suggested for the name of this town are as follows.
begin with, it might refer to the Roman emperor
Augustus. It is thought that a minor officer of
the emperor wanted to settle in this place, which
gives a wonderful view over the sea. Or it might
be that the town is named after Philippe Auguste,
one of the leaders of the Third Crusade. One of
his associates, a certain Boghos, built himself
a residence on these heights. Then there are the
remains of a column on which is inscribed Augusta,
the name of some illustrious Roman lady. It may
be the name of an aromatic plant or kostos, a corruption
of justice, law. Yet again, the name might come
from ghus, a refugee, protected, or gusta, the impregnable
refuge in the hills.
It cannot be denied that Ghosta has a breath-taking
situation between two projecting arms of the heights
forming the back-drop. The view plunges almost vertically
down to the sea below from a soaring vantage-point
from where one can gaze over the fairyland bay of
Jounieh and the far western horizon. Several high
hills form this group, this plateau, these dream-like
heights on which various notables and wealthy individuals
have built their homes, such as the Khazens, the
Efrems, and the Corms. As well as their residences
there are churches, convents and distinguished monasteries
that have become famous, with the religious houses
of the celebrated shrine of Harissa outstanding,
passed as one approaches Ghosta from the south.
As one enters Ghosta from this side, one sees the
massive form of the monastery of Nesbay, which belongs
to the Order of Lebanese Maronite Monks. To the
north in the hollow between Ghosta and Maarab one
perceives the old school of Ain Warqa, dating from
the sixteenth century and the reign of the emirs
of the Maan and Fakhreddine dynasties. It was a
residence of bishops and of Maronite monks where
scholars and men of letters were formed. Here researches
in Syriac, Qarshouneh (Syriac language written in
Arabic script), Arabic, Italian and French were
edited and it is still a centre of formation.
Ghosta is almost in the middle of Kesserouan and
can be reached by several roads. There is one from
the south-west via Jounieh and Harissa; another
from Ftouh to the north that passes through the
lovely surroundings of Ghazir; and yet another coming
down from Reyfoun and Ashqout to the East.
The infrastructure is as modern as one could wish,
with electric power, piped water. telephone service,
schools, religious houses, seminaries, medical centers,
and sports clubs.
Ghosta is seven or eight miles from Jounieh by road
and about twenty from Beirut, As well as the fine
homes there are restaurants, inns, hotels and cafés,
so it is easy to spend a whole day visiting the
As one comes down from the heights on the western
side through the curve overlooking the sea, one
finds the abundant spring of Batha with the very
beautiful monastery of the Kreimist Missionary Fathers.
This was the first monastery of their Congregation,
a seminary purchased in 1865 by their founder, Father
Yohanna Habib, from the Armenian monks.
In point of fact the monastery had been built by
the Armenians, who had come from Aleppo and other
parts of Syria wishing to follow the example of
the Maronite monks and hermits. Extensive property
was offered them by the El-Khazen sheiks lying in
the hollow above the spring of Batha in the then
village of Ghosta.
The Armenian Fathers later left the Monastery of
Kreim to go and settle in the other monastery of
Khawshbawu, selling their previous lands to the
Missionary Fathers (les Apôtres), who took
over the monastery, restored it, enlarged it, and
from it sent missions around the world. On the eastern
side there is the extensive monastery
of Bzommar founded by the Armenians when they
about which we shall speak elsewhere.
In and around Ghosta there are vineyards and orchards
of apple, pear, peach and olive trees, while there
are extensive woodlands all around. The people of
Ghosta lead a busy life with many activities.
Joseph Matar - Translation from the French:
Kenneth J. Mortimer
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