The Swiss explorer Johann Ludwig Burckhardt (1784 - 1817) travelled extensively in "Greater Syria" and Arabian Peninsula, spoke Arabic fluently, studied the Quran and Islamic Law, disguised himself as Sheikh Ibrahim Ibn Abdallah and made the pilgrimage to Mecca. He died of dysentery in Egypt.
He published accounts of his life and travels in the region and was credited with discovering Petra in Jordan.
The following is the first chapter in his book " Travels in Syria and the Holy Land" which was published in 1822 but covered his journeys from 1810 to 1816. It is a fairly long chapter so here are a few quotes that give a flavour of it:
"October 6th. - At Zahle I found the Catholic bishop...his parishioners, though they reproach him with a want of fervour in his intercourse with other Christian sects; by which they mean fanatism, which is a striking feature in the character of the Christians not only of the mountain, but also of the principal Syrian towns, and of the open country. This bigotry is not directed so much against the Mohammedans, as against their Christian brethren, whose creed at all differs from their own.
October 10th...we crossed the Bekaa..The Fellahs (peasant cultivators) are ruined by the exorbitant demands of the proprietors of the soil, who are, for the greater part, noble families of Damascus, or of the Druse mountains.
October 15th...There are two roads from Banias to Damascus...I might have safely travelled it alone unarmed, and without a guide. The route through the district of the Houle and Banias, and from thence to Damascus, on the contrary, is very dangerous: the Arabs as well as the Felahs, are often known to attack unprotected strangers, and a small body of men was stripped at Koneitza during my stay at Banias."
This whole fascinating book, which indirectly paints a picture of a region mired in religious bigotry, ignorance, autocratic rule, feudal exploitation and poverty (not much to be proud of really!) can be downloaded in 14 separate HTML files from the University of Adelaide and there is also a short biography on Wikipedia that provides links to his other travel journals.
Journal of a Tour from Damascus in the Countries of the Libanus, and Anti-Libanus.
September 22, 1810. - I LEFT Damascus at four o’clock P.M. with a small caravan destined for Tripoli; passed Salehíe, and beyond it a Kubbe,1 from whence I had, near sun-set, a most beautiful view of the city of Damascus and its surrounding country. From the Kubbe, the road passes along the left side of the valley in which the Barrada runs, over uneven ground, which for the greater part is barren rock. After a ride of two hours and a quarter from Salehíe, we descended to the river’s side, and passed the Djissr2 Dumar; on the other side of which we encamped. It is a well-built bridge, with two arches, at twenty minutes distance from the village Dumar.
September 23. We set off before daylight, crossing the mountains, in one of whose Wadys3 the Barrada winds along; we crossed it repeatedly, and after two hours arrived at the village Eldjdide (ﺓﺩﻳﺩﺟﻟﺍ), built on the declivity of a hill near the source of one of the numerous rivulets that empty themselves into the Barrada. One hour and three quarters further, we descended into the Wady Barrada, near two villages, built on either side of the river, opposite to each other, called Souk Barrada.4 The valley of the Barrada, up to Djissr Barrada, is full of fruit trees; and where its breadth permits, Dhourra and wheat are sown. Half an hour further, is Husseine, a small village in the lower part of the valley. Three-quarters of an hour, El Souk; here the Wady begins to be very narrow. A quarter of an hour beyond, turning round a steep rock, the valley presents a very wild and picturesque aspect. To the left, in the mountain, are six chambers cut in the rock; said to be the work of Christians, to whom the greater part of the ancient structures in Syria are ascribed. The river was not fordable here; and it would have taken me at least two hours to reach, by a circuitous route, the opposite mountains. A little way higher up is the Djissr el Souk, at the termination of the Wady; this bridge was built last year, as appears by an Arabic inscription on the rock near it. From the bridge the road leads up the side of the mountain, and enters, after half an hour’s ride, upon a plain country. The river has a pretty cascade, near which are the remains of a bridge. The above mentioned plain is about three-quarters of an hour in breadth, and three hours in length; it is called Ard Zebdeni, or the district of Zebdeni; it is watered by the Bartada, one of whose sources is in the midst of it; and by the rivulet called Moiet5 Zebdeni (ﻲﻧﻳﺩﺒﺯﻟﺍﺀﺎﻤ), whose source is in the mountain, behind the village of the same name. The latter river, which empties itself into the Barrada, has, besides the source in the Ard Zebdeni, another of an equal size near Fidji, in a side branch of the Wady Barrada, half an hour from the village Husseine. The fall of the river is very rapid. We followed the plain of Zebdeni from one end to the other: it is limited on one side by the eastern part of the Anti-Libanus, called here Djebel Zebdeni. Its cultivable ground is waste till near the village of Beroudj (ﺝﻭﺭﺑ), where I saw plantations of mulberry trees, which seemed to be well taken care of. Half an hour from Beroudj is the village of Zebdeni (ﻲﻧﻳﺩﺑﺰ), and between them the ruined Khan Benduk (the bastard Khan). Zebdeni is a considerable village; its inhabitants breed cattle, and the silk-worm, and have some dyeing houses. I had a letter for the Sheikh of Zebdeni from a Damascene; the Sheikh ordered me an Argile6 and a cup of coffee, but went to supper with his household, without inviting me to join them. This being considered an insult, I left his house and went to sup with the muleteers, with whom I slept upon an open piece of ground before a ruined bath, in the midst of the village. The inhabitants of Zebdeni are three-fourths Turks, and the remainder Greek Catholics; it is a place much frequented by those passing from Damascus to the mountain.
