Ammiq/Deir Tahnish

The ruins of old Ammiq (Khirbet’ Ammiq – يقّ ) خربة عم are located on the eastern slopes of Mount Lebanon overlooking the West Bekaa. One can see the ruins of old stone houses that date back to the Ottoman period and the first half of the 20th century.

Recent archaeological surveys of the ruins of Qal’et el Mdiq revealed that this village was occupied during the Hellenistic and Roman eras.

The St. George Church is located near the ruins of the old Ammiq. It was built in 1865 and was damaged by the 1956 earthquake. It has since been restored.

Sitt She’wayne is a popular place of worship for the Druze and the date of its construction is uncertain.

Deir Tahnish is a small village inhabited mostly by shepherds. Famous for its 19th century church dedicated to Saint Elijah and for the Roman hypogeum that is located near the modern Christian cemetery behind the church.

Ancient lake of the Bekaa in Ammiq

The ancient lake of the Bekaa or the Ammiq swamp was mentioned in a number of historical sources from the fourth century BC until the Mamluk period as a lake where “fragrant reed” grew. It was drained in the Mamluk period and much later by the Jesuits in the early 20th century. This lake was an obstacle for invaders and a natural frontier between the Ptolemaic kingdom in the south and the Seleucid in the north.
Among the ancient authors who mentioned the Ammiq wetlands are: Theophrastus (371-287 BC) who described it in his Botanical History as a lake where the fragrant reed grew. Polybius (200-118 BC) named it the Lake of Marsyas. The Geography of Strabo (64 BC- 24 AD) also referred to it as the aromatic reed lake. Pliny the Elder (23-79 AD) referred to this lake as did the text of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Later in the Mamluk era Aboulfeda (1273 – 1331 AD) spoke of the lake describing it as swamps and bushes where the reed grew. Qalqachandi (1356 – 1418 AD) claimed the lake was one day’s walk from Baalbeck.

Distance from Beirut 48 Km
Altitude 1,030 meters

The Qal‘et el Mdiq Fort
Qal’et el Mdiq fort (also known as Khirbet Saalouk – )خربة صعلوك is located on a rocky hill on the eastern slopes of Mount Lebanon adjacent to the Qab Elias – Saghbine road. A new study basee on the text of the Greek historian Polybius (200-118 BC) reveals that the actual Qal’et el Mdiq was called Brochoï and commanded the strategic road above the Ammiq swamps. The armies of the Seleucid King Antiochus were stopped twice by the garrison of this fort in 221 and 220 BC. Along with a second fort (Gerra located near Anjar and Majdel Anjar) it constituted a Ptolemaic front line which blocked the path of Seleucid invaders. A niche with a relief representing a personage making an offering is located directly below the hill and overlooks the modern road.

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