Sister Cities

Relationship with Marrickville

Marrickville and Safita became sister cities in 2005.

Of the more than 2,658 Arabic speaking residents in Marrickville, around half were born in Syria or have Syrian ancestry.

The Mayor of Safita has expressed his interest in learning about Council's achievements in the areas of community services, childcare centres, improvements to water quality, cleanup campaigns to reduce litter and increasing civic pride.

Geography and Climate

Safita is located in the northwestern coastal mountain ranges of Syria. It is situated to the southeast of Tartous and to the northwest of Krak des Chevaliers.

Safita has three hills, with valleys in between them.

Syria experiences hot summers and mild winters.

Local Life and Traditions

  • Safita is a multicultural and multi-faith community.
     
  • Safita Tower, also known as Burj Safita and Chastel Blanc, was built by the Knights Templar during the Crusades as both a chapel and a fortress. It is 28 metres tall and its bell can be heard from five kilometres away.
     
  • St Michael's Chapel is on the ground floor of Safita Tower and is still used by Safita's Greek Orthodox community.
     
  • Al-Arima Fortress, located 15 kilometres southwest of Safita, has two towers dating back to the 12th and 13th centuries.
     
  • Safita's houses are distinctive due to their tiled roofs.
     
  • Traditional Syrian handicrafts such as mosaics, straw baskets and gold and silver jewellery can be found in Safita.

Festivals

There are no major festivals held in Safita, but Syria hosts a number of different festivals, including the Vine Festival, held in Sweida in July, and the Arabic Book Fair, held in Damascus in September.

Food and Wine

Safita is home to many olive trees.

Syrian food is a mixture of southern Mediterranean, Greek and southwest Asian dishes. There are also some Turkish and French influences.

Biscochos (Syrian cookies)

Ingredients

  • 2 cups copha (vegetable shortening)
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp anise
  • ½ tsp ground cloves
  • 5 cups flour
  • 1 cup wine
  • ¼ cup cinnamon, ¼ cup sugar, mixed
     

1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees.
2. Combine copha with sugar, adding salt, anise and cloves.
3. Slowly add mixture to flour, together with wine, to form the dough. Continue adding flour until the dough does not stick to hands.
4. Roll out dough and cut into squares.
5. Bake squares for 10 minutes in oven.
6. Remove from oven and roll in cinnamon sugar while hot.

Fun Fact

The Phoenicians were early inhabitants of Safita. Phoenicia was an ancient civilization that existed between 1550 to 300 BC and was noted for its maritime trading culture.

 

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