September 24. - Left the village before day-light and crossed the Anti-Libanus, at the foot of which Zebdeni lies. This chain of mountains is, by the inhabitants of the Bekaa and the Belad7 Baalbec, called Djebel8 Essharki (or the eastern mountain), in opposition to Djebel el Gharbi, the western mountain, otherwise called Djebel Libnan (Libanus); but that part of it which lies nearer to Zebdeni than to the great valley, is called Djebel Zebdeni. We travelled for the greater part of the morning upon the mountain. Its rock is primitive calcareous, of a fine grain; upon the highest part I found a sandy slate: on the summit and on the eastern side of this part of the Anti-Libanus there are many spots, affording good pasturage, where a tribe of Turkmans sometimes feed their cattle. It abounds also in short oak trees (ﻥﺎﻳ ﺪﻧﺴ), of which I saw none higher than twelve or fifteen feet. Our road lay N.W. Two hours and a half from Zebdeni we passed a spot with several wells, called Bir9 Anhaur, or Bekai. The western declivity of the mountain, towards the district of Baalbec, is completely barren, without pasture or trees. After five hours and three quarters riding we descended into the plain, near the half-ruined village of El Kanne (ﺔﻧﻗﻠﺍ), and passed the river of El Kanne, whose source is at three hours distance, in the mountain. It empties itself into the Liettani, in the plain, two hours below Kanne. I here left the caravan and took a guide to Zahle, where I meant to stay a few days. Our way lay W.b.N. across the plain; passed the village El Nahrien Haoush Hale, consisting of miserable mud cottages. The plain is almost totally uncultivated. Passed the Liettani (ﻲﻧﺎﻃﻳﻟ) at two hours from El Kanne. Half an hour, on the other side of it, is the village Kerak, at the foot of the Djebel Sannin; it consists of about one hundred and fifty-houses and has some gardens in the plain, which are watered by a branch of the Berdoun, or river of Zahle. Kerak is entirely inhabited by Turks; it belongs to the dominions of the Emir of the Druses, who some years ago took it by force from the Emir of Baalbec. On the southern side of the village is a mosque, and adjoining to it a long building, on the eastern side of which are the ruins of another mosque, with a Kubbe still remaining. The long building contains, under a flat roof, the pretended tomb of Noah (ﺡﻭﻨﻲﻧﺑﺭﺑﻘ); it consists of a tomb-stone above ten feet long, three broad and two high, plastered all over; the direction of its length is S. E. and N.W. The Turks visit the grave, and pretend that Noah is really buried there. At half an hour from Kerak is the town of Zahle (ﺔﻟﺤﺰ), built in an inlet of the mountain, on a steep ascent, surrounded with Kerums (vineyards). The river Berdoun (ﻦﻮﺪﺭﺑ) here issues from a narrow valley into the plain and waters the gardens of Zahle.
September 25th. - Took a walk through the town with Sheikh Hadj Farakh. There are eight or nine hundred houses, which daily increase, by fugitives from the oppressions of the Pashas of Damascus and of the neighbouring petty tyrants. Twenty-five years ago there were only two hundred houses at Zahle: it is now one of the principal towns in the territory of the Emir Beshir. It has its markets, which are supplied from Damascus and Beirout, and are visited by the neighbouring Fellahs, and the Arabs El Naim, and El Harb, and El Faddel, part of whom pass the winter months in the Bekaa, and exchange their butter against articles of dress, and tents, and horse and camel furniture. The inhabitants, who may amount to five thousand, are all Catholic Greeks, with the exception only of four or five Turkish families. The Christians have a bishop, five churches and a monastery, the Turks have no mosque. The town belongs to the territory of the Druses, and is under the authority of the Emir Beshir, but a part of it still belongs to the family of Aamara, whose influence, formerly very great in the Mountain, has lately been so much circumscribed by the Emir, that the latter is now absolute master of the town. The Emir receives the Miri, which is commonly the double of its original assessment (in Belad Baalbec it is the triple), and besides the Miri, he makes occasional demands upon the town at large. They had paid him forty-five purses a few weeks before my arrival. So far the Emir Beshir’s government resembles perfectly that of the Osmanlys in the eastern part of Syria: but there is one great advantage which the people enjoy under his command - an almost complete exemption from all personal exactions, and the impartiality of justice, which is dealt out in the same manner to the Christian and to the Turk. It is curious, that the peace of so numerous a body should be maintained without any legal power whatsoever. There is neither Sheikh nor governor in the town; disputes are settled by the friends of the respective parties, or if the latter are obstinate, the decision is referred to the tribunal of the Emir Beshir, at Deir el Kammar. The inhabitants, though not rich, are, in general, in independent circumstances; each family occupies one, or at most two rooms. The houses are built of mud; the roofs are supported by one or two wooden posts in the midst of the principal room, over which beams of pine-wood are laid across each other; upon these are branches of oak trees, and then the earth, which farms the flat terrace of the house. In winter the deep snow would soon break through these feeble roofs, did not the inhabitants take care, every morning, to remove the snow that may have fallen during the night. The people gain their subsistence, partly by the cultivation of their vineyards and a few mulberry plantations, or of their fields in the Bekaa, and partly by their shops, by the commerce in Kourdine sheep, and their manufactures. Almost every family weaves cotton cloth, which is used as shirts by the inhabitants and Arabs, and when dyed blue, as Kombazes, or gowns, by the men. There are more than twenty dyeing houses in Zahle, in which indigo only is employed. The Pike10 of the best of this cotton cloth, a Pike and a half broad, costs fifty paras, (above 1s. 6d. English). The cotton is brought from Belad Safad and Nablous. They likewise fabricate Abbayes, or woollen mantles. There are above one hundred horsemen in the town. In June 1810, when the Emir Beshir joined with his corps the army of Soleiman Pasha, to depose Youssef Pasha, he took from Zahle 400 men, armed with firelocks.
