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Qalb Lozeh

Situated 65 km west of Aleppo, is the beautiful church at Qalb Lozeh. This basilica dating back to the 5th century is located in the small village of Qalb Lozeh meaning 'Heart of the Almond', and is one of the most beautiful basilicas in Syria. It is not sure to whom this church was dedicated although it was probably used afterwards as a stopping station for pilgrims to St. Simeon's church like the nearby Church of Mshabak.

The church represents, in short, the full development of a Syrian style as an offshoot from Byzantine models and anticipates many of the features which were to find their way eventually to Europe in the Romanesque period. That is found in this church that is the only ancient remains surviving in this mountain hamlet.

Qalb Lozeh Syria The entrance to this basilica that has a tower on each side three stories high, which used to frame a semicircular arch which is topped by a terrace. Reconstructions of the main arch show how this bold effect virtually brings to a climax several centuries of Syrian fascination with this device. The exterior is marked by three decorated entrance doorways and the newly-developed volute band flowing around the windows. The apse is semicircular inside and outside (unlike most of the contemporary churches that follow the style of the semicircular apse inside the outer rectangular shape of the church).

The central space is divided by three sweeping arches that carry the clerestory and roof. To support the weight f the masonry at the critical points, relatively slim piers are used. By providing the side aisles with a flat roof, the builders allowed considerably more light to enter the church by the clerestory windows. The latter are separated by small brackets and colonnades.

Qalb Lozeh Syria The dating of the church formed a debate, some say it dates to around 480. According to Tchalenko, Qalb Lozeh must have built before 469.