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Marmarita (Arabic: مرمريتا, Classical Syriac: ܡܪܡܪܝܬܐ, Marmarītā) is a Greek Orthodox Christian village located in northwestern Syria. 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 village has been part of the Homs Governorate since 1953; prior to that, it was part of the Latakia Governorate. In 2004, Marmarita had a population of 2,206, according to the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS).
The name Marmarita is believed to be derived from the Syriac word Marmanitha, meaning "a place that overlooks". The reference may be to Marmarita's situation above the Akkar plateau and Mediterranean sea. However, the Arabic Encyclopedia suggests that the name "Marmarita" is derived from the Syriac word "Marmarato", which means "God of gods."[dead link]
Marmarita was settled in the early 17th century by four farming families from Lebanon and the Hauran plateau. These families built three churches (St. John, St. Saba, and St. Boutros) which still remain on the outskirts of the village. Local folklore suggests that the site of the village may have been occupied as early as the 6th century CE, but any habitation was destroyed by a volcanic eruption of the Levant Fault zone. No evidence of earlier Phoenician settlement was found.
Marmarita is surrounded by 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 Order of Saint John of Jerusalem between 1142 and 1271. The castle is regarded as one of the most important preserved medieval castles in the world by UNESCO.
Marmarita's population changes with the seasons: in winter, the population is about 2,500; in summer it increases to between 25,000 and 30,000 as formerly local families return from jobs in nearby cities to vacation in the area.
Marmarita is located approximately 13 km north of the M1 motorway, roughly halfway between Tartus and Homs.
The closest airports to Marmarita are Bassel Al-Assad International Airport (LTK) in Syria (93.1 km), Beirut International Airport (BEY) in Lebanon (163.2 km), and Damascus International Airport (DAM) in Syria (196.2 km).
On August 17, 2013 [Syria-News] reported that terrorists killed and wounded Syrian Christians in Marmarita and the neighboring town of Al-Hasn during the religious festival known as the Dormition of the Theotokos. The group responsible was thought to be the Free Syrian Army or al-Nusra Front; however, Jund al-Sham (Soldiers of the Levant) later claimed responsibility.
- "General Census of Population and Housing 2004" (in Arabic). Syria Central Bureau of Statistics. 2004.[dead link]
- "A palaeomagnetic study of Upper Pliocene volcanic rocks in the area of the Levant Fault near Homs, western Syria". Geofísica Internacional 44 (3): 221–230. 2005.
- "World heritage List Crac des Chevaliers and Qal’at Salah El-Din". Retrieved 21 March 2014.
- "Syria:Terrorists killed Syrian Christians in Homs". SyriaNews. 17 August 2013. Retrieved 21 March 2014.
- "A Tragedy on the Feast of the Dormition". 20 August 2013. Retrieved 21 March 2014.