On the west side of the town, in the bottom of the Wady, lies the monastery of Mar Elias, inhabited by a prior and twenty monks. It has extensive grape and mulberry plantations, and on the river side a well cultivated garden, the products of which are sold to the town’s people. The prior received me with great arrogance, because I did not stoop to kiss his hands, a mark of respect which the ecclesiastics of this country are accustomed to receive. The river of Zahle, or Berdoun, forms the frontier of the Bekaa, which it separates from the territory belonging to the Emir of Baalbec, called Belad Baalbec; so that whatever is northward from the bridge of the Berdoun, situated in the valley, a quarter of an hour below Zahle, belongs to Belad Baalbec; and whatever is south- ward, to the Bekaa. Since Soleiman Pasha has governed Damascus, the authority of the Emir Beshir has been in some measure extended over the Bekaa, but I could not inform myself of the distinct laws by which it had been regulated. The Pashas of Damascus, and the Emir Beshirs, have for many years been in continual dispute about their rights over the villages of the Bekaa. Following up the Berdoun into the Mountain, are the villages of Atein, Heraike, and another in the vicinity of Zahle.
September 26. - On the night of the 25th to the 26th, was the Aid Essalib, or feast of the Cross, the approach of which was celebrated by repeated discharges of musquets and the lighting of numerous fires, which illuminated all the mountains around the town and the most conspicuous parts of the town itself.
I rode to Andjar (ﺮﺟﻧﻋ), on the eastern side of the Bekaa, in a direction south-east by south, two hours and a half good walking from Zahle. I found several encampments of the Arabs Naim and Faddel in the plain. In one hour and a quarter, passed the Liettani, near an ancient arched bridge; it had very little water: not the sixth part of the plain is cultivated here. The place called Andjar lies near the Anti-Libanus, and consists of a ruined town-wall, inclosing an oblong square of half an hour in circumference; the greater part of the wall is in ruins. It was originally about twelve feet thick, and constructed with small unhewn stones, loosely cemented and covered by larger square stones, equally ill cemented. In the enclosed space are the ruins of habitations, of which the foundations alone remain. In one of these buildings are seen the remains of two columns of white marble, one foot and a quarter in diameter. The whole seems to have been constructed in modern times. Following the Mountain to the southward of these ruins, for twenty minutes, I came to the place where the Moiet Andjar, or river of Andjar, has its source in several springs. This river had, when I saw it, more than triple the volume of water of the Liettani; but though it joins the latter in the Bekaa, near Djissr Temnin, the united stream retains the name Liettani. There are remains of ancient well-built walls round all the springs which constitute the source of the Andjar; one of the springs, in particular, which forms a small but very deep basin, has been lined to the bottom with large stones, and the wall round it has been constructed with large square stones, which have no traces of ever having been cemented together. In the wall of a mill, which has been built very near these springs, I saw a sculptured architrave. These remains appear to be much more ancient than those of Andjar, and are perhaps coeval with the buildings at Baalbec. I was told, by the people of the mill, that the water of the larger spring, in summer time, stops at certain periods and resumes its issue from under the rock, eight or ten times in a day. Further up in the mountain, above the spring, is a large cavern where the people sometimes collect saltpetre; but it is more abundant in a cavern still higher in the mountain.
Following the road northward on the chain of the Anti-Libanus, half an hour from these springs, I met with another copious spring; and a little higher, a third; one hour further, is a fourth, which I did not visit. Near the two former are traces of ancient walls. The waters of all these sources join in Moiet Andjar, and they are all comprised under the appellation of the Springs of Moiet Andjar (ﺭﺟﻧﻋ ﺀﺎﻤ ﻉﻭﺑﻨ). They are partly covered with rushes, and are much frequented by water fowls, and wild boars also resort to them in great numbers.
September 27th. - Being disappointed in my object of proceeding to Baalbec, I passed the day in the shop of one of the petty merchants of Zahle, and afterwards supped with him. The sales of the merchants are for the greater part upon credit; even those to the Arabs for the most trifling sums. The common interest of money is 30 per cent.
September 28th. - Set out in the afternoon for Baalbec, with a native of that place, who had been established with his family at Zahle, for several years. Passed the villages of Kerak, Abla, Temnin, Beit [ Shaeme, Haoush el Rafka, Tel Hezin, and arrived, after seven hours, at Baalbec.11
The territory of Baalbec extends, as I have before mentioned, down to the Bekaa. On the eastern side it comprises the mountain of the Anti-Libanus, or Djebel Essharki, up to its top; and on the western side, the Libanus likewise, as far as its summits. In the plain it reaches as far as El Kaa, twelve hours from Baalbec and fourteen hours from Homs, where the Anti-Libanus terminates, and where the valley between the two mountains widens considerably, because the Anti-Libanus there takes a more eastern direction. This district is abundantly watered by rivulets; almost every village has its spring, all of which descend into the valley, where most of them lose themselves, or join the Liettani, whose source is between Zahle and Baalbec, about two hours from the latter place, near a hill called Tel Hushben. The earth is extremely fertile, but is still less cultivated than in the Bekaa. Even so late as twelve years ago, the plain, and a part of the mountain, to the distance of a league and a half round the town, were covered with grape plantations; the oppressions of the governors, their superior flavour, are obliged to import them from Fursul and Zahle. The government of Baalbec has been for many years in the hands of the family of Harfush, the head family of the Metaweli of Syria.12 In later times, two brothers, Djahdjah and Sultan, have disputed with each other the possession of the government; more than fifteen individuals of their own family have perished in these contests, and they have dispossessed each other by turns, according to the degree of friendship or enmity which the Pashas of Damascus bore to the one or the other. During the reign of Youssef Pasha, Sultan was Emir; as soon as Soleiman was in possession of Damascus, Sultan was obliged to fly, and in August, 1810, his brother Djahdjah returned to his seat, which he had already once occupied. He pays a certain annual sum to the Pasha, and extorts double its amount from the peasant. The Emir Beshir has, since the reign of Soleiman Pasha, likewise acquired a certain influence over Baalbec, and is now entitled to the yearly sum of fifteen purses from this district. The Emir Djahdjah resides at Baalbec, and keeps there about 200 Metaweli horsemen, whom he equips and feeds out of his own purse. He is well remembered by several Europeans, especially English travellers, for his rapacity , and inhospitable behaviour.
