If you continue to the end of Souq al-Hamidiyya, you will return to the light of day. The western gate is reminiscent to the late Roman Jupiter temple and was where today we find the Umayyad Mosque. In my opinion, these ruins are so great because they aren't isolated into a "showcase" or a museum, but instead they have life in them, around them ... Its stones are the walls of many of the food stalls, fresh juices and Qur'an vendors in the area. It's a place full of life at any hour of the day. A good idea is to sit awhile on the entrance steps and just observe ... Or talk to the Syrians that surely will come to ask you (first in Arabic and then in English) where you are from and if you're studying in college (most of the tourists are actually Arabic students).
This beautiful station dates back to 1917 and was for many years the station for pilgrims going to Mecca. Highlights include its beautiful ceiling and stained glass windows. The station is now closed and the fate of the building is being decided. The hall, though, can be visited and and is quite worthwhile.
The convent of Santa Tecla is the only place of interest around Ma'loula. To get there, it is necessary to climb a steep path that goes behind the cliff. The convent is built around the shrine of St. Thecla, one of St. Paul's disciples regarded as one of the first martyrs in Christendom. Legend has it that she was persecuted and condemned because of her faith and when cornered against the face of the cliff, he prayed that God help him and then suddenly a crack opened in the wall, letting him escape. The convent is a rather ugly and modern building which in and of itself is not of much interest, except for the legendary escape route. This is an narrow opening through which filtered water flows which reminded me of Petra but in miniature. Throughout the gorge, there are graves have been exhumed, crevices, and several areas perfect for picnic or just a rest. The Monastery of St. Sergius is also nearby and in the same style. I think visiting this small town is justified because it helps to understand the diversity of attitudes and religions found in Syria. It helps you understand that, despite superficial differences, we all spring from the same roots.