St. Simeon, Syria
The most beautiful and significant monument to religious building between Roman period of the 2nd century and northern European Christian masterpieces of the 11th century AD.
St. Simeon is a citadel 60 km north west of Aleppo, named after the hermit Saint Simeon (Sam'an); a shepherd from northern Syria, who became a monk after a revelation in a dream.
Following his death in 459 AD, Emperor Zenon ordered that a cathedral be built where the saint used to pray.
The layout was original, centering on the famous column from which St. Simeon used to preach. Four basilicas, arranged in the shape of a cross, opened into an octagon covered by a dome, in the center of which stood the holy column. A simplicity and harmony combine to make ruins of the Basilica of St. Simon a masterpiece of pre-Islamic art in Syria.
St. Simeon of Stylites, whilst raising himself up on his pillar of self-persecution could never have guessed the elevation to be experienced by church construction 500 to 600 years later.