The first object which strikes the traveller arriving from the Bekaa, is a temple13 in the plain, about half an hour’s walk from the town, which has received from the natives the appellation of Kubbet Duris. Volney has not described this temple. It is an octagon building supported by eight beautiful granite columns, which are all standing. They are of an order resembling the Doric; the capitals project very little over the shaft, which has no base. Over every two pillars lies one large stone, forming the architrave, over which the cornice is still visible, very little adorned with sculpture. The roof has fallen in. On the N.W. side, between two of the columns, is an insulated niche, of calcareous stone, projecting somewhat beyond the circumference of the octagon, and rising to about two feet below the roof. The granite of the columns is particularly beautiful, the feldspath and quartz being mixed with the hornblende in large masses. The red feldspath predominates. One of the columns is distinguished from the rest by its green quartz. We could not find any traces of inscriptions.
September 29th. - I took lodgings in a small room belonging to the catholic priest, who superintends a parish of twenty-five Christian families. This being near the great temple, I hastened to it in the morning, before any body was apprised of my arrival.
The work of Wood, who accompanied Dawkins to Baalbec in 1751, and the subsequent account of the place given by Volney, who visited Baalbec in 1784, render it unnecessary for me to enter into any description of these ruins. I shall only observe that Volney is incorrect in describing the rock of which the buildings are constructed as granite; it is of the primitive calcareous kind, but harder than the stone of Tedmor. There are, however, many remains of granite columns in different parts of the building.
I observed no Greek inscriptions; there were some few in Latin and in Arabic; and I copied the following Cufic inscription on the side of a stair-case, leading down into some subterranean chambers below the small temple, which the Emir has walled up to prevent a search for hidden treasures.
Having seen, a few months before, the ruins of Tedmor, a comparison between these two renowned remains of antiquity naturally offered itself to my mind. The entire view of the ruins of Palmyra, when seen at a certain distance, is infinitely more striking than those of Baalbec, but there is not any one spot in the ruins of Tedmor so imposing as the interior view of the temple of Baalbec. The temple of the Sun at Tedmor is upon a grander scale than that of Baalbec, but it is choked up with Arab houses, which admit only of a view of the building in detail. The architecture of Baalbec is richer than that of Tedmor.
The walls of the ancient city may still be traced, and include a larger space than the present town ever occupied, even in its most flourishing state. Its circuit may be between three and four miles. On the E. and N. sides the gates of the modern town, formed in the ancient wall, still remain entire, especially the northern gate; it is a narrow arch, and comparatively very small. I suppose it to be of Saracen origin.
The women of Baalbec are esteemed the handsomest of the neighbouring country, and many Damascenes marry Baalbec girls. The air of Belad Baalbec and the Bekaa, however, is far from being healthy. The chain of the Libanus interrupts the course of the westerly winds, which are regular in Syria during the summer months; and the want of these winds renders the climate extremely hot and oppressive.
September 30th. - I again visited the ruins this morning. The Emir had been apprised of my arrival by his secretary, to whom I had a letter of recommendation. He sent the secretary to ask whether I had any presents for him; I answered in the negative, but delivered to him a letter, which the Jew bankers of the Pasha of Damascus had given me for him; these Jews being men of great influence. He contented himself with replying that as I had no presents for him, it was not necessary that I should pay him my respects; but he left me undisturbed in my pursuits, which was all I wanted.
Near a well, on the S. side of the town, between the temple and the mountain, I found upon a stone the following inscription;
C. CASSIVS ARRIANVS
OCO SVO VIVVS
In the afternoon I made a tour in the invirons of Baalbec. At the foot of the Anti-Libanus, a quarter of an hour’s walk from the town, to the south is a quarry, where the places are still visible from whence several of the large stones in the south wall of the castle were extracted; one large block is yet remaining, cut on three sides, ready to be transported to the building, but it must be done by other hands than those of the Metaweli. Two other blocks, cut in like manner, are standing upright at a little distance from each other; and near them, in the rock, are two small excavated tombs, with three niches in each, for the dead, in a style of workmanship similar to what I saw to the north of Aleppo, in the Turkman mountains towards Deir Samaan. In the hills, to the S.W. of the town, just behind this quarry, are several tombs, excavated in the rock, like the former, but of larger dimensions. In following the quarry towards the village of Duris, numerous natural caverns are met with in the calcareous rocks; I entered more than a dozen of them, but found no traces of art, except a few seats or steps rudely cut out. These caverns serve at present as winter habitations for the Arabs who pasture their cattle in this district. The principal quarry was a full half hour to the southward of the town.
The mountains above Baalbec are quite uncultivated and barren, except at the Ras el Ain, or sources of the river of Baalbec, where a few trees only remain. This is a delightful place, and is famous amongst the inhabitants of the adjoining districts for the salubrity of its air and water. Near the Ain, are the ruins of a church and mosque.
The ruined town of Baalbec contains about seventy Metaweli families, and twenty-five of Catholic Christians. Amidst its ruins are two handsome mosques, and a fine bath. The Emir lives in a spacious building called the Serai. The inhabitants fabricate white cotton cloth like that of Zahle; they have some dyeing houses, and had, till within a few years, some tanneries. The men are the artizans here, and not the women. The property of the people consists chiefly of cows, of which every house has ten or fifteen, besides goats and sheep. The goats are of a species not common in other parts of Syria; they have very long ears, large horns, and long hair, but not silky like that of the goats of Anatolia. The breed of Baalbec mules is much esteemed, and I have seen some of them worth on the spot £30 to £35. sterling.
