The Qandoula is not so much a tree as a sort of
large bush or shrub, widespread in the Lebanese
Qnadoula is also the name of certain villages or
hamlets and the villages which are named after trees
are quite plentiful in Lebanon. There is the Shaarbineh
(cypress) quarter of Sofsaf (weeping willow), Sindyan
(oak tree), Wadi ed-Delb (Plane Trees Valley), Wata
el-Jawz (Walnut Hollow), Iklim al Kharoub (Carob
District), Ballout (acorn), Zaarour (Crataegus),
Wadi el-Laymoun (Orange Valley), Mazraat et-Teffah
(Apple Orchard), and others.
In Lebanon mankind and his environment form a single
entity. The tree, the rock, all Nature, form a Me
of their own. Nature and Man are inseparable. By
its shade and fresh air underneath its boughs the
tree protects its fruit, blossom, wood and buds.
A tree is a landmark, with a central place in the
public squares, church courts, and shrines. It is
a meeting-place for lovers, for children, one that
Tree have become national emblems, notably the Cedar,
the Palm Tree, and the Maple symbolized by its leaf.
On the heights of the district of Batroun, at rather
more than three thousand feet above sea level, there
is a hamlet called Qandoula, forty miles from Beirut
and twelve from the town of Batroun. There are many
ways of getting there, but we point out in particular
the road through Madfoun, Rashana, Smar Jbeil, Irane,
Harbouna, Sourat, Halta, and so to Qandoula. If
one comes from the North there is the road from
Batroun to Ijdabra, Bedragfel, Selaal, Sourat, Halta
and finally Qaqndoula.
On the north side of Qandoula lies Oura, with Bsatines
el-Oussi to the east, Halta to the west, and Beit
Shlela to the south.
As we arrive we are received by some magnificent
oak trees, real giants of great beauty. The indicate
human presence, a cluster of some houses lost in
the space, almost invisible. The roads have no asphalt
and there is no school, medical center or other
infrastructure. One can only suppose that Qandoula
depends entirely on the neighboring villages.
What is most saddening is the total lack of respect
for the environment. From morning till nightfall
dozens of hunters position themselves under the
great oaks and open fire on the birds without pity.
Qandoula is well worth a visit and one should walk
around there on foot, and so be able to relax under
the oaks and breathe deeply of the pure and unpolluted
air. It is a place where one should meditate and
Matar and William Matar
Translation from the French : Kenneth Mortimer