The village of Maaloula is located 56 kilometres to the northeast of Damascus and built into the rugged mountainside, at an altitude of more than 1500 metres. The village has a population of just 2000, which belies its historical and spiritual significance. Maaloula, from the Aramaic word ma'la meaning "entrance", is the only place where the western dialect of Aramaic, the language of Jesus Christ, is still spoken.
Since its establishment in the 1960s, part of the curriculum of the Faculty of Fine Arts at Damascus Univeristy has been mandatory field visits to draw and paint in Maaloula, a practice that continues until this day. Since Fateh Moudaress and Louay Kayyali both taught at the university for many years, it would explain why they both chose this mystical place many times as a subject for their paintings, over a long time period and in different media and different styles.