October 1st. - After having again visited the ruins, I engaged a man in the forenoon, to shew me the way to the source of the rivulet called Djoush (ﺶﻭﺠ). It is in a Wady in the Anti-Libanus, three quarters of an hour distant from Baalbec. The rivulet was very small, owing to the remarkable dryness of the season, and was lost in the Wady before it reached the plain; at other times it flows down to Baalbec and joins the river, which, after irrigating the gardens and fields round the town, loses itself in the plain. A little higher in the mountain than the spot where the water of the Djoush first issues from the spring, is a small perpendicular hole, through which I descended, not without some danger, about sixteen feet, into an aqueduct which conveys the water of the Djoush underground for upwards of one hundred paces. This aqueduct is six feet high and three feet and a half wide, vaulted above, and covered with a thick coat of plaister; it is in perfect preservation; the water in it was about ten inches deep. In following up this aqueduct I came to a vaulted chamber about ten feet square, built with large hewn stones, into which the water falls through another walled passage, but which I did not enter, being afraid that the water falling on all sides might extinguish the only candle that I had with me. Below this upper passage, another dark one is visible through the water as it falls down. The aqueduct continues beyond the hole through which I descended, as far as the spot where the water issues from under the earth. Above ground, at a small distance from the spring, and open towards it, is a vaulted room, built in the rock, now half filled with stones and rubbish.
From Djoush we crossed the northern mountain of the valley, and came to Wady Nahle, near the village of Nahle, situated at the foot of the mountain, and one hour and a half E.b.N. from Baalbec. There is nothing remarkable in the village, except the ruins of an ancient building, consisting at present of the foundations only, which are strongly built; it appeared to me to be of the same epoch as the ruins of Baalbec. The rivulet named Nahle rises at one hour’s distance, in a narrow Wady in the mountain. The neighbourhood of Baalbec abounds in walnut trees; the nuts are exported to Zahle and the mountains, at two or two and a half piastres per thousand.
In the evening we left Baalbec, and began to cross the plain in the direction of the highest summit of Mount Libanus. We passed the village of Yeid on the left, and a little farther on, an encampment of Turkmans. During the winter, the territory of Baalbec is visited by a tribe of Turkmans called Suedie, by the Hadidein Akeidat, the Arabs Abid, whose principal seat is near Hamil, between El Kaa and Homs; and the Arabs Harb. The Suedie Turkmans remain the whole year in this district, and in the valleys of the Anti-Libanus. All these tribes pay tribute to the Emir of Baalbec, at the rate of twelve or fifteen pounds of butter for each tent, for the summer pasture. At the end of three hours march we alighted at the village Deir el Akhmar, two hours after sunset. This village stands just at the foot of the mountain; it was at this time deserted, its inhabitants having quitted it a few weeks before to escape the extortions of Djahdjah, and retired to Bshirrai. In one of the abandoned houses we found a shepherd who tended a flock belonging to the Emir; he treated us with some milk, and made a large fire, round which we lay down, and slept till day-break.
October 2d. – The tobacco of Deir el Akhmar is the finest in Syria. There is no water in the village, but at twenty minutes from it, towards the plain, is a copious well. After ascending the mountain for three hours and a half, we reached the village Ainnete: thus far the mountain is covered with low oak trees (the round-leaved, and common English kinds), and has but few steep passages. Nearly one hour from Ainnete begins a more level country, which divides the Upper from the Lower Libanus. This part was once well cultivated, but the Metaweli having driven the people to despair, the village is in consequence deserted and in ruins. A few fields are still cultivated by the inhabitants of Deir Eliaout and Btedai, who sow their seed in the autumn, and in the spring return, build a few huts, and watch the growing crop. The walnut tree abounds here.
There are three springs at Ainnete, one of which was dried up; another falls over the rock in a pretty cascade; they unite in a Wady which runs parallel with the upper mountain as far as the lake Liemoun, two hours west of Ainnete; at this time the lake was nearly dry, an extraordinary circumstance; I saw its bed a little higher up than Ainnete.
From Ainnete the ascent of the mountain is steep, and the vegetation is scanty; though it reaches to the summit. A few oaks and shrubs grow amongst the rocks. The road is practicable for loaded mules, and my horse ascended without difficulty. The honey of Ainnete, and of the whole of Libanus, is of a superior quality.
At the end of two hours and a half from Ainnete we reached the summit, from whence I enjoyed a magnificent view over the Bekaa, the Anti-Libanus, and Djebel Essheikh, on one side, and the sea, the sea shore near Tripoli, and the deep valley of Kadisha on the other. We were not quite upon the highest summit, which lay half an hour to the right. Baalbec bore from hence S. by E, and the summit of Djebel Essheikh S. by W. The whole of the rock is calcareous, and the surface towards the top is so splintered by the action of the atmosphere, as to have the appearance of layers of slates. Midway from Ainnete I found a small petrified shell, and on breaking a stone which I picked up on the summit, I discovered another similar petrifaction within it.
I left my guide on the small plain, and proceeded to the right towards the Cedars, which are visible from the top of the mountain, standing half an hour from the direct line of the route to Bshirrai, at the foot of the steep declivities of the higher division of the mountain. They stand on uneven ground, and form a small wood. Of the oldest and best looking trees, I counted eleven or twelve; twenty-five very large ones; about fifty of middling size; and more than three hundred smaller and young ones. The oldest trees are distinguished by having the foliage and small branches at the top only, and by four, five, or even seven trunks springing from one base; the branches and foliage of the others were lower, but I saw none whose leaves touched the ground, like those in Kew Gardens. The trunks of the old trees are covered with the names of travellers and other persons, who have visited them: I saw a date of the seventeenth century. The trunks of the oldest trees seem to be quite dead; the wood is of a gray lint; I took off a piece of one of them; but it was afterwards stolen, together with several specimens of minerals, which I sent from Zahle to Damascus.
