Place:Hasbeya, Lebanon


Alt namesHasbeiyasource: Wikipedia
Located inLebanon

the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

Hasbeya or Hasbeiya is a town in Lebanon, situated about 36 miles to the west of Damascus, at the foot of Mount Hermon, overlooking a deep amphitheatre from which a brook flows to the Hasbani. In 1911, the population was about 5000.

Hasbaya is the capital of the Wadi El Taym, a long fertile valley running parallel to the western foot of Mount Hermon. Watered by the Hasbani river, the low hills of Wadi El Taym are covered with rows of silver-green olive trees, its most important source of income. Villagers also produce honey, grapes, figs, prickly pears, pine nuts and other fruit.

Mount Hermon, 2745 metres high, is a unifying presence throughout the Wadi El Taym. This imposing mountain held great religious significance for the Canaanites and Phoenicians, who called it the seat of the All High. The Romans, recognising it as a holy site, built many temples on its slopes. The Some identify Hasbaya with the Old Testament's "Baal – Hermon," while in the New Testament the mountain is the site of the transfiguration of Jesus.

Hasbaya is mainly inhabited by the Druze, with some Christians. In 1826, an American Protestant mission was established in the town. The castle in Hasbaya was held by the crusaders under Count of Toron, but in 1171 the Emirs of the great Chehab family recaptured it. In 1205 this family was confirmed in the lordship of the town and district, which they held till the Turkish authorities took possession of the castle in the 19th century.

Near Hasbaya were bitumen pits which were worked in antiquity and in the 19th century up to 1914. Production may have peaked at about 500 tons/year. To the north, at the source of the Hasbani, the ground is volcanic. Some travellers have attempted to identify Hasbeya with the biblical Baal-Gad or Baal-Hermon.

The town of Hasbaya is the centre of the Caza and can be reached from Marjeyun across the Hasbani bridge. It is one of the most important and oldest towns of the Mount Hermon area. This mountain peak, also called Jabal al Sheikh, rises east of Hasbaya. The town is watered by a small tributary of the Hasbani River.

Hasbaya is an important historical site, but little of its ancient monuments survive. The oldest standing ruins date to the Crusader period. After the conquest of the area by the Chehabs Emirs in 1173, they fortified the square tower of the Crusader fort and transformed it into a big palace similar to Italian palaces and citadels of the Renaissance. On both sides of its main entrance is the lion, the emblem of the Shehab family. The upper floor has 65 rooms, and the largest is decorated with beautiful wall paintings. The mosque was built in the 13th century and has a beautiful hexagonal minaret.

Hasbaya keeps its traditions alive and its workshops are still producing traditional clothing such as abayas, caftans and turbans.

In the direction of Marjeyun and also part of the Hasbaya Caza (3 km away from the town), there is Souk al Khan, which is located inside a pine forest at the crossing of Hasbaya, Rashaya, Kawkaba and Marjeyun roads

There lies the ruins of an old khan where Ali, son of Fakhreddin Maan, is said to have been killed. In this khan, a popular weekly market held very Tuesday is visited by traders and visitors from all over the area. Near this site flows the Hasbani, a tributary of the Jordan River, which is under Israeli control. On the banks of this river are scattered outdoor restaurants serving delicious Lebanese food and trout

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