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Panoramic Views > Mount Lebanon > Kesserwan > Mayrouba


Like the palm of a generous open hand with the fingers pointing in all different directions, Mayrouba lies against a plateau at an altitude of well over three thousand feet, a source of gushing streams and a crossroads with roads leading in every direction.

On its southern side, the locality is bordered by a main road leading to Kfardebien, while another route climbs to Faraya and then over the pass to the Beqaa where lie Baalbek and Zahleh. On the way one passes the ski station already visible from the Mayrouba heights.

On the northwestern side a road crosses the hump of the mountain before descending to Lassa and the sacred springs of Afca and Kartaba. Lower to the west there is a road coming up from coastal Kesrouan, from Ftouh, Ghazir, Ashqout, Harissa and Jounieh.

This large village of Mayrouba is backed by the mountain chain of Jabel Moussa and Hrajel. In the deep valley below there is a torrent whose waters leap down from the springs of Nab el-Assal, Nab el-Laban, and Nab el-Maghara, all from the white limestone geological strata under the elevations surrounding the imposing mass of Mount Sannine which dominates the whole region.

It is the waters rushing down on all sides that give the village its name of Mayrouba, which can be interpreted as meaning abounding with water, rich in water, or thundering waters. From the shade of the few Mediterranean pines on the high points of the village, pleasure seekers and particularly artists can gaze on Mount Sannine in all its splendor and follow the subtle changes of its tones throughout the day. Mayrouba is also known for the enormous rocks torn from the mountainside. They surround it like so many sentinels standing guard over the town and form a spectacle of great beauty as if they were sculptures hewn out by the hands of the Creator himself. Some of them have been baptized by artists with such names as the Temple, the Sphinx, the Altar, Venus, Rameses, the Capitals, and so on.

The springs, ain in Arabic, are to be found in great number, on all sides, each with its name, Ain et-Tannour, Ain es-Sewan, Ain el-Cana, and Ain el-Merhege, to mention but a few.

The region enjoys a great reputation for its agriculture. There are orchards of apples known as Mayroubas, and people used to speak of Mayrouba apples, the saplings of which were transplanted all over Lebanon. In fact orchards and coppices of trees abound on all sides.

On the higher ground one finds many ancient prehistoric quarries going back to Neolithic times, the New Stone Age, when local settlement was encouraged by the abundance of wild game of every description which provided good hunting.

The village is welcoming and warmly hospitable, still respecting the old traditions and customs and carefully conserving the old dwellings with their typical arcades. But there is a thoroughly modern infrastructure with electric power, telephones, irrigation, roads, and public administration and planning. A municipal authority plans and operates in a way to ensure the smooth running of the public and private establishments. There are schools, medical facilities, business premises, a police station, postal service, hotels, travel facilities and everything to avoid traffic jams and to put the tourist at ease. To sleep at Mayrouba and ski at Faraya has entered into the language.

Here in Mayrouba one can visit the museum commemorating the dame who has carried the message of Our Lady and the Cedar around the world, its President Almazah Saadeh, a person with a great heart and promoter of charities, the first lady from the Middle East to be honored by Pope John Paul II.

Under its dynamic president, the Mayrouba town council is preparing a number of projects:

- A layout for the Valley of the Cross.
- A National Apple Festival.
- Electronic locations.
- Twinning with the holy town of Bethlehem.
- Cable cars linking Mayrouba to Fakra with its ski station and Roman remains.
- Putting Mayrouba on the international scene.
- Recent honoring of highly placed religious personalities, heads of state, ministers, artists and suchlike.
- Reaching out to the world with The Holy Mother of God Our Lady of Mayrouba holding an apple in her hand and serving as ambassador.
- A municipal stadium for yearly festivals and tournaments.
- A summer resort for the Kremist Fathers (Society of Apostles).
- Summer camps.

The patron saint of Mayrouba is the prophet Elias (Elijah), after whom the principal church is named. This holy anchorite lived at the time of King Achab in the ninth century before Christ, near Sidon at Sarepta (now Sarafand) in South Lebanon, and is popularly considered as still alive, being called Mar Elias el-Haye, the Living. The Second Book of Kings (2: 1–18) tells how he was carried up to heaven in a chariot of fire. Other churches there are too, dedicated for example to Our Lady of Mayrouba and Saint Anthony of Padua.

The population is mostly Maronite Christian. There is a high level of education, and one may easily meet doctors, journalists, engineers, lawyers, scholars, poets and authors. There are craftsmen, merchants and businessmen who are all well known.

The great painter Omar Onsi spent more than twenty-five years in Mayrouba, during which time he did paintings of certain corners, views, rocks and people’s faces for the benefit of posterity. Two leading families, the Saadehs and the Khalils, have dominated by their number, their ability, their devotion and their energy, from which the town has benefited.

Mayrouba is a summer resort and tourist site that all should visit.

Joseph Matar
Translation from the French : Kenneth Mortimer

- The Historic House of Rachid Saadeh: >> View Movie << (2013-03-01)
- Village of Mayrouba: >> View Movie << (2013-01-15)
- Museum of Almaza Saadeh: >> View Movie << (2013-01-15)
- Village of Mayrouba - The Cross: >> View Movie << (2012-12-01)


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