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.
Translation from the French: Kenneth Mortimer
- Village of Bejjeh:
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