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.