The name might be derived from Fer, meaning iron mine
for iron; but it may well have come from Fa-ra-za-El,
Under the Protection of (the God) El. Furzul is in
an area with a rich history and many remains going
back to Roman and early Christian times. It used to
be a religious center containing the Greek Catholic
Archbishopric, and the district is still strongly
Christian. Maybe its importance goes back to well
before Roman times.
Furzul lies within the Zahleh sub-prefecture in the
plain of the Beqaa Valley. The city of Zahleh is about
four miles away. Furzul has a thoroughly modern and
well-organized infrastructure with town hall, schools,
market, power supply, telephone service, good roads,
running water, irrigation, sports club, and churches,
with a public square at the center. Agriculture flourishes,
with cereals, fruit trees and extensive vineyards.
Several of its inhabitants have built for themselves
fine winter residences. The town lies halfway between
Zahleh, Rayak, Niha, Heliopolis-Baalbek and the Damascus
highway. It extends up the eastern slope of the outstandingly
beautiful Mount Sannine, drawing many sightseers.
Standing at an altitude of well over 3,000 feet, it
is only forty miles from Beirut, Lebanonís capital
Many historical remains speak of a glorious past.
There are the foundations of a Roman temple dedicated
to the god Apollo, many sculptures and inscriptions,
and a throne for either kings or queens. There are
many caves in a hill north-east of the town which
in Byzantine times were made into hermitages for anchorites,
so the whole area is known by the plural name of The
These hollows in the rock faces have been given individual
names, such as Cave of the Stable, of the Monkeys,
of the Cat, of the Daughters of the Gallows, and so
on. One may see the remains of an ancient quarry,
with sculptures perhaps of one or more saints, such
as the Lionís Head Rock, Our Lady of Sorrows and Our
Lady of the Annunciation.
There are plenty of other attractions, such as the
Basta Spring and its stream, the Hermitís Spring,
the public gardens, and the restaurants overlooking
the wide Beqaa Valley.
Joseph Matar, Translated from the French: