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Panoramic Views > North > Bcharreh > Gibran Museum

The Gibran Khalil Gibran Museum

In Lebanon one is never far from history, with souvenirs of the Phoenicians, Persians, Romans and Francs, to name only a few, from the wave-swept shores to the snowy mountain peaks.

At Bsharri in North Lebanon the monastery of Mar Sarkis is built over an ancient tomb dominated by a naturally formed obelisk at the highest point of the Qannoubine valley. Christianity was long ago implanted in this valley of Qadisha and in its surrounding villages. From the monastery of Mar Sarkis one has an unrivalled view. This is the public meeting place for the young people of Bsharri, who come here to pray, to play, to meditate and to relax, heirs of the children of the region who have earned fame, Saint Sharbel Makhlouf, the artist and poet Gibran, Patriarch Dweihy, the Semaani brothers, all of whom have left their imprint in this holy place.

The eye can see rich vegetation, wooded slopes, cliffs and carefully cultivated terraces, vines, fruit trees, apple trees, cherry trees, date palms, mulberry trees, fig trees and springs of abundant living waters. The plantations are varied and agriculture intensive, the gift of the Creator to Lebanon. Higher up are cedars, pines and cypress with higher yet the summit of Cornet es-Saouda. Mar Sarkis is halfway between earth and heaven.

The illustrious poet Khalil Gibran even when still young wished to be buried here. ďThe water flows and comes down from the depths of the rock face following every direction, a spot worthy of Paradise.Ē The desires of Gibran were fulfilled, for it is at Mar Sarkis that he lies in his hollow and it was here in this ancient hermitage that his museum was formed, there where the children of the village come together.

The monastery clings to the cliff overhanging the entrance to the town of Bsharri and the valley. In this place where the museum was organized the monastery has been restored and several chambers have been added for the needs of the place. The visitor can pass from one room to the other admiring the works of the master, not only his paintings but also the objects from his room dear to Gibran, such as his chair and his manuscripts.

His figurative paintings, expressionist and symbolic, many nudes, the expressive groups devoted to the masculine and feminine forms, make me wonder whether Gibran was impressed by anthroposophy and the school of Rudolph Steiner. He is not far from him in his painting and writing, with the emblems, just facing the large thatched cottage where Gibran went to draw and to study the movement of his living model. One sees the works of Rudolph Steiner among the editions of the Triades publishing house. Gibranís Christ figures, showing him as God, prophet, humanist and so on, bear features not unlike those of Gibran himself.

Mar Sarkis is a place for meditation and prayer and many pilgrims and visitors come here on foot, praying and singing. Before it became the resting-place of Gibran, the monastery sheltered many hermits and holy men whose remains now lie here awaiting the resurrection. Bsharri, the home town of Gibran, is proud of its brilliant son and spares no effort for cultural and social events in the summer season. Several committees have been set up bearing Gibranís name to commemorate him, for Gibran willed the authorís rights of all his works, paintings and writings, to his whole village. According to his will, Bsharri is an inheritance to be cared for, and so the National Gibran Committee saw the light of day.

The museum has been enlarged and brought up to date, with more than sixteen rooms under the charge of a most capable warden, Dr. Wahib Keyrouz. All Gibranís written work is to be found here, translated into more than thirty languages. There are over fifty thousand visitors every year, and there are projects under way to improve the ways of access, communications and the tourist activity.

William MATAR

- Gibran Museum: >> View Movie << (2010-01-15)
- Gibran Museum 2: >> View Movie << (2010-01-15)



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