At an hour and a quarter from the Cedars, and considerably below them, on the edge of a rocky descent, lies the village of Bshirrai, on the right bank of the river Kadisha (ﺎﺷﻳﺪﺎﻘ).
October 3d. - Bshirrai consists of about one hundred and twenty houses. Its inhabitants are all Maronites, and have seven churches. At half an hour from the village is the Carmelite convent of Deir Serkis (St. Sergius,) inhabited at present by a single monk, a very worthy old man, a native of Tuscany, who has been a missionary to Egypt, India, and Persia.
Nothing can be more striking than a comparison of the fertile but uncultivated districts of Bekaa and Baalbec, with the rocky mountains, in the opposite direction, where, notwithstanding that nature seems to afford nothing for the sustenance of the inhabitants, numerous villages flourish, and every inch of ground is cultivated. Bshirrai is surrounded with fruit trees, mulberry plantations, vineyards, fields of Dhourra, and other corn, though there is scarcely a natural plain twenty feet square. The inhabitants with great industry build terraces to level the ground and prevent the earth from being swept down by the winter rains, and at the same time to retain the water requisite for the irrigation of their crops. Water is very abundant, as streams from numerous springs descend on every side into the Kadisha, whose source is two hours distant from Bshirrai, in the direction of the mountain from whence I came.
Bshirrai belongs to the district of Tripoli, but is at present, with the whole of the mountains, in the hands of the Emir Beshir, or chief of the Druses. The inhabitants of the village rear the silk-worm, have excellent plantations of tobacco, and a few manufactories of cotton stuffs used by the mountaineers as shawls for girdles. Forty years ago the village was in the hands of the Metaweli, who were driven out by the Maronites.
In the morning I went to Kanobin; after walking for two hours and a half over the upper plain, I descended the precipitous side of a collateral branch of the valley Kadisha, and continued my way to the convent, which I reached in two hours and a half. It is built on a steep precipice on the right of the valley, at half an hour’s walk from the river, and appears as if suspended in the air, being supported by a high wall, built against the side of the mountain. There is a spring close to it. The church, which is excavated in the rock, and dedicated to the Virgin, is decorated with the portraits of a great number of patriarchs. During the winter, the peasants suspend their silk-worms in bags, to the portrait of some favourite saint, and implore his influence for a plenteous harvest of silk; from this custom the convent derives a considerable income.
Kanobin is the seat of the patriarch of the Maronites, who is at the head of twelve Maronite bishops, and here in former times he generally passed the summer months, retiring in the winter to Mar Hanna; but the vexations and insults which the patriarchs were exposed to from the Metaweli, in their excursions to and from Baalbec, induced them for many years to abandon this residence. The present patriarch is the first who for a long time has resided in Kanobin. Though I had no letter of introduction to him, and was in the dress of a peasant, he invited me to dinner, and I met at his table his secretary, Bishop Stefano, who has been educated at Rome, and has some notions of Europe. While I was there, a rude peasant was ordained a priest. Kanobin had once a considerable library; but it has been gradually dispersed; and not a vestige of it now remains. The cells of the monks are, for the most part, in ruins.
Three hours distant from Kanobin, at the convent Kashheya, which is near the village Ehden, is a printing office, where prayer-books in the Syriac language are printed. This language is known and spoken by many Maronites, and in this district the greater part of them write Arabic in the Syriac characters. The names of the owners of the silk-worms were all written in this character in different hands, upon the bags suspended in the church.
I returned to Bshirrai by an easier road than that which I had travelled in the morning; at the end of three quarters of an hour I regained the upper plain, from whence I proceeded for two hours by a gentle ascent, through fields and orchards, up to the village. The potatoe succeeds here very well; a crop was growing in the garden of the Carmelite convent; it has also been cultivated for some time past in Kesrouan. In the mountains about Kanobin tigers are said to be frequently met with; I suppose ounces are meant.
October 4th. - I departed from Bshirrai with the intention of returning to Zahle over the higher range of the Libanus. We crossed the Kadisha, at a short distance from Bishirrai, above the place where it falls over the precipice: at one hour distant from Bshirrai, and opposite to it, we passed the village of Hosrun. The same cultivation prevails here as in the vicinity of Bshirrai; mulberry and walnut trees, and vines, are the chief productions. From Hosrun we continued our way along the foot of the highest barren part of Libanus. About two hours from its summit, the mountain affords pasturage, and is capable of cultivation, from the numerous springs which are everywhere met with. During the greater part of this day’s journey I had a fine view of the sea shore between Tartous and Tripoli, and from thence downwards towards Jebail.
At three hours and a half from Hosrun, still following the foot of the upper chain of the Libanus, we entered the district of Tanurin (Ard Tanurin), so called from a village situated below in a valley. The spots in the mountain, proper for cultivation, are sown by the inhabitants of Tanurin; such as afford pasture only are visited by the Arabs El Haib. I was astonished at seeing so high in the mountain, numerous camels and Arab huts. These Arabs pass the winter months on the sea shore about Tripoli, Jebail, and Tartous. Though like the Bedouins, they have no fixed habitations, their features are not of the true Bedouin cast, and their dialect, though different from that of the peasants, is not a pure Bedouin dialect. They are tributary to the Turkish governors, and at peace with all the country people; but they have the character of having a great propensity to thieving. Their property, besides camels, consists in horses, cows, sheep, and goats. Their chief is Khuder el Ajssy (ﻲﺳﻳﻌﻟﺍ ﺭﺿﺧ).
On leaving the district of Tanurin, I entered Ard Laklouk (ﻖﻭﻟﻗﻠ ﺾﺮﺍ), which I cannot describe better, than by comparing it to one of the pasturages in the Alps. It is covered with grass, and its numerous springs, together with the heavy dews which fall during the summer months, have produced a verdure of a deeper tint than any I saw in the other parts of Syria which I visited. The Arabs El Haib come up hither also, and wander about the district for five months in the year; some of them even remain here the whole year; except that in winter they descend from the pastures, and pitch their tents round the villages of Tanurin and Akoura, which are situated in a valley, sheltered on every side by the perpendicular sides of the Upper Libanus. At Tanurin and Laklouk the winter corn was already above ground. The people water the fields for three or four days before they sow the seed.
