This spiritual journey will lead
you through paths carpeted with wildflowers and olive
groves, whose perfumes interlace with a delicate scent
of incense… You will emerge into a magic atmosphere
which reigns in the sumptuous Islamic capitals of Damascus
Syria also played an important role in the development
of Christianity. Christianity spread very early among
the gentiles and Damascus was the city where St. Paul
first preached the Gospel of Christ. In the ancient
Damascus the names and places you encounter directly
remind of the events described in the New Testament:
in the proximity of the Straight Street and the Ananias
Chapel you may still hear the echo of the steps of St.-Paul
slipping silently along and see the window carved in
the wall of the Citadel through which he escaped the
Roman… Syria has preserved a large number of
ancient churches and chapels, monasteries and ruins
of settlements dating back to the Byzantine era, which
are linked with the famous Syrian saints and martyrs
(St. Takla, St. Sergius, and St. Simeon).
You will be charmed by the antique, very early Christianized
cities of Rasafeh and Bosra as well as by the picturesque
villages perched in the rocks: Maaloula, where Aramaic,
the language of Jesus, is still spoken, and Saidnaya
home to the famous Monastery with the holly icon painted
by St. Luke. The impressive Franc castles will remind
you of the tormented era of the Crusades (the Krack
des Chevaliers, the Saladin castle).
Syria is an ancient land and you will have the occasion
to visit as well its most famous highlights that stretch
far back beyond Islamic and Biblical times: Palmyra,
Excursion to the Kawkab, church built in memory of the conversion of Saint Paul, and to the National
museum, visit to the Umayyad mosque with a famous shrine in the centre of the mosque built over the
head of St. John the Baptist, Saladin mausoleum, Azem Palace. A walk through the picturesque Christian
quarter, visit to Bab Sharki, St Ananias Chapel, St. Paul window and the vibrant Hamidiyeh souk.
In the evening drive to the Kassioun Mountain to enjoy the splendid panorama of Damascus
Dinner and overnight in Damascus.
3 : Saidnaya, Maaloula,
Krack des Chevaliers, St. George, Tartus, Lattakia
Short drive to Saidnaya, picturesque village spread out over a hill top end surrounded by Vineyards and
Olive groves famous pilgrimage site, known for the St. Mary Convent associated with miracles enveloping
the image of the Virgin allegedly executed by St.-Luke the Evangelist. Continue to Maaloula, visit of
the 4th Century St Sergius monastery and 10th century St. Takla Convent reachable through the miraculous
mountain crack. Next visit leads to the Krack des Chevaliers indicating the presence of the forces of
Christendom from the first crusade. It is the largest and the best preserved Crusader Castle in the Middle
East. In its proximity excursion to the St George monastery dating back to the 6th century to the time of
the Emperor Justinian. En route to the coast stopping in Tartus, ancient port known for its early cult
of the Virgin. According to a legend it was Saint Peter himself, who consecrated the city’s first church.
Visit to the ancient Cathedral of Our Lady of Tortosa, now a museum, which owns its large fortifications
to Crusaders. Continue to the famous coastal town of Lattakia.
Dinner and overnight in Lattakia
4 : Ugarit, Saladin Castle,
En route to Aleppo, visit of Ugarit, kingdom on the Mediterranean coast, where the first alphabet was found.
A short drive will bring you to another reminiscence from the tormented period of the Crusades,
the Saladin castle. After the visit you will cross the mountains and drive north, to the breathtaking site
of St-Simeon Monastery. Here this Stylite lived more than 42 years perched on top of a pillar. The remains
of this column are still available. Excursion to some of other Dead Cities nearby. These are ruins of
Christian settlements dating from the Byzantine era, which were abandoned in the 7th century by the Christian
population feeing the seism and an approaching army.
Dinner and overnight in Aleppo
Entire day dedicated to Aleppo. Hiding a labyrinth of medieval souks and richly ornamented houses Aleppo
boasts a remarkable heritage of Islamic and Christian monuments: Great Mosque, Madrassa Halawiye,
Maronite and Armenian churches….This beautiful Oriental city of churches and minarets is dominated
by the gigantesque Citadel (after the legend this was the spot where Abraham used to milk his cow, this
legend is also the source of Aleppo's Arabic name, Halab, derived from the Arabic for milk).
Dinner and overnight in Aleppo .
Drive east, through the desert to the region of the mythical Euphrates. The numerous sites spread all along
its banks belong to all periods of history, visit of a famous pilgrimage site Rasafeh named under the
Byzantine rule ‘Sergiopolis’ in honor to the martyrdom of Sergius (a Roman soldier who refused to bring
sacrifice to god Jupiter). You will admire large water cistern like immense subterranean cathedrals.
Departure to Deir ez-Zor.
Dinner and overnight in Deir ez-Zor .
Continue through desert to Palmyra, the pride of the Syrian Desert and one of the most important
highlights of the tour in Syria. Visit of its astonishing Temple of Bel, which is almost identical in its
structure to the temple, built by Herod in Jerusalem, also of agora, theatre,the mysterious Valley of tombs....
Dinner and Overnight in Palmyra
A day trip south to the black basalt region of Hauran, defined by the mountains of Jebel Druze which
are in the Psalms referred to as 'Mount Bashan'. Visit of Bosra, a Nabatean city with the extraordinary
well preserved huge Roman theatre. According to the tradition, it was here, that accompanying a caravan
of his uncle,the Prophet Mohammad met the Christian moan Bahira, who initiated Mohammad to monotheism
and predicted his prophecy. On the road back to Damascus you will stop in Shahba to visit its museum
which houses a beautiful collection of splendid Roman mosaics. Return to Damascus.
Dinner and overnight in Damascus.