"Serjilla" Khirbat Serjilla by MM212

Khirbat Serjilla Travel Guide: 21 reviews and 135 photos

One of perhaps 700 "dead cities" in north-western Syria, Serjilla is said to be one of the best preserved and most complete. These 'dead cities' are better described as abandoned villages dating from the late-Roman/early-Christian period (otherwise known as Byzantine) around the 4th century AD and later, but seem more like ghost towns whose inhabitants left only yesterday. This is due to their amazingly well-preserved buildings, including churches, palaces, and olive presses. For archaeologists, they provide a unique insight into Byzantine life between the 4th and 6th centuries. There are several reasons why the dead cities' inhabitants gradually abandoned their homes between the 6th and 11th centuries AD. The brief Persian occupation in the 6th century was quite destructive. Soon afterwards, the arrival of the Arabs in the 7th century AD resulted in the transfer of the centre of power from Antioch to Damascus which led to the decline of the area as a whole. This was coupled with unintended soil erosion and a decline in agricultural practices and associated industries (olive oil, wine, etc.).

Serjilla is situated in a basin among rocky and grassy hills. As described in most guidebooks, the dead city gives an eerie feeling of abandonment. Although I also drove past Al-Barah and Boudeh without stopping, Serjilla was the only 'dead city' I actually visited during my tour of Syria in December 2006. It was a stop along a drive from Aleppo to Damascus near the end of the trip. Serjilla was the perfect introduction to the dead cities, though if time had allowed, I would have preferred to explore additional villages nearby, such as Al-Barah and Boudeh. Hopefully next time.

Syria itinerary in Dec 2006:

Damascus - Maaloula - Krak des Chevaliers - Homs - Palmyra/Tadmur - Hama - Apamea - Aleppo - Al Barah/Serjilla - Damascus

  • Last visit to Khirbat Serjilla: Dec 2006
  • Intro Updated Oct 27, 2010
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Reviews (14)

Comments (3)

  • TheWanderingCamel's Profile Photo
    Nov 5, 2007 at 5:13 PM

    I love Serjilla too - 3 visits now and still I want to go back. Each the dead cities I've visited have something different to offer, but all evoke the past brilliantly. They are truly haunted in the best possible way. leyle

  • call_me_rhia's Profile Photo
    Nov 5, 2007 at 6:02 AM

    amazing photos.... i loved serjilla very much - but had a totally different (winter) experience: mists covered the "city"... very suggestive, and very eerie, too.

  • triplehelix's Profile Photo
    Aug 25, 2007 at 7:17 PM

    this place had an eerie desolate quiet to it like it was haunted. or at least i felt that way. i was alone here (or was i?). i absolutely loved the architecture and found it amazing.

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