This important archaeological site has been called the Pompeii of the Syrian Desert. It was abandoned in the 3rd century and is home to the oldest surviving house-church and synagogue ever found.
Great Mosque of Damascus (Umayyad Mosque)
This historic 7th-century mosque stands on a site that has been sacred since 1000 BC. It has medieval mosaics on the facade and a shrine to John the Baptist inside.
This ancient city features an exceptionally long Roman street and other classical ruins. In the Byzantine era, it was home to Evagrius the church historian, Theodoret the bishop, and Monophysitism.
Serjilla (also spelled Sarjella) gets Lonely Planet's vote as the "most eerie and evocative" of the Dead Cities of northern Syria. It also has the greatest number of semi-complete buildings.
Al-Bara (also called Bara) is the most extensive of the Dead Cities of northern Syria and one of the last to be abandoned. It held out as a bastion of Eastern Christianity until the arrival of the Crusaders in the 11th century.
Located 50 km from Damascus, Maalula is the only place in the world that still speaks Aramaic, the language of Jesus. Home to two ancient Christian monasteries, it attracts Christian and Muslim pilgrims.
Fafterin is one of the Dead Cities of northern Syria. It is notable for being home to the second-oldest church in Syria after Dura Europos, dating from 372 AD.
Built in 1873, this church has two pointed towers and a high dome. The Maronites are Eastern Catholics in full communion with the Pope, with a liturgy in Syriac.