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Panoramic Views > Mount Lebanon > Kesserwan > Roman Temple and Natural Bridge

Faqra: Roman temple, Natural Bridge

On the northwest slopes of Mount Sannine (2,548 meters), against a still wild scenic background, water thunders out from two mighty springs, Nabeh el Laben and Nabeh el Assal (the Spring of Milk and the Spring of Honey), and then cascades tumultuously down the two steep valleys of Kafar Zebbian and Faraya.

Just above the waterfall where the river tumbles out of Nabeh el Laben, there stands a Canaanite temple dedicated to Astarte, the mother goddess who was the symbol of fertility. Only a few meters away from this shrine there rises a large Roman temple of the 2nd century A.D., 30m long by 16m wide. In front of it there is a rectangular courtyard, built up on one side and on the other side level with the virgin rock. A grandiose peristyle of six Corinthian columns of 2m diameter each, like those of Baalbek, overlooks a sacrificial altar and a cella of great hewn blocks. This temple was dedicated to the God of Gods.

Faqra: Natural bridge, Kfardebian

Somewhat to the north of these constructions, one sees a fine monolithic bridge whose arch spans a hollow sculpted by the eroding river before its savage leap over the cliff named Blanche. This splendid natural bridge, one of the greatest in the world with its 50-metre span, overhangs a basin full of enormous blocks of stone that have crashed down from the sides. A keen eye easily discovers fossilized seashells embedded in the surrounding strata, dating back 200 million years.

They delight collectors and excite the wonder of geologists and men of learning. The springs of water, the natural bridge and the temples all in such close proximity make this upper valley of Naher el Kaleb a favorite haunt of hikers and sightseers, for whom Nature displays her captivating contrasts of power and of controlled violence, of austerity and of generous abundance, of disturbing question-raising phenomena and of long-vanished deep religious sensibilities.

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

- Roman temple: >> View Movie << (2001-03-01)
- Natural bridge, Kfardebian: >> View Movie << (2001-03-01)



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