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Panoramic Views > Mount Lebanon > Jbeil-Byblos > Akoura

The Apple Trees in Akoura village, Virgin Mary and Roueiss cave

This fruit, of renown in our Bible, in myth and in legend, growing in the earthly Paradise, tempted Eve first and then Adam, and made of these first two souls poor human beings who had to win their livelihood by the seat of their brow. A pleasing picture, is it not?

The apple that we know comes down to us from a kind that has been eaten by mankind ever since the Neolithic on the Kazakh plains of Central Asia. It followed the Silk Road to reach the Hebrews, the Greeks and the Romans.

At present there are thousands of varieties of apples produced all over the world. During the middle ages the monasteries and convents played a prominent role in perfecting the fruit, and this was particularly the case in Lebanon, for our holy monks were also excellent tillers of the soil. The apple is the object of such admiration in Lebanon that it has become proverbial in popular sayings: “Where apples are found there is no need for a doctor” and “An apple each morn and good health is assured”.

Here in Lebanon, a mountainous country abundantly watered, with a climate that is ideal, the apple, good neighbor to the proud cedar, finds a land perfectly suited for its growth. From down by the coast up to the mountain summits very many varieties can be grown, juicy, tasty and succulent, rich in vitamins C, B, B12 and B6 with pectin E and A, anti-oxydant and anti-cancerous.

At an altitude of 2,000 meters one comes to the village of Akoura, perched on heights that reach up to the stars, in the region of Byblos. Here the terraces rise one above the other until lost in the clouds, as if the sturdy peasant here were bold enough to plough the very heavens to cultivate apples in some celestial garden.

Akoura is a village with a long history, with a church hewn from the rock, remnant of a Roman temple, the ruins of some towers, and a rock on which has been carved a serpent and a moon. The word Akoura come from Syriac, and signifies “the cold spring”.

With its vertiginous cliffs, its proud and unrivalled rocks, its basins of water from the melting snows that irrigate the orchards, Akoura offers to the view a scene that pleases the eye like no other.

The apple trees in bloom are a midsummer night’s dream, a union of the human and the divine. And what may we say of them when they bear their fruit, red, green, yellow or rosy, hanging like bunches of grapes, like globes on a Christmas tree? The apple of Akoura is like no other, beautiful, firm, fleshy as if sculptured in crystal. When one takes a bite, out comes a juice that invades the palate. Akoura’s harvest of apples amounts, it is said, to some hundreds of tons. It is, incidentally, a mistake to peel an apple, for every part of it has some benefit to offer.

The Lebanese daughter of Akoura is neither Eve nor Semiramis, simply a mother all tenderness and grace, never tempted, knowing well the limits of human beings and believing in God, the Eternal and the Savior.

If earthly Jerusalem is a copy of the heavenly city, then here the opposite is true. Eden or celestial paradise is a copy of Akoura in Lebanon.

- The Akoura Apples: >> View Movie << (2008-10-01)
- Virgin Mary and Akoura Village: >> View Movie << (2014-06-01)
- Roueiss Cave: >> View Movie << (2014-06-15)



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