The Palace of Beiteddine.
The Palace of Emir
Maaser El Shouf.
The Natural Reserve.
Palace of Beiteddine.
DeirElQamar General View. East Side.
As you leave DeirElQamar and
gain height, you can enjoy a beautiful panoramic view over the palace of Beiteddine.
On the northern outskirts of
DeirElQamar, on the road leading to Beiteddine you will notice a modern
construction resembling a mediaeval castle. Moussa's Castle is named
after its owner and constructor. The inside of this eccentric castle is a wax
museum showing scenes of traditional everyday life in the Lebanese Mountains.
Palace of the Emir Amine.
A few kilometers further along
is the Palace of the Emir Amine, who was the youngest son of the Emir
Bechir II Chehab. This palace which looks down onto the palatial complex of
Beiteddine, was restored and converted into a deluxe 24-room hotel by the
Ministry of Tourism.
Baakline, which is about
4 kilometers southwest of Beiteddine, was the first capital of the Maan dynasty
that settled here around 1120. it has some beautiful old homes and the local
handiwork shop produces some very good crochet work although their main craft is
carpet weaving producing copies very similar to Persian rugs.
10 kilometers southwest of Beiteddine, has been the stronghold of the Druze
Joumblat family since the start of the 17th century.
This important Chouf locality
has had much of its rich heritage preserved the most prestigious being the
19th century seigniorial domain of the Druze leader Walid Joumblat. Built
over an earlier structure, this palace combines a mix of oriental and Italian
influences. The most recent changes were made in the 19th century. The palace
was damaged in battles between the Joumblats and Emir Bechir in 1825, but was
rebuilt soon afterwards.
Ain Mershed, a kilometer
further along is delightful for its setting with a waterfall and pools that are
the background for a large and pleasant restaurant. The temperature near the
falls can be quite cool even during the hottest days of summer.
Baadarane, 7 kilometers
south of Moukhtara, is another preserve of Lebanese Feudal architecture. You
will find the old palace of Ali Pacha Joumblat allied to Fakhreddine II as well
as other residences in the style of Beiteddine still inhabited today although in
need of some restoration work.
Amatour, halfway between
Moukhtara and Baadarane, is where you can see more houses built in the
traditional style that characterizes the Lebanese mountainside. Looking down
over the village is the ancient "Khalwa" or meeting place used by the
Druze for prayer and meditation.
Maaser El Shouf, site of
one of Lebanon's beautiful cedar forests, is also a choice spot for walking
enthusiasts. From the top of the mountain that dominates this village, at 1940
meters altitude there is a panoramic view over the Beqaa, the Litani dam and the
Barouk village, situated
at the base of mount mount Barouk is covered with a magnificent Cedar forest.
This pleasant summer town at 1170 meters altitude is well known as an abundant
source of waters, restaurants and open-air cafes.
The Natural Reserve, this
area covers 500 square kilometers of Cedar forests, with no less than 3 million
trees, which extend from Ain Zhalta to Barouk and Maaser el
Shouf. It includes
many natural and historic sites and encompasses a wide variety of wild fauna and
herbs. It is an ideal and unique area for hikers to explore; however a permit
should be obtained before undertaking such a tour. This permit may be obtained
from the Natural Reserve's office.
Shouf Cedar Nature Reserve Website
by Ministry of Tourism