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Panoramic Views > Mount Lebanon > Kesserwan > Al Ghineh

Al Ghineh

This is the name of a village of Kesrouan rising above Ghazir. The name is of Aramaic origin, from a root meaning a reserve or land which is protected or enclosed. “Cellar” is another Semitic meaning that the word might have and in fact there are ancient remains indicating that it could indicate a certain funeral vault covered by a huge mass of rocks, with traces of a tomb. It must be said that the whole region of Guineh is rich in antiquities of considerable importance, going back to the Phoenicians, the Romans and the Byzantines.

On one of the slopes there are the remains of a Roman temple that was later transformed into a Byzantine church decorated with a large number of mosaics. However, it was severely affected by an earthquake in the year 550.

Among the neighboring rocks first the Phoenicians and then the Romans dug a great many cellars. One may see a massive boulder on which there is a carved bas-relief which made Renan think of the legend of Adonis who was attacked by a great wild boar.

The archeologist Seyrig dated these sculptures definitely to Greco-Roman times. One rock face shows the back view of a hunter with a spear or javelin in his hand facing a bear ready to come upon him and crush him by its weight. The struggle must have ended with the death of both hunter and bear. A seated woman in a medallion to the right is shown weeping. Another rock face at right angles to the first shows a hunter with his lance and his dogs.

Rising above the town of Ghazir and a winding road, Guineh is made up of very attractive houses widely scattered over wooded heights with balconies giving impressive views dominating the sea. Here we are at altitudes varying from some three thousand to three thousand five hundred feet above sea level. Mineral water gushes from a spring and tumbles down into the ravine. People queue up to fill their cans, jars and reservoirs and in fact the whole area abounds in water. The various shades of yellow ochre, red, black and gray of the soil shows how rich it is in iron and various metallic oxides.

Guineh is a little over twenty miles from the capital Beirut and there are several ways of getting there. From the coastal highway one may go up through Ghazir or alternatively go up from the bottom of the valley of the river Nahr Ibrahim to find Guineh just after Yahshoush. One may take the route through Afca, Lassa and Mayroubah or yet another one through Harissa and Shahtoul.

Guineh is a very desirable summer resort with its clear air, limpid water and verdant nature, with an atmosphere of calm and repose most beneficial for health. The town has a modern infrastructure with good roads and communications, electricity, telephone lines, running water, a school, hotels, restaurants, a youth club and medical facilities. There are several churches, notably that of Our Lady of Deliverance. There is a bakery with traditional “tannour” oven, sports activities and protection of the environment. The people are welcoming and friendly. One may well enjoy a truly ecological day in here surrounded by nature at its best.

Joseph Matar - Translation from the French: Kenneth J. Mortimer

- Al Ghineh - Greco-Roman time: >> View Movie << (2013-03-01)
- Al Ghineh - Byzantine church: >> View Movie << (2013-03-01)


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