Between Haroun and Shekka, the Ras Shaq’a cliff
plunges vertically down to the sea. The narrow rocky
passageway was considered a strategic position that
invading armies could not avoid. It is likely that
a Roman road passed by here, but one can only suppose
that it tumbled into the waves during the earthquake
of 551 A.D.. A footpath still overhangs the void
here. It winds around the rock, clinging to the
face of the cliff. In 1909 the Ottomans dug a tunnel
through the promontory. During the Mandate, in 1943,
the French drove a second tunnel for the railway
and then a third. At present the Beirut-Tripoli
highroad goes through a new tunnel on the east side
of the cape.
of tourist interest
sites of archeological, historical and religious
-The creeks, rocky points and rich submarine life,
all of great beauty.
-The pleasure harbors such as Al-Heri.
-The sandy beaches with marine sports available.
All this with the possibility of enjoying delicious
one should know
The Hannoush coastal plain lies west east of Ras
Shaq’a. Phoenician remains have been found there
including cisterns and presses. One large vat 140
cm across by 102 deep (approx 60 by 40 inches),
half buried in the ground, shows Greek letters inscribed
on one of its faces. Other inscriptions are to be
found on a flat rock overhanging the sea thought
to mark the old Roman road that passed by Hannoush
and also on sections of columns and capitals dating
from Greco-Roman times. Probably Hannoush was the
ancient Gigarta, whose name was listed among the
episcopal seats along the Phoenician coast. This
same name was found carved in a stone at Ibreen
that had been taken there from the fortress of Msailhah.
Church of Mar Yuhanna (St. John)
At Hannoush there are the foundations of a church
of Byzantine style dedicated to Saint John. This
church probably once comprised three parts and was
surrounded by a gallery of marble columns, some
of which were marked by a cross. From this period
there are also Greek inscriptions and burial chambers
hewn in the rock.
Monastery of Mar Doumit (St. Domitian)
This monastery farm belongs to the Maronite monks
and is surrounded by some houses for the workers.
town of Shekka
Fifteen kilometers north of Batroun on the Tripoli
road is the town of Shekka, with a shoreline of
Shekka lies 68 km (44 miles) from Beirut and 16
km (10 miles) from Tripoli. It borders Enfeh with
the river Barghoun to the north and Kfar Hazir to
the east, with Al-Heri and Nahr al-Asfour (Bird
River) to the south and the broad Mediterranean
stretching to the west. The old town of Shekka,
Shekka al-Antika (the Ancient), rises up to a height
of 115 meters, about 370 feet. Along its shore are
a large number of caves, Al-Ghamiq, Al-Maskat, and
Beknaya, with the source Helweh rising below sea
During Phoenician times, Shekka was called Gigarta
and this name appears ten times in the Egyptian
tablets of Tel al-Armana. Prehistoric flint tools
and chips have been found in the cement quarries.
In Byzantine times it became an episcopal seat like
Enfeh and the bishops took part in the Council of
Chalcedon in 451 A.D.. Remains of wine or olive
presses from Greco-Roman times are still to be seen
in several places in Shekka. The cliff faces of
Old Shekka bear ancient funerary sites with inscriptions
engraved in the soft limestone, but these have suffered
from vandals and it is difficult to date them.
During the Arab conquest, Shekka was the arena of
major battles. The Byzantines landed on the shore
both here and at Al-Heri. During Crusader times,
Shekka was divided between two fiefs under the Count
of Tripoli, that of Nefin (Enfeh) and that of Puy
de Connétable (Al-Heri). In a text dating
from 1519, Shekka appears as a farm attached to
Enfeh. Under the French mandate, it became a camp
for the armies of the Allies and received a visit
from General de Gaulle.
In 1909, Shekka had 1,100 inhabitants. The Christian
population is part Orthodox and part Maronite, the
latter having come in the middle of the 17th century.
Over the last three centuries their number has considerably
These include the cement works and traditional crops.
The mulberry, fig and olive groves have all declined
because of the pollution caused by the cement works,
but growing tobacco and vegetables continues.
Nature has provided Shekka with abundant streams
and rivers, among them Al-Asfour, Barghoum and Ash-Sharfeh,
which form winter ponds and marshes. Numerous springs
provide Shekka and part of Koura with drinking water,
though here one must not forget the old artesian
wells and water wheels.
At present Habkeh Bay is a fishing harbor, but in
the past it was known above all for its submarine
field of sponges.
new Church of the Transfiguration, one of the most
beautiful Orthodox churches in Lebanon...