Akoura has a bad name amongst the people of this country; its inhabitants, who are all Greek Catholics, are accused of avarice, and inhospitality. The mountaineers, when upon a journey, never think of spending a para, for their eating, drinking, or lodging. On arriving in the evening at a village, they alight at the house of some acquaintance, if they have any, which is generally the case, and say to the owner, “I am your guest,” Djay deyfak (ﻙﻔﻳﻀ ﻱﺎﺠ). The host gives the traveller a supper, consisting of milk, bread, and Borgul, and if rich and liberal, feeds his mule or mare also. When the traveller has no acquaintance in the village, he alights at any house he pleases, ties up his beast, and smokes his pipe till he receives a welcome from the master of the house, who makes it a point of honour to receive him as a friend, and to give him a supper. In the morning he departs with a simple “Good bye.” Such is the general custom in these parts; the inhabitants of Akoura, however, are noted for refusing to receive travellers, to whom they will neither give a supper, nor sell them provision for ready money; the consequence of which conduct is, that the Akourans, when travelling about, are obliged to conceal their origin, in order to obtain food on the road. My guide had a friend at Akoura, but he happened to be absent; we therefore alighted at another house, where we obtained with much difficulty a little barley for our horses; and we should have gone supperless to rest, had I not repaired to the Sheikh, and made him believe I was a Kourdine (my dress being somewhat like that of the Kourds) in the service of the Pasha of Damascus, on my way to the Emir Beshir. As I spoke with confidence, the Sheikh became alarmed, and sent us a few loaves of bread, and some cheese; on my return, I found my guide in the midst of a large assembly of people, abusing them for their meanness.
The property of the inhabitants of this village consists of cows and other cattle, silkworms, and plantations of olive trees.
At Akoura Djebel Libnan terminates; and farther down towards Zahle and the Bekaa, the mountain is called Djebel Sannin (ﻥﻳﻧﺼ ﻝﺑﺠ). The Libanus is here more barren and wild than further to the north. The rocks are all in perfectly horizontal layers, some of which are thirty to forty yards in thickness, while others are only a few yards.
October 5th. - We left the inhospitable Akoura before day light, and reached, after one hour and three quarters, a village called Afka, situated in the bottom of a valley, near a spring, whose waters join those of Wady Akoura, and flow down towards Jebail.
The name Afka is found in the ancient geography of Syria. At Aphaca, according to Zosimus, was a temple of Venus, where the handsomest girls of Syria sacrificed to the goddess: it was situated near a small lake, between Heliopolis and the sea coast.14 The lake Liemoun is at three hours distance from Afka. I could not hear of any remains of antiquity near Afka. All the inhabitants are Metaweli, under the government of Jebail. Near it, towards Jebail, are the Metaweli villages of Mghaiere, Meneitere, and Laese.
From Afka the road leads up a steep Wady. At half an hour from it is the spring called Ain Bahr; three quarters of an hour beyond it is a high level country, still on the western side of the summit of the mountain. This district is called Watty el Bordj (ﺝﺭﺑﻟﺍ ﻲﻁﻮ), from a small ruined tower. It is three or four hours in length, and two in breadth. In the spring the Arabs Abid, Turkmans, and Kourdines, here pasture their cattle. These Kourdines bring annually into Syria from twenty to thirty thousand sheep, from the mountains of Kourdistan; the greater part of which are consumed by Aleppo, Damascus, and the mountains, as Syria does not produce a sufficient number for its inhabitants. The Kourd sheep are larger than those of Syria, but their flesh is less esteemed. The Kourd sheep-dealers first visit with their flocks Aleppo, then Hama, Homs, and Baalbec; and what they do not sell on the road, they bring to pasture at Watty el Bordj, whither the people of Zahle, Deir el Kammar, and other towns in the mountains repair, and buy up thousands of them, which they afterwards sell in retail to the peasants of the mountains. They buy them for ready money at twenty to thirty piastres a head, and sell them two months afterwards at thirty to forty. The mountaineers of the Druse and Maronite districts breed very few sheep, and very seldom eat animal food. On the approach of their respective great festivals, (Christmas with the Maronites, and Ramadan with the Druses) each head of a family kills one or two sheep; during the rest of the year, he feeds his people on Borgul, with occasionally some old cow’s, or goat’s flesh. It is only in the largest of the mountain towns of the Druses and Maronites that flesh is brought daily to market.
There are no springs or water in the Watty el Bordj; but the melting of the snow in the spring affords drink for men and cattle, and snow water is often found during the greater part of the summer in some funnel-shaped holes formed in the ground by the snow. At the time I passed no water was any where to be found. In many places the snow remains throughout the year; but this year none was left, not even on the summits of the mountain, except in a few spots on the northern declivity of the Libanus towards the district of Akkar. Watty el Bordj affords excellent pasturage; in many spots it is overgrown with trees, mostly oaks, and the barbery is also very frequent. We started partridges at every step. Our route lay generally S.W. by S.
Four hours from Ain Bahr, we entered the mountain, a part of which is considered to belong to Kesrouan. It is completely stony and rocky, and I found some calcareous spath. I shall here remark that the whole of the mountain from Zahle to Belad Akkar is by the country people comprehended under the general name of Djurd Baalbec, Djurd meaning, in the northern Arabic dialect, a rocky mountain.
