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Serjilla: Serjilla, Dead City

Serjilla, Dead City

Serjilla, Syria. Serjilla (Arabic: سيرجيلة‎) is one of the best preserved of the Dead Cities in northwestern Syria. It is located in the Jebel Riha, approx. 65 km north from Hama and approx. 80 km southwest from Aleppo, very close to ruins of another "dead city" of Bara. The settlement arose in a natural basin and prospered from cultivating of grapes and olives. A bath complex indicates the wealth of the community. Unusually, it was built in 473, already during the time of Christianity. In 1899 an archeological team from the Princeton University discovered a large mosaic on the main hall floor but it had disappeared when the team returned six years later. Traces of now destroyed murals were found on the walls as well. Next to the baths stands an andron, a meeting place for men. Further east there was a small church but not much remains of it. Among ruins of numerous residential houses it is worth to mention a two storey villa which still stands today. In two lower rooms one can still see an arch which would have supported the ceiling. This feature was typical in the Dead Cities. Behind the villa there is a sunken building with an olive press. Like most other of the "Dead Cities", Serjilla was abandoned in the seventh century when the Arabs conquered the region and discontinued merchant routes between Antioch and Apamea.

Credit: Alessandra Kocman / Flickr