Semaan Cave Chapel 52 km)
Abaydat village, ask for the path to Mar Semaan. This
hour-long walk takes you eastwards into a river valley, then
up hill again where the cave is located. The route is a
pleasant one and not too difficult. In addition to the chapel
itself, hikers will be rewarded with good views, birdsong,
aromatic sage and wild flowers. The final ascent to the
walled-in cave chapel, set in a cliff 3-4 meters above ground
level, is somewhat steep.
Once there, a sturdy ladder is provided for the climb to the
chapel, where 12th-13th century frescoes represent Christ
Pantocrater seated on a throne between the Virgin on the left
and Saint John the Baptist on the right. They are flanked by
two six-winged seraphim with an inscription in Syriac. Beneath
this scene are figures of disciples and church fathers.
Unfortunately, the paintings are in very poor condition.
In the village itself look for the Medieval
Church of Mar Eusebius, built on antique remains. Above the
door is an inscription in Greek.