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Panoramic Views > El Nabatieh > Bint Jbeil

Bint Jbeil, Daughter of the Mountain and Maroun El Ras

Bint Jbeil is a caza, sub-prefecture, in South Lebanon, eighty miles from Beirut and a little over fifty miles from Sidon (now called Saïda), with heights reaching 2,500 feet. To get there, one should follow the road from Sidon, past Tyre to Tebneen, or Kooseen – Ain Ebel – Bint Jbeil, or Nabatieh – Deir Mimas – Kfar Kila – Markaba – Aitroon.

Scholars have conjectured that the name is of Phoenician origin, meaning frontier column, or limits, or daughter of the mountain, or hillock, or house of the sun, or potter! In point of fact a princess did once live there, giving the word Bint, feminine of Ibn, son.

There are still some ancient remains to be seen in the Atlal square, such as those of a temple dedicated to the goddess Annat, as well as the old souq (bazaar) where there is a market every Thursday for the benefit of the surrounding villages, some Byzantine columns and capitals, a great mosque, and some very old houses. The most venerable of these is that of Salah Bazzi. There is an antique mill and some houses in traditional style.

An abundant spring, Ain el-Kabira, waters a number of terraced gardens and there are a number of water pools, the Well of Hara, and the Valley Grotto, to mention only a few. There are several restaurants to welcome tourists and sightseers.

What particularly distinguishes the old town is the Thursday Market. This allows the inhabitants of the region to meet, to exchange news, to buy and to sell, to show their produce and to barter. Bint Jbeil is a town of the Resistance, having offered heroes and martyrs for the liberation of the South from the Israeli occupant.

To commemorate those who had sacrificed their lives, a space was transformed into a public garden, on the walls of which are the names of 108 individuals who fell in the struggle for their country. It is in the centre of the town and is called Martyrs’ Square, for in this very place several heroes offered up their lives. The project was financed by the inhabitants of the township using various remains such as the stones of old houses destroyed during the invasion, and here in this place of leisure there are tents, benches, water basins, and toilet facilities. The town itself bears the same name as surrounding district, which has as its limits Aitroon to the east, Koomeen to the north, Yaroon to the south, and Ainata to the north-east.

During the First World War, Bint Jbeil was occupied by the allied forces, in particular by the French Army, which deployed over all Lebanese territory. The town is considered the capital of resistance and of liberation, where the victories won against the Israeli invader are celebrated.

Bint Jbeil was several times bombarded and destroyed by the air arm and other forces of Israel, but each time was straight away rebuilt. More than 12,000 houses in and around Bint Jbeil were stricken and reduced to rubble. It was occupied by Israel from 1982 to the year 2000, when the enemy forces withdrew, considering Bint Jbeil as a hive of Hizbollah. Most of the inhabitants are Shiites. In 2006 during the July War there were fierce battles waged and the 51st battalion of the elite Gabouni Brigade was repelled by an unexpected and ferocious resistance. It is to be noted that Bint Jbeil is only a couple of miles from the Israeli frontier.

To return to the past, in 1839 a government house was put up for the princedom dominated by the emirs Al-Ali and Al-Saghir and the notable regional families Al-Sadoon, Mishtah, Shami, Al-Selman and Bazzi.

During the First World War, a number of young people emigrated in order to avoid the requisitioning by the Ottoman Turks. Bint Jbeil is certainly worth a visit, one that provides an opportunity to savor the menus of its restaurants.

Maroun el-Ras

Over a mile south of Bint Jbeil is the heroic village of Maroun el-Ras, on a high point just half a mile from the frontier with Israel.

Maroun el-Ras stands at a height of three thousand feet, over successions of terraces planted with vineyards, olive groves and orchards of assorted fruit trees. It was bombed and destroyed by the Israeli aviation.

It was rebuilt thanks to the help of Kuwait and Iran. A public garden was laid out in which there is a mosque reproducing the El-Aqsa on a smaller scale. Here come local people and sightseers from all around. The inhabitants of Maroun el-Ras defended their village heroically against the Israeli troops and many were those who fell martyrs in this war.

Maroun el-Ras is a district of Bint Jbeil on the slopes of Mount Amel. Its inhabitants are mainly Shiite and it is considered a bastion of the Hizbollah and the Resistance. One may visit many of its recent productions in the village itself, in its gardens and in its museum.

Joseph Matar - Translation from the French: Kenneth Mortimer

- City of Bint Jbeil: >> View Movie << (2011-04-15)
- Maroun el Ras: >> View Movie << (2011-04-15)
- Maroun el Ras 2: >> View Movie << (2011-04-15)



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