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Marmarita (Arabic: مرمريتا, Classical Syriac: ܡܪܡܪܝܬܐ, Marmarītā) is a Greek Orthodox Christian village located in northwestern Syria close to the Tartus Governorate but administratively belonging to the Homs Governorate since 1953. It was previously part of the Latakia Governorate. With a population of 2,206 in 2004 according to the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS), Marmarita is one of the largest villages in Wadi al-Nasarah ("Valley of the Christians"), a region north of Talkalakh. It is also a popular summer destination and tourist attraction in Syria.
The name Marmarita is believed to be derived from the Syriac word Marmanitha, meaning a place that overlooks [another place]. Marmarita is situated above the Akkar plateau and Mediterranean sea, and is within sight of the Lebanese mountains. The Arabic Encyclopaedia suggests the name "Marmarita" is derived from the Syriac word "Marmarato" which means "god of gods".
Marmarita was settled in the early 17th century by four farming families from Lebanon and Hauran. They built three churches (St. John, St. Saba, and St. Boutros) that can still be seen on the outskirts of the village. Local rumours suggest the village was occupied as early as the 6th century but destroyed by a volcanic eruption (the site lies west of the Levant Fault zone), and that Phoenicians lived in the area more anciently.
Surrounding Marmarita are a number of ruins and historical sites. The best known of these is the Krak des Chevaliers (also known as "Qal'at al-Ḥiṣn"), a Crusader castle built by the Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem from 1142 to 1271. This is regarded as one of the most important preserved medieval castles in the world by UNESCO.
The closest airports to Marmarita are Bassel al Assad International (LTK) in Syria (93.1 km), Beirut international (BEY) in Lebanon (163.2 km), and Damascus international (DAM) in Syria (196.2 km).
Locals enjoy the annual Carnival Marmarita, which has displayed processions of vehicles and volunteer dancers in costume since 1980.
Marmarita's population changes with the seasons, from 4,000 in winter to 25,000 in summer as families return from city jobs to vacation in the area.
On August 17, 2013 the Syria News reported that terrorists killed and wounded Syrian Christians in Marmarita and the neighbouring town of Al-Hasn, during the religious festival known as “The Feast of Mother Mary,” also known as the Dormition of the Theotokos. The Al Qaeda affiliated terrorist group Jund al Sham (Soldiers of the Levant) claimed responsibility for the massacre.
- General Census of Population and Housing 2004. Syria Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS). Homs Governorate. (Arabic)
- "A palaeomagnetic study of Upper Pliocene volcanic rocks in the area of the Levant Fault near Homs, western Syria", Geofísica Internacional (2005), Vol. 44, Num. 3, pp. 221-230
- Marmarita information, Dai'tna. Retrieved on 29 November 2006.
- Marmarita's official website. Retrieved on 8 February 2007.