The Monastery of Balamand (named by the Crusaders Bel Mont)
About 15 kilometres south of Tripoli, on one of the hills overlooking the sea from a height of some 300 metres and just above the village of Calamoun, there rises the monastery of Balamand, firmly planted on grey rocks and surrounded by terraces of red earth where an occasional oak tree raises its head among the olive groves. The superb view from here embraces the wide Mediterranean and the ancient city of Tripoli.
The monastery is in the hands of Orthodox monks and it was here that the sessions of the Panorthodox Council were held in the year 2000. This “deir” or monastery appeared in 1157 A.D. as a Cistercian abbey, but the monks had to leave it in 1289 following the seizure of Tripoli by Calaoun. In earlier times it is said to have been a Byzantine monastery.
The monastery church dates from the 12th century and is a quite remarkable example of Cistercian austerity, with one nave and one apse. The belfry dates from the 13th century. The cloister still gives a clear idea of what it was 800 years ago. The chapter-house with its apse has been transformed into a chapel dedicated to Saint George. Outside, one can admire the solid buttresses. The other Crusader buildings have been modified, as for example the inlaid marble pavement of the church. The adjacent cemetery offers a splendid view.
- The Monastery of Balamand: >> View Movie << (2004-07-01)