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Panoramic Views > Mount Lebanon > Jbeil-Byblos > Bejjeh or Bijjeh


Bejjeh, or Bijjeh

There are many possible explanations for the name of this township. It could mean gardens, plantations and greenery, or water bubbling up from the ground. If the origin is Aramaic, it could very well mean green grapes, since Bejjeh has long been famous for its vineyards, the arak made from the grapes and their distillations. The name might on the other hand come from a tribe that came from a village in the Hauran of the same name. Bejjeh is situated in the region of Jbeil-Byblos at 1,800 feet above sea level and may be reached by taking the road of Amsheet and Mayfouq.

There are a number of ancient remains to be found there, particularly on the hilltop with the Syriac name which is the site of the old village and where there is still a spring of fresh water. One can see several sarcophagi hewn out of the living rock, fragments of earthenware, potteries and wells, close to the church of Our Lady of the Farm, El-Mazraa and that of Saint Saba. According to archeologists, these two churches were built on top of the ruins of a monastery which itself had been built over the remains of a Phoenician temple. There is between Bejjeh and Hakel a historic grotto called Shmeiss el-Kalaa, the Sunlit (part) of the Citadel.

There are also the remains of the church of Saint Abda (Mar Abda) and that of Saint (Prophet) Eliseus, both going back to early Christian times, and that of Mar Sarkis and Bakhos (Sergius and Bacchus) among others. The village has much charm, possessing a number of private residences and modern infrastructure.

As already indicated, the village has a great reputation for its arak (aniseed eau-de-vie) which is distilled locally and imbibed locally, for the people enjoy a good table, and is even drunk straight from the still. Bejjeh has given Lebanon several artists, painters and sculptors, doctors, high-ranking priests, and notable intellectuals. There is a club for both sport s and for cultural activities.

In and around the church of Notre Dame, Our Lady, festivals and camps are regularly organized with the enthusiastic participation and encouragement of the townsfolk.

Joseph Matar
Translation from the French: Kenneth Mortimer


- Village of
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