The Greek Catholic village of Maaloula, nestled in the foothills of the Anti-Lebanon Range 30 mi/50 km northeast of Damascus, makes for a worthwhile excursion to see the multicolored cliffside houses.
Be sure to see the fourth-century Mar Taqla (St. Tekla) Monastery, which has a chapel built into a cavern in the rocks. (The water dripping from the ceiling is reputed to have healing properties.) Climb along the cliff edge for some spectacular views of the town and valley.
Other attractions include Roman ruins and the nearby Convent of St. Sarkis. Maaloula is one of only three villages where Aramaic is still spoken.
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