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Panoramic Views > Mount Lebanon > Kesserwan > Ghazir

Ghazir, the World Apart

Kessrewan, impenetrable fortress!

Kessrewan, resistance, heroism, a people brave and glorious!

Kessrewan stretches from North Metn “The Kateh”, to Ftouh, which now is part of it, and used to include a large part of the Jbeil-Byblos region. Alone, Kessrewan once made up almost half of Mount Lebanon.

Ftouh-Kessrewan is a name derived from the Arabic word meaning conquest, entry, or opening up. In point of fact the area was conquered by the Arabs, and this gave it the name Ftouh. The capital of this Ftouh is Ghazir, the largest agglomeration of buildings in the region. The name of this town is of Semitic origin and is to be found in the Bible in Joshua ch. 10, v. 33.

It is impossible to sum of Ghazir in a mere couple of pages. This would need several volumes, an encyclopedia rather. Ghazir is fifteen miles from the capital of Lebanon, Beirut, and stands at 1,300 feet above sea level. On its west side it touches the coast at Maameltein near Jounieh, to t he north Guineh, to the east Aramoun and Katten, and to the south Sahel Alma close by Jounieh itself. There are many roads going up to Ghazir, coming from all directions. The nearest and easiest approach is from the Beirut-Tripoli high road, only five minutes away from Ghazir by car.

How can one talk of Ghazir, its history, its tourist attractions, its traditions and customs, its old souq of shops, and its wide squares, the central one or the one facing the seminary of the Maronite Fathers that once belonged to the Jesuits? In this seminary Ernest Renan wrote his famous Vie de Jésus, Life of Jesus.

Ghazir has more than ten churches, including Our Lady of the Towers, Saint Elias’, Our Lady “Habshiyyeh”, and a great number of monasteries and religious houses such as those of Our Lady of the Pastures, Saint Maroun, Saint Anthony, Al-Mazar, and Saint Francis, and the schools of the nuns as well as the official schools.

From the seventeenth century to the nineteenth the raising of silk worms and silk production flourished and provided substantial financial income for the village folk, helping them to get through the darker periods of history.

In Ghazir there is a Jaafarite Shiite tribunal. This was the birthplace of Emir Shehab the Great as well as of President Fuad Shehab. Several outstanding families have dominated Ghazir, such as the Shehab emirs, the Maan emirs, the Assaf emirs, the sheikhs Hobaish, and others.

In 1823 a great Patriarch, Yussef Hobaish was elected to be head of the Maronite community during a period covering the Peasant Revolt and the confessional strife between Maronites and Druze.

There are several religious confraternities, for example the Confraternity of the Immaculate Conception, the Legion of Mary, the charity of Saint Vincent de Paul, and the parish choir. There is a parish council, a clinic for the care and help of the sick, and the Scouts of Lebanon. A bust of Renan stands in the town’s central square and another connection with France is the twinning between Ghazir and the town of Tréguier in France, established in the year 2009.

Among its sons and daughters the town counts politicians, scholars, poets, men of learning, historians, thinkers, researchers, artists and very active artisans. Some years ago a sports stadium was put up where international competitions are held.

Emigrants and travelers from Ghazir have gone round the world, among whom we make particular mention of Al-Ghaziri, a monk who was a specialist in eastern languages, an archivist, and Vatican librarian.

Attention should be drawn to the beautiful typical Lebanese houses with their red-tiled roofs, in addition to the large new buildings, the many new luxurious residences, the centers, the orchards of fruit trees, the stretches of woodland, the springs of rushing water, the several caves including that of the Lion, the old flour-mills, the old alleyways, and the new roads serving the whole region. In Ghazir the home industry of food preserves is expanding and thousands of families come here to get their famous Lebanese “mouneh” for the winter.

The Town Hall was built in 1904 during the time of the Muhafez administration.

From Ghazir one has a sweeping view of the horizon stretching along the coastline south to Beirut and north to the shores of Jbeil-Byblos. Making good use of the town’s infrastructure, the Town Council and whole municipality work for the modernization of the town and support many cultural and artistic activities including conferences, theater plays, dances, competitions, games, concerts and bazaars. To these achievements may be added a school of agriculture which provides a career near home for the young, and other schools which make Ghazir a national center of education attracting students from far and wide.

Festivals and ceremonies take place on a large scale, backed by restaurants by the dozen and hotels, chalets and night-clubs overlooking the beaches.

Ghazir is also a land of sanctity, prayer, and sacrifice; one of its sons was the illustrious Father Yaacoub, who has been beatified and is soon to be canonized.

The wineries and distilleries are flourishing and the wine Musar has attained international fame, while the arack produced here is widely appreciated.

The charm of this town of Ghazir comes from its will to safeguard its traditional picturesque aspect with its rural and historic atmosphere, while at the same time keeping up-to-date.

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

- Ghazir old souk 1: >> View Movie << (2017-02-20)
- Ghazir old souk 2: >> View Movie << (2017-02-20)
- Home Father Yaacoub 1: >> View Movie << (2017-03-28)
- Home Father Yaacoub 2: >> View Movie << (2017-03-28)
- Home Father Yaacoub 3: >> View Movie << (2017-03-28)
- Saint Francis convent: >> View Movie << (2017-03-28)



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