About Saydnaya

Saidnaya is a city located in the mountains, 1500 metres (0.938 miles) above sea level, 27 kilometres (17 mi) north of the city of Damascus in Syria. Though orthographically slightly variant with Arabic, the spelling is consistent with Aramaic orthography (with no distinction between "sin" and "sad") of the name for "Our Lady" and refers, almost certainly to the Virgin Mary, a renowned icon of whom is revered in the city's main church by both Christians and Muslims to this day. The town is noted for the large number of (Western Neo-) Aramaic speakers, along with nearby Maaloula and a few smaller towns nearby. The Hellenistic-era name for the region centered in the Barada Valley was Abilene: the local tradition has thus long held it as the site where the grave of Abel, slain brother of Cain, lies. Scholars consider it likely that the capital of Abilene was the city of Saidnaya