb of the ancient Al-Bars towered two hundred yards from his home.

These Roman structures were severely damaged, although they had very decent height in some places.

I climbed the high wall of a building to take pictures of the neighborhood.

In the local ruins, I found a companion for today. I saw a little boy climbed onto the wall behind me. It appeared to be a Dutchman, Simon, traveling as I am alone. But unlike me, he came to al-Bara from Alleppey in what is passing transport, unloaded his car from these ruins. Simon had a very vague idea about where he was, he looked like and I al-Bara, but knew nothing about the next Serdzhillu in which I visited.

The Dutchman was an interesting personality - in Syria, he lived alone falyafelem and lived only on balconies and roof of the hotel for 3-4 $, compared with him, I felt like a millionaire, because I could not afford to live in hotels for as much as much as $ 10!

Later, it became clear that Simon came to Syria is not so much that I "climb" over the ruins, and to communicate with the local population. For this, he learned a few Arabic phrases, and actively used the phrase book. First, it has brought positive results, he agreed with the local Arabs that they are bona fide us to the main ruins of the Byzantine city. But then it became more burdensome, perhaps, yet it was not worth asking everyone he met, and the cross-Syrian "How's he doing" and "How does he live in Syria."

Local residents, who promised us in good faith to al-Bars at first, as usual, brought us to his home, where we took part in the loading of some belongings. Rather, those who participated and who was standing beside him.  The photo on the right is visible beard Simon.

In the end, we dovezli to the ruins.
Al-Bara's largest Byzantine city in the region. In ancient times it was called Kaproperiya later Kafra, and since the Middle Ages, it appears under the name of the bar.

In 1098 the city was captured knights of Count Raymond of Toulouse. They established the Catholic Diocese here on top of an existing orthodox. In this connection, in 1123 Bara easily passed into the hands of Muslims, not chinivshih such outrages.
An interesting fact that the city existed here until the late Middle Ages.

The bar remains of five churches, basilicas and two pyramidal tombs. It should be noted that al-Bara heavily overgrown with trees, especially olives, Syrian families still gather here abundant harvests. But this fact does not promote entertainment ruins of the city, the more it worse was restored, in my opinion, unlike the same Serdzhilly.

Ancient mausoleum.

Inside the sarcophagus which belonged to a noble family.

Another mausoleum bit further. He looks like a tomb from the town Bawdy.

When finished viewing, I Stopped the truck to the town of Kafr Nubble, there we move on to the minibus, in good faith to our highways Allepo - Homes. It happened to Simon, an interesting incident, the driver of a minibus does not surrender Dod him with a large bill. Frankly, it was the only such episode, in my memory, in Syria. Especially knowing how "sverhekonomno" Dutchman refers to money, I have some doubts. In any case, it was already growing dark, and we were engaged in "market-station" for a trifling sum of money under the city Maaratom, although a long time should have been in Hama. I even had to yell at the two debaters.
Finished with these episodes, we're already in another - well after passing the city Hama, minibus was in Homs. Thank God I managed to realize that the lights that we passed in the darkness on the starboard side and had our final station. In the end we had to walk several miles along the highway back and then go on something to the hotel in the city center.
Simon, after that evening I never saw. After this day, I made for myself a few conclusions, firstly, would be nice to go back to the Dead Cities again, and secondly, I thought that fellow travelers can be as good and evil, on the one hand is good to have psychological support and, on the other hand, the number of different tactical errors in one evening while exceeding all acceptable norms.

At his dacha ..

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