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Maaloula (en arabe : معلولة Ma'loula, de l'araméen : ܡܥܠܐ, ma`lā, 'entrée'), est un village chrétien au Nord-est de Damas en Syrie, qui présente la particularité d'abriter une population qui parle encore l'araméen (voir néo-araméen occidental).Le village doit sa renommée à ses refuges troglodytiques datant des premiers siècles du christianisme.La majorité des chrétiens locaux appartient à l'Église grecque-catholique melkite. Le village est célèbre au Proche-Orient pour la ferveur et la solennité avec lesquelles il célèbre chaque 14 septembre la fête de l'Exaltation de la Croix.Le village abrite le monastère Mar Takla, grec-orthodoxe, construit autour de la grotte et du tombeau de Sainte-Thècle fêtée le 24 septembre. En haut d'un rocher qui domine le village, se dresse un antique monastère desservi par un prêtre grec-catholique et dédié à Mar Sarkis et Mar Bacchus (Saints Serge et Bacchus), deux saints martyrs fêtés le 7 octobre.Maaloula est situé dans le Djebel Qalamoun qui fait partie de la chaîne de l'Anti-Liban à 56 km de Damas.

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As of 2005, the town has a population of 2,000.[1] However, during summer, it increases to about 6,000, due to people coming from Damascus for holidays.[2] Half a century ago, 15,000 people lived in Ma'loula.[3]Religiously, the population consists of both Christians (mainly Antiochian Orthodox and Melkite Greek Catholic) and Muslims. For the Muslim inhabitants, the legacy is all the more remarkable given that they were not Arabised, unlike most other Syrians who like them were Islamised over the centuries but also adopted Arabicand shifted to an "Arab" ethnic identity.Language[edit source | editbeta]With two other nearby towns Bakh'a (Arabic: بخعة‎) and Jubba'din (Arabic: جبّعدين‎), it is the only place where a dialect of the Western branch of the Aramaic language is still spoken. Scholars have determined that the Aramaic of Jesus belonged to this particular branch as well. Ma'loula represents, therefore, an important source for anthropological linguistic studies regarding first century Aramaic, hence, Jesus' own Aramaic dialect. However, despite frequent mis-statements in the media,[4] it isn't the exact dialect Jesus of Nazareth spoke early in the first century.[5] The distance from other major cities and its isolating geological features fostered the longevity of this linguistic oasis for over one and a half thousand years. However, modern roads and transportation, as well as accessibility to Arabic-language television and print media - and for some time until recently, also state policy - have eroded that linguistic heritage.Monasteries