Deir Mar Elias

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Deir_Mar_Elias_0
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Deir Mar Elias (دير مار الياس) is a small monastery complex to the southeast of Tartus (طرطوس), located near the village of al-Safsafeh (الصفصافة). If visiting the nearby Crusader castle Qalaat al-Arimeh (قلعة العريمة), it is worth stopping by and visiting the old church located here.

Getting There: Microbuses to the nearby village of al-Safsafeh (الصفصافة) depart from the main bus station in Tartus (طرطوس). Be aware that in the morning it tends to be easier to find these microbuses heading south-bound on the main boulevard: many of those who live in al-Safsafeh (الصفصافة) commute to Tartus (طرطوس) for work, so in the morning most drivers simply turn around and head back to al-Safsafeh (الصفصافة) to pick up more commuters. The trip to al-Safsafeh (الصفصافة) takes about 30 minutes. To reach the monastery, it is best to disembark from the microbus a couple of kilometers before al-Safsafeh (الصفصافة), at the sign-posted road (English and Arabic) pointing to the nearby castle, Qalaat al-Arimeh (قلعة العريمة). From here, it is about one kilometer to the turn-off for Deir Mar Elias (دير مار الياس), and another two kilometers further to the castle.