The name Kawkaba is of Semitic origin, and calls to
mind the planets, particularly Venus the Morning Star.
Kawkaba is in the region of Rashaya, a little over
sixty-five miles from Beirut and 4000 feet above sea
level. One can reach the town by going through Sarafand
and Nabatiyeh, through Jezzine and Mashgara, or through
Shtoura and Kab Elias.
Kawkaba is a village unique in many ways, different
from others, quite apart from its picturesque aspect
and the surrounding panorama. It is a marvelous place,
with thousand-year-old olive trees, fruit trees and
vines. There are remains from twelve thousand years
ago and from the Phoenicians and Canaanites later.
There are babbling springs and streams that ensure
harvests of vegetables and fruit, and historical riches
to be added to those of agriculture. But Kawkaba of
Lebanon should not be confused with the other Kawkaba,
a village of Southern Palestine.
Yes, Kawkaba has a history of grandeur, starting in
mythological times with the gods of Olympus and the
first rising of the Morning Star. the legends of the
Greeks with Chronos God of Time and mighty Zeus, Hermes
his messenger, and on another side Adam and Eve, Cain
and Abel, and Noah of the Ark.
Kawkaba receives the first rays of the sun rising
over Mount Hermon before they flood the whole land
in their glow. But all that is of lesser importance.
What matters is that Kawkaba was the land of Christ
and his Apostles, and of the prophets such as Ezekiel.
Our Lord went there several times to visit the relatives
of his mother the Virgin May, for it was close to
Caesarea Philippi in Galilee. Kawkaba is a village
breathing the odor of sanctity, for it faces Mount
Hermon, where took place the Transfiguration, and
its olive groves received both Jesus and John the
Baptist. But if one hanker after the remote past,
one finds oneself in the first Neolithic, the Stone
Age, one hundred and twenty centuries ago.
Kawkaba is certainly a town much privileged, one among
the most ancient towns of the Hermon region. To its
east is the river Hasbani, an affluent of the Jordan,
and here Kawkaba faces the region of Arcoub, named
in memory of Argheopa, mother of Cadmos, the illustrious
Phoenician navigator who carried the alphabet to Europe,
from where it benefited all mankind.
Not far from Kawkaba is the village of Marjaoun, Marje
Eon, the plain of Eon, with a history and names taking
one far into the past and the realms of mythology.
Kawkaba is proud to have received Christ himself on
several occasions. Legend has it that he rested in
the shade near a great rock; being very thirsty he
struck the ground with his stick and water sprang
up, abundant and miraculous. Believers without number
come to visit, make vows, and pray at this spring
ever generous, and named Ain al-Messih, the Spring
There are many residences here occupied by the people
of Kawkaba during the summer. The village church is
dedicated to the prophet Saint Elias, but there are
other churches also. The people are well provided
for as Kawkaba has all the services of a modern village
and is well worth a visit.
Joseph Matar - Translation from the French: