is a small agglomeration situated in the region
of Batroun in North Lebanon 59km from Beirut at
an altitude of 500m, on the way between Batroun,
Rashana and Douma. The name is of Phoenician origin
and means Guardian of Jbeil, the Watchman.
Smar Jbeil is one of the most ancient towns of Lebanon,
having a Phoenician citadel which was used by the
Romans, who left inscriptions in the northern wall.
The Crusaders for their part built basements around
its two towers and a church on the side facing north.
. Wells were dug in the living rock as well as deep
Ever since the early Christian era there has been
a church to the north of the citadel.
- That of Our Lady existed long before the arrival
of the Crusades.
- Then there was the church of Saint Thecla.
- The church of Saint Nohra, intercessor the eyes
and for sight, has on its north side some very ancient
Syriac inscriptions and eleven meters from its summit
one may find a sculpture in the form of a cross
made up of rings of stone with a cup beneath.
During recent excavations two columns were found
with a cellar between them. A thousand-year-old
oak tree spreads its boughs near the church.
In 1974 a permanent Scout City was founded near
the town, in Arabic Al-Madina al-Kashfiah, the only
one of its kind in Lebanon, but much of it was transformed
into a military barracks during the troubles of
the nineteen-seventies and ’eighties.
The first Maronite patriarch, Saint John Maroun,
was bishop of Smar Jbeil and of the region of Byblos
and Batroun. It was at Smar Jbeil that together
with his nephew he founded the nucleus of the Maronite
nation between 687 and 703 A.D., with the support
of His Holiness Pope Sergius, a Maronite like himself
and of the same Maronite school of the monastery
of Saint Maroun near Homs (Epiphany) near Apameia
The people of Smar Jbeil work in the big towns along
the coast and return home for the weekends, where
they find several very sought-after restaurants
ready to greet their customers. A modern infrastructure
now exists. The terraces are planted with olive
trees, almond trees, apricot trees, carob trees
and vines. Formerly tobacco made the prosperity
of the region.
Translation from the French: K.J. Mortimer
Smar Jbeil Phoenician Castle: >> View
Movie << (2009-07-01)