The second half of the day gets underway and we move to the city of Beitadine. Specifically to the Palace where an annual festival is due to begin in a few days. This was by far the hottest day I experienced in Lebanon so the idea of spending the rest of the day indorrs was appealing to say the least. Upon entereing we are greated by palace courtyard which has a big fountain. From here you could see some woden alcoves as well as an intricate decorated door. Some parts of the palace are closed off but we did get to see into a few the Emir’s private apartments. Not much of the original furniture remains, but enough to give you an idea about how they used to live here. The garden has some very tall trees and it’s surprisingly green, despite the scorching heat.
After having lunch we went to the village of Deir al-Qamar. It is a known as the Capital of Emirs. From its palaces, Mount Lebanon was governed from the 16th century until the 18th century. People from all religious backgrounds lived there and the town had a mosque, synagogue and Christian churches. Due to the heat, we didn’t get to wander much though. We walked along the square, saw the mosque and a few typical buildings.
One of the most important historical and religious site in Deir al-Qamar is Our Lady of the Hill known as Saydet El Talle. This Maronite church goes back to the 15th century. Monk Nicolas Smisaati built a church on the site over the ruins of an old Phoenician temple dedicated to the goddess Astarte. It was destroyed by an earthquake in 859 and reconstructed by the Order of the Templars during the Crusades. It was the only building we found to be opened, so we were lucky to get a look inside. All in al it was a great day. I got to see many diferent sides of Lebanon and learn quite a bit of it’s history in the process.0
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