Turbol is a hill known as Jebel Turbol, and stands
three hundred feet above sea level just over six miles
from Tripoli. When we were small, during the geography
lessons at school it was explained to us what was
the main resource of each region of Lebanon, in one
place abundant water, in another hot springs, olives,
oil, oranges, bananas, cereals, vines, crafts, industry
or tourism. In a word, we were told what characterized
each region and what it produced, and where we could
find outcrops of iron ore or coal. When it was a question
of petroleum, naft in Arabic, reference was made to
Turbol; but understand, this was seventy years ago
and oil has been discerned only in the extreme South
and then out at sea.
There are in Lebanon three places known under the
name of Turbol, in the South, in the Beqaa and to
the north of Tripoli in the Donnieh region. This last
is the one that concerns us here, the one on a hill
to be reached by any one of three ways of access,
the Mejdelaya road not far from Zghorta, the Minieh
road, or the road by Deir Lmar.
The origins of the name have never been made clear.
It is in effect a high hill with an agglomeration
of the same name, in particular with the fine residence
of some very rich person.
Turbol is like a watch tower, a vantage point from
where on can see sweeping panoramas of scenic beauty
stretching as far as the eye can see over the Akkar
plain, Tripoli and the lakes of Youn es-Samak. One
has a view towards all four points of the compass,
ranging in a complete circle. The place itself is
almost desert due to dark volcanic ground in which
few trees grow; but if the site appears arid in its
splendor, the surroundings are unique.
The village itself enjoys a modern infrastructure
with town hall, churches, mosques, school and medical
centers. On the outskirts of this volcanic region,
on the road leading to Markabta, there is a mzar (shrine)
of Nabeh (Prophet) Yashouh, a place of worship where
visitors come and meditate. There are also basements,
one of which is of exceptional length.
The people of Turbol are professionals, craftsmen
or officials, working in Tripoli or in Beirut. Anybody
visiting Turbol should not forget Youn es-Samak, where
the leaping waters of the El-Bared river former small
lakes that are a sight to see.