They are three, and they stand like a fortress on the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea. They are threefold and they are one, a trinity.
We all speak of Mount Lebanon, but of what mountain do we speak? Of Hermon the wise, the ancient rampart of the south? Or of Cornet es-Sawda, the mighty goddess of the north, planted by the hand of God with those divine trees, our cedars. Or in the very center, Mount Sannine, so singular, so unique in its form, in its subtleties, and in its majesty. I think that when we talk of Mount Lebanon it is of Sannine that we speak.
Many hours have I passed observing this sphinx, regarding its shades of color changing from dawn till dusk and so into the night, a presence that is alive.
It says to us, “Behold I am here, I am living, I breathe, I draw into me all the rays and all the light of the sun to make them my own.”
A proud mountain, welcoming, prophetic, crowned with eternal snows while at its feet burst forth countless abundant sources, of which we mention:
- Nebeh Laban, the Milk Spring,
- Nebeh Assal, the Honey Spring, and
- Nebeh Shabrouh, the Spring of Youth.
And of those called Ain:
- Ain el Arouss, the Spring of the Bride,
- Oyoun es-Siman, the Springs of Siman, and many others.
Following Laklouk, to the north and to the east extends the wide plain of the Bekaa and to the west lies the coast and the sea, with Mount Kneisset to the south.
When approaching its eastern slopes from the Mediterranean, one sees towering up its majestic face, Sannine itself. It looks down on us and challenges us, but assures us that this solid ground is welcoming, hospitable and generous. Here flows milk and honey and nectar and fruit abounds of every kind. With incense and oil it presents a picture of Paradise and of Eden. Holy Scripture (psalms 42, 43, “From Hermon, from the mountain of Mitsar”), the prophecies, the myths and the legends all mention its holy name.
The great civilizations with their conquerors wished to make it their sanctuary, there to present their offerings and sacrifices, while the Romans made it a religious edifice. Center of pilgrimage and of prayer, and tourist site all the year round, spring, summer, autumn and winter, people flow there in crowds to go skiing or to pass their time in the restaurants, hotels and bars. They come from all sides, for the air is fresh and health-giving and Nature is beautiful. Afar one may see the island of Cyprus and all around gives cause for meditation.
How may one arrive? The ways pass through Faraya, Kferzebian, Baskinta and Zahleh in the Bekaa. From Beirut in an hour or so one reaches a height of 2000 meters. The Red Cross is always on duty and rescue teams as well.
At Shabrouh on the north-west slope work is under way on a magnificent project, a great dam destined to contain millions of cubic meters of water to supply the regions of Metn, Kesrouan and Jbeil in the coming years. Sannine is visible from the moment one arrives in Lebanon, whether it be through the airport or the shipping port, and as one looks up from the capital city it seems to beckon one on for a visit.
- Sannine or Mount Lebanon: >> View Movie << (2006-04-01)