|Governorate||Rif Dimashq Governorate|
|Elevation||1,608 m (5,276 ft)|
|Population (2004 census)|
Madaya (Arabic: مضايا) is a small mountainous town in Syria, located at an altitude of 1,400 meters. It is a well known holiday resort. It is located about 40 km northwest of Damascus in the Rif Dimashq Governorate and is home to Lake Barada. Madaya often is snow-top during the winter months especially on January and February. According to the Syria Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS), Madaya had a population of 9,371 in the 2004 census. Its inhabitants are predominantly Sunni Muslims.
It is famous for its pure natural spring water, fresh fruits and vegetables, and healthy climate. Dry and cool in the summer, Madaya attracts wealthy Syrians many of which have summer mansions in the town. It also has a big market (souq) known for its European-made goods like sportswear and electronics which makes it quite an experience to visit.
Madaya's exact date of inhabiting is unclear, but the Roman style graves and artifacts present in the village's south-east hills are witnesses to its past. Some argue it goes back in time to the Aramaic era and is concurrent with the history of Damascus. Madaya was often a place where rebels against the mainstream governments took refuge. Armies relied on its people and rough terrain to achieve military advances. It's said that during the Islamic conquer of Syria, the army of Khalid Ibn Alwaleed relied on patrons from Madaya to guide the army en route to Ba'lbak after the fall of Homs and Damascus. And more recently, during the French mandate of Syria, rebels from Damascus and other places took refuge in the village and relied on the locals, whom in turn assumed great risks, for supplies and logistic support. Even to this day, the warrior nature of Madaya's citizens is still seen, and was often felt especially when tensions against the Syrian government surfaced in the 80s and in more recent times as well.
- Smith, Eli; Robinson, Edward (1841). Biblical Researches in Palestine, Mount Sinai and Arabia Petraea: A Journal of Travels in the Year 1838 3. Crocker and Brewster.