The Seraglio of the Emir Fakhreddine II

 

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The Seraglio of the Emir Fakhreddine II Maan. This beautiful palace today houses the Marie Baz wax museum. The Baz family together with the "Grevin museum" in Paris, founded this small museum in which are exhibited more than 70 wax models or sculptures representing some of Lebanon’s historical personalities. . Its architecture in the “Khan” style, consists of a residential floor and a partial second floor overlooking a central courtyard.

The Seraglio of the Emir Fakhreddine II Maan - Today houses the Marie Baz wax museum
The Seraglio of the Emir Fakhreddine II Maan
Today houses the Marie Baz wax museum

To enter, one must first pass through a vaulted chamber or guards room, followed by a second chamber. Following an angle of 90º permitted access to the main area. For security purposes access was indirect, to allow better control by the guards who would only have one point to defend in case of attack. This protective measure was common in the planning of Arab homes and palaces in those days.

This massive construction initially included a harem for the Emir’s wives, where each woman had her own apartments and privacy. These were on either side of the courtyard surrounding the main hall.

To the north of the interior courtyard there is the service liwan with its fountain. And on the opposite side is a second liwan, slightly off-center to the first, and destined for use by the occupants of the palace.

In the center of the courtyard is a very decorative octagonal fountain.

The southern wing of the building lies on arches supported by massive pillars giving on to the Dany Chamoun Square (Midane).

The stones used to enhance the rather sober decor of the palace were of a yellowier hue than the local masonry found in the region, and it is said that these yellow stones were brought from the Akkar where the Emir Fakhreddine had demolished the palaces of his rivals the Sayfas. In order to transport these stones all the way from the Akkar region to DeirElQamar, legend has it that Fakhreddine lined up the soldiers of the defeated army all the way along the coast line and then up the hills and had the soldiers pass the stones to each other all the way to Deir.

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