The three summits which one passes as one goes from
north to south in Lebanon are three holy mountains,
renowned and alluded to since earliest history in
the Bible and in the accounts of Mesopotamian conquerors
under the name of Sirion or Senrior.
From Qornet el-Saouda, Cradle of the Cedars in the
North, passing by Sannine which crowns Mount Lebanon
in the centre, one ends with Mount Hermon, the Old
Man, The Elder with the White Beard, a high place,
for thousands of years seat of the god Baal protecting
the South, a sacred wall, for if one goes further
southward there are only minor prominences finally
losing themselves in desert sands. Behind, on the
eastern side, is a natural barrier fencing in the
vast plateau of two million square kilometers that
stretches between Iran, Iraq, Syria and the Arabian
On these three summits every year on August 6th,
the Transfiguration of Christ, Eid el-Rab, Feast
of the Lord, is an occasion of great celebration.
In fact it seems likely that the episode related
by the three synoptic gospels of Matthew, Mark and
Luke took place on Mount Hermon, the “high
mountain” mentioned by the texts, since Jesus
and the three apostles were then in the upper valley
of the Jordan, at Césarea Philippi near Rashaya.
This high mountain reaches a height of 2840 metres
above the Mediterranean Sea but 3200 metres above
the Ghor Valley dug out below the Bekaa.
At present there are major projects under preparation
for investment in this region and for its exploitation,
with high roads, skiing stations and various tourist
Meanwhile, how can one reach the top of this mountain?
This is possible only after the snows have melted
in the month of June, starting from the village
of Shebaa or the town of Rashaya in a Range Rover
and climbing steeply for two or three hours. One
crosses valleys of vineyards and passes by numerous
springs of water and by the imposing remains of
Canaanite and Roman temples and by Crusader ruins.
Let us turn to the Holy Bible (Challoner version)
for references to the mountains of Lebanon.”
Come from Libanus, my spouse, come from Libanus,
come: thou shalt be crowned from the top of Amana
(Qornet), from the top of Sanir and from Hermon,
from the dens of the lions, from the mountains of
the leopards. (Song of Songs IV, 8)
And we took at that time the land out of the hands
of the two kings of the Amorrhites, that were beyond
the Jordan. >From the torrent Arnon unto the
mount Hermon. (Which the Sidonians call Sarion and
the Amorrhites Sanir).” (Deuteronomy III,
Behold how good and pleasant it is for brethren
to dwell together ...as the dew of Hermon, which
descendeth upon mount Sion...” (Psalm CXXXIII)
O Tyre, ... with the fir trees of Sanir they have
built thee (ships), with all sea planks: they have
taken cedars from Libanus to make thee masts...”
Ezeckiel, XXVII, 3-5)
text by Nordinguian Levon: Temples de l’époque
romaine au Liban, Pusj, 2005, adapted by Rita Kalindjian,
2013. English translation by K.J. Mortimer.
Roman temples are among the best-known and most
studied monuments in Lebanon. The temple of Ayn
Hersheh is one of the best preserved and it was
consolidated during the 1930s.
The West Façade: In its middle this bears
the bust of the Moon, identified by two large crescents
emerging from its shoulders. Among the carved blocks
lying around the temple, there is a solar bust which
is recognizable from a nimbus with rays and which
was discovered during the restoration work of 1939.
According to H. Seiryg, these two luminaries were
represented to emphasize the role of the supreme
deity, to whom the temple was dedicated, as Cosmocrator,
Master of the Universe. There is a small-scale relief
of the temple. Notice that at the level of the fourth
layer of the foundations of the south wall of the
temple there is a small relief showing a naos with
a pediment borne by pillars. This feature is unique
of its kind in Lebanon. Model? Outline??
The West Pediment: In the middle of the pediment
the Moon Goddess is shown in a crescent moon.
A Votive Inscription: On a large stone lying on
the ground there is a Greek inscription engraved,
for which P. Mouterde proposes the following translation:
“Au dieu ancestrale, Alexandre, fils d’Alexandre,
à la suite d’un vœu, avec son épouse,
pour ces enfants, a élevé cet autel,
l’an 429 – To the ancestral god, Alexander, son
of Alexander, following a vow, with his wife, for
his children, has raised this altar, year 429.”
This year corresponds to the year 114/115 A.D..
The Holy of Holies of the Sanctuary: The inscription
here gives us the name of a priest, Theodore Sara.
- Roman Temple
Movie << (2004-10-01)