St Simeon’s Monastery is located some 30km north of Aleppo. St Simeon is the guy who legend has it was driven up the pole! Simeon the Stylite lived for 37 years in the 5th century on top of a one metre square platform atop a 15 metre high pillar.
He had already lived in solitude for many years beforehand, but took to the pillar to escape all the curious pilgrims who visited him to ask for advice.
The Remains Of The Pillar
The monastery was built on the site also in the 5th century and is one of the oldest surviving Byzantine churches. Enough was still intact to get an excellent idea of how things had looked hundreds of years before.
The whole site looked splendid in the warm Spring sunshine with many colourful wild flowers dotted about.
The views down from the monastery were also impressive and we joked that maybe Simeon had just scampered up his pillar when he had seen people approaching from afar!
Whilst there we met Syrian twin sisters and their friends, who then proceeded to ask us to photo them on several occasions. We didn’t mind of course and got our own shot too for posterity!
The girls were really bubbly and proud of their nation – I hope they have stayed safe.