Syria: Maaloula – St Sergios & Bacchos Monastery

One of the oldest monasteries in all of Syria is located in the old town of Maaloula – the Saints Sergius and Bacchus Monastery. It dates back to pre-Bizantine times in the early 3rd to 4th century AD. The monastery was world famous for containing two of the oldest icons in the world as well as likely one of the oldest altars. Unfortunately, the monastery was nearly destroyed by the Al-Nusra Front terrorists during the Syrian civil war, with the icons disappearing and the altar blown up. Still, you could see the reproductions of the icons and the replica of the altar. Just standing in the small cave-like rooms of the ancient monastery is surreal. And you can the monastery-made red wine!