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Marmarita (Arabic: مرمريتا, Classical Syriac: ܡܪܡܪܝܬܐ, Marmarītā) is a village in northwestern Syria, located west of Homs. Marmarita is one of the largest villages in Wadi al-Nasarah ("Valley of the Christians"), a region north of Talkalakh. In 2004, Marmarita had a population of 2,206, according to the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS). Its inhabitants are predominantly Greek Orthodox Christians and is one of the largest Christian villages in the Wadi al-Nasara valley. Marmarita is 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.
The name Marmarita is believed to be derived from the Syriac word Marmanitha, meaning "a place that overlooks" in possible reference to Marmarita's situation above the Akkar Plateau and Mediterranean Sea.
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.
Syrian civil war
On 17 August 2013 [Syria-News] reported that militants killed and wounded Syrian Christians in Marmarita and the neighboring town of al-Husn during the religious festival known as the Dormition of the Theotokos. Jund al-Sham (Soldiers of the Levant) claimed responsibility. It was later claimed that the militant group retreated to Lebanon.
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).
- "General Census of Population and Housing 2004" (in Arabic). Syria Central Bureau of Statistics. 2004.[dead link]
- Choufi, Firas (2014-02-05). "Syria’s Valley of the Christians Under Fire". Al-Akhbar English.
- "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.
- "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.
- "World heritage List Crac des Chevaliers and Qal’at Salah El-Din". Retrieved 21 March 2014.