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Panoramic Views > North > Zgharta > Mazraat el Toufah

Mazraat el Toufah - The Apple Orchard

Several roads lead us to this place in the Koura district, one passing by Shekka, Arjes, and Sebeel, another through Shekka, Ehden, Arbet, and Kozhaya and yet another through Tripoli, Dahr el-Ain, and Zghorta.

All these routes ensure a pleasant ride, particularly that through the valley of Ehden, Toula, and Aslout, which seems a journey through earthly paradise, with its rich verdure and fruit trees of every kind, apricot, cherry, apple and pear among others.

However, when we went, our arrival at Mazraat et-Tauffah brought some disappointment. The fact is that now there are hardly any apple trees left there. The village was abandoned by its inhabitants in the middle of the nineteenth century, most of them having since emigrated to the USA, Brazil or Australia, for under Ottoman occupation there was only misery and poverty on all sides.

Mazraat et-Touffah is at a height of 900 meters, ninety-five kilometers from Beirut, thirty-five from Tripoli and twenty-five from Zghorta. To the east is the village of Al-Bouhairat with the lake fed by springs on every side, while opposite, to the west, are the villages of Miziarah and Homeiss.

The place is pleasant enough. We drew up in the main square before the church of Saint Doumit, the local patron saint. We were able to admire a number of luxurious new villas, one might say palaces and residences, while the remains of some old houses were still standing.

The former president of the town council told me that he had twice held an Apple Festival in order to encourage the people plant the trees once again in order to restore the old aspect of the village with the tree whose name it bears. There is a stream with a waterfall known as Al-Kef, meaning joy and exuberance. A cliff and a cave also bear the same name.

The distinguishing feature of the village is the large forest on its border, with oak trees and conifers such as cedars and pines. It is easy to go on an excursion on foot to reach Miziara and Homeiss just opposite.

Children of the region are provided for by three private schools and two public schools. There is a town hall with adjacent municipal facilities including clinics and sports and social clubs.

Another church is dedicated to Saint Maura, whose feast is celebrated on September 25th, while for Saint Doumit there is a major celebration on the eve of August 6th. The younger people work in the main coastal towns, Beirut, Byblos and Tripoli. They include doctors, attorneys, government officials, teachers, members of the armed forces and technicians with various specialties. Most come home every evening while others come only at weekends. The emigrants are to be seen only in summer.

General speaking, the Lebanese are strongly attached to their ancestral villages, but for anyone a visit to Mazraat et-Touffah and its area on foot is thoroughly enjoyable.

Joseph Matar - Translation from the French: Kenneth Mortimer

- Mazraat el Toufah: >> View Movie << (2010-08-01)

 

 


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