Crossing this part of the mountain Sannin for two hours, we came to a spring called Ain Naena, from whence another road leads down north-eastwards, into the territory of Baalbec. This route is much frequented by the people of Kesrouan, who bring this way the iron ore of Shouair, to the Mesbek or smelting furnaces at Nebae el Mauradj, two hours from hence to the north-east, Shouair, which is at least ten hours distance, affording no fuel for smelting. The iron ore is carried upon mules and asses, one day’s journey and a half to the Mesbek, where the mountain abounds in oak. From Aine Naena we gradually descended, and in three hours reached Zahle.
October 6th. - At Zahle I found the Catholic bishop, who was absent on his episcopal tour during my first visit to this place. He is distinguished from his countrymen by the politeness of his manners, the liberality of his sentiments, his general information, and his desire of knowledge, though at a very advanced age. I had letters for him; and he recommended himself particularly to me by being the friend of Mr. Browne, the African traveller, who had lived with him a fortnight, and had visited Baalbec in his company. His diocese comprises the whole Christian community in the Bekaa, and the adjoining villages of the mountain. He is, with five other bishops, under the orders of the Patriarch at Mekhalis, and there are, besides, seven monasteries under this diocese in Syria. The Bishop’s revenue arises from a yearly personal tax of half a piastre upon all the male adults in his diocese. He lives in a truly patriarchal manner, dressing in a simple black gown, and black Abbaye, and carries in his hand a long oaken stick, as an episcopal staff. He is adored by his parishioners, though they reproach him with a want of fervour in his intercourse with other Christian sects; by which they mean fanatism, which is a striking feature in the character of the Christians not only of the mountain, but also of the principal Syrian towns, and of the open country. This bigotry is not directed so much against the Mohammedans, as against their Christian brethren, whose creed at all differs from their own.
It need hardly be mentioned here, that many of those sects which tore Europe to pieces in the earlier ages of Christianity, still exist in these countries: Greeks, Catholics, Maronites, Syriacs, Chaldeans, and Jacobites, all have their respective parishes and churches. Unable to effect any thing against the religion of their haughty rulers the Turks, they turn the only weapons they possess, scandal and intrigue, with fury against each other, and each sect is mad enough to believe that its church would flourish on the ruins of those of their heretic brethren. The principal hatred subsists between the Catholics and the Greeks; of the latter, many thousands have been converted to Catholicism, so that in the northern parts of Syria all Catholics, the Maronites excepted, were formerly of the Greek church: this is the case in Aleppo, Damascus, and in all the intermediate country; communities of original Latin Christians being found only around Jerusalem and Nablous. The Greeks of course see with indignation the proselytism of their brethren, which is daily gaining ground, and avenge themselves upon the apostates with the most furious hatred. Nor are the Greek and original Latin Christians backward in cherishing similar feelings; and scenes most disgraceful to Christianity are frequently the consequence. In those parts where no Greeks live, as in the mountains of Libanus, the different sects of Catholics turn their hatred against each other, and the Maronites fight with the converted Greek Catholics, or the Latins, as they do at Aleppo with the followers of the Greek church. This system of intolerance, at which the Turkish governors smile, because they are constantly gainers by it, is carried so far that, in many places, the passing Catholic is obliged to practise the Greek rites, in order to escape the effects of the fanatism of the inhabitants. On my way from Zahle to Banias, we stopped one night at Hasbeya and another at Rasheya el Fukhar; at both of which places my guide went to the Greek church, and prayed according to its forms; in passing through Zahle, as he informed me, the Greeks found it equally necessary to conform with the rites of the Latin Catholics. The intrigues carried on at Jerusalem between the Greek and Latin monks contribute to increase these disputes, which would have long ago led to a Christian civil war in these countries, did not the iron rod of the Turkish government repress their religious fury.
The vineyards are estimated at the exact number of vines they contain, and each vine, if of good quality, is worth one piastre. The Miri or land tax of every hundred (ﺔﻳﻟﺍﺪ) vines is ten paras. For many years past a double Miri has been levied upon Zahle.
October 7th. – Remained at Zahle, and enjoyed the instructive conversation of the Bishop Basilios.
October 8th. - I went to see the ruined temple called Heusn Nieha, two hours from Zahle, in the Djebel Sannin, and half an hour from the village of Fursul. These remains stand in a Wady, surrounded by barren rocks, having a spring near them to the eastward. The temple faced the west. A grand flight of steps, twelve paces broad, with a column three feet and a half in diameter at each end of the lower step, formed the approach to a spacious pronaos, in which are remains of columns: here a door six paces in width opens into the cella, the fallen roof of which now covers the floor, and the side walls to half their original height only remain. This chamber is thirty-five paces in length by fifteen in breadth. On each of the side walls stood six pilasters of a bad Ionic order. At the extremity of the chamber are steps leading to a platform, where the statue of the deity may, perhaps, have stood: the whole space is here filled up with fragments of columns and walls. The square stones used in the construction of the walls are in general about four or five cubic feet each, but I saw some twelve feet long, four feet high, and four feet in breadth. On the right side of the entrance door is a staircase in the wall, leading to the top of the building, and much resembling in its mode of construction the staircase in the principal temple of Baalbec. The remains of the capitals of columns betray a very corrupt taste, being badly sculptured, and without any elegance either in design or execution; and the temple seems to have been built in the latest times of paganism, and was perhaps subsequently repaired, and converted into a church. The stone with which it has been built is more decayed than that in the ruins at Baalbec, being here more exposed to the inclemency of the weather. No inscriptions were any where visible. Around the temple are some ruins of ancient and others of more modern habitations.
Above Fursul is a plain called Habis, in which are a number of grottos excavated in the rock, apparently tombs; but I did not visit them.
October 10th. - I set out for Hasbeya, accompanied by the same guide with whom I had made the mountain tour. We crossed the Bekaa nearly in the direction of Andjar.15 The generality of the inhabitants of the Bekaa are Turks; one fifth, perhaps, are Catholic Christians. There are no Metaweli. The land is somewhat better cultivated than