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Panoramic Views > North > El Koura > Kfarhazir

Kfar Hazir, The Village of Pigs

So why not? Is not a pig an animal like any other? Is not its meat a delicious and tasty? Pigs are easy to raise and they breed abundantly. Their pork is of major importance in the agricultural economy, providing protein in abundance for all, rich and poor alike.

Most probably Kfarhazir is a name of Aramaic origin, from kfar meaning village and hazir meaning pig. Alternatively the name might mean the place under the protection of the Egyptian god Osiris, or Ausire, also known to the Phoenicians as Adonis.

Lying between one thousand and one thousand one hundred feet above sea level, Kfarhazir should have been included under the Batroun or Mount Lebanon sectors, but administratively in comes under the province of North because of the impassible barrier of Shekka, which in the past had to be avoided by going up through Kfarhazir.

Kfarhazir is a quiet, sunlit, dreamlike village of great charm in the caza of Koura, nearly forty miles from the capital Beirut and is a crossroads between Tripoli, Beirut, the North, and the Cedars. I knew it well during the nineteen-fifties, when it was still necessary to pass through this one-time sanctuary in order to reach the North, Bsharri, Ehden or the Cedars. The natural scenery looked as it might have been on the morning of Creation. The hand of man had not yet started to systematically scar this village.

From its hilltop, like some extended welcoming hand, Kfarhazir would receive the passers-by with its bitter-orange trees, olive trees, almond trees, fig trees, vines, fruit trees of every description, and coppices of woodland. There were stretches sown with wheat along the terraces of the small plateau and the village was full of activity all the year round. For myself, it seemed to me as if a many-colored rainbow had come to earth there. It was like the villages we knew in our childhood,, when everywhere there reigned charm, innocence and purity. Then there was respect for Nature and one would be carried away by its music, finding it a stage on the way to Paradise. Now fifty years have passed: roadways, the highroad to the North and the Cedars, the interior streets, the power pylons, all the marks of infrastructure have appeared and little by little all the natural beauty is getting lost. At present, with the failure to respect the laws, corruption is rampant. Recently I passed by Kafrhazir and was flabbergasted, for I could no longer recognize what had been so beautiful. Day by day the environment is dealt mortal blows and pollution reigns.

In Kfarhazir one can find remains that date back to Roman times. Among monuments worth visiting are Mar Youanna, St. Johnís, a historic old church; the old village market, certain caves having a history; basements hewn in the rock; and the churches of Notre Dame, Mar Yaacoub or St. James, and finally the very old church of St. Theodore. There are springs of water such as the historic Ain Yugashi, oil presses, and two large restaurants opened recently, the Octogon and the Shamelon.

There is in addition an industrial zone, something which should not normally be allowed inside such a village. In all Koura there should be just one such zone, embracing all the forms of industry. There remains much to be done in order to avoid the ravages of quarries for sand and stone appearing here and there without control.

Recently with the Greens and other defenders of the environment, there are hopes for some change. There have been large public demonstrations and on one occasion the village people held up seventy trucks taking stones from the quarries to the Shekka cement works, from where the smoke and general pollution rise to invade the whole region. What is more, there are certain industries which I feel I must consider as criminal, such as the slaughterhouses and the tanneries where the hides are partially treated, leaving much of their filth before they are sent, folded and cleansed, to Egypt, Turkey and elsewhere to serve for the production of leather. These industries give off a revolting stench and cause much pollution. Now a committee has been formed to make plans to save Kfarhazir from its imminent destruction. Kfarhazir deserves our attention and is well worth a visit.

Joseph Matar and William Matar
Translation from the French : Kenneth Mortimer

- Kfarhazir
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