Background

Beiteddine Palace

The Beiteddine palace was built between 1788 and 1818 by Emir Beshir Shehab II. Architecturally the palace is divided into three sections: Dar el Baraniyyeh or the outer section of the palace, Dar el Wousta or the middle section, and Dar el Harim or the private apartments that included the hammam. It remained the emir’s residence until his exile in 1840. The edifice was reused by the Ottoman authorities as a seat of government and later during the French Mandate it served for the local administrative purposes. Lebanon’s General Directorate of Antiquities started restoration work on the palace in 1926 and it was declared a historical monument in 1934. After Lebanon gained its independence in 1943 the palace became the summer residence of the president of the republic.

Qasr Swayjani Fort

The fort is located at an altitude of 1,034 meters in the village of Kahlouniyé (الكحلونية) and functioned as a stronghold on a major trading route as well as an administrative center. It was first excavated in 2005 and then again in 2010.

The excavations revealed ceramics that date from the (3rd to the 1st century BC), as well as spindle whorls, elements of a loom, arrowheads, agricultural tools and coins. The archaeological mission discovered basalt stones for grinding grain as well as bronze ornaments like brooches, bracelets, earings, and a silver ring.

The different parts of the fort were used for various activities, including grinding cereals, storing jars and amphorae, weaving activities, and a garrison.

Background

Deir el Qamar

Deir el-Qamar is a village consisting of stone houses with red-tiled roofs. During the 16th to 18th centuries, Deir el-Qamar was the residence of the governors of Lebanon. It is also notable for its 15th century Fakhredine Mosque, Fakhreddine II Palace, and other historical palaces and administrative buildings. The 17th century Deir el-Qamar Synagogue is located in the center of the village. During its peak, the city was the center of Lebanese literary tradition. It was the first village in Lebanon to have a municipality in 1864, and it is the birthplace of many well known personalities, such as artists, writers, and politicians. One of the most important historical and religious monuments in Deir el-Qamar is Our Lady of the Hill known as Saydet el-Talle. This Maronite church goes back to the 15th century.

Baaqline

One of the oldest inhabited villages of the Shouf, Baaqline was the stronghold of the Maan dynasty since 1120. During the reign of Emir Fakhreddine the Great the capital was moved from Baaqline to Deir elQamar.

Famous for its old Lebanese houses, palaces and water sources, its dominant monument remains the beautiful old serai built in 1897 and later transformed into a public library and cultural center.

Baaqline is also known for its forest where visitors can walk an ancient Roman and Mamluk trail and see old lime kilns used during the Ottoman period that produced quicklime

Background

Ain w Zein

This village is famous for its old houses and its Roman tombs and ruins, and located 9 km from Beiteddine on the way to the Shouf Biosphere Reserve. In 2003 a natural grotto was discovered that extends 436 meters featuring breathtaking geological formations. The grotto includes a set of passageways for tourists and a distinct formation of stalagmites and stalactites.