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Panoramic Views > Bekaa > Rashaya > Hermon Mountain and temples

Hermon Mountain and temples

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 Peninsula.

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 attractions.

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, 8,9).

Behold how good and pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together 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)

Joseph Matar, Kenneth Mortimer

- Hermon Mountain: >> View Movie << (2005-07-01)

Roman Temple Ayn Hersheh

Original text by Nordinguian Levon: Temples de l’époque romaine au Liban, Pusj, 2005, adapted by Rita Kalindjian, 2013. English translation by K.J. Mortimer.

The 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 Ayn Hersheh: >> View Movie << (2004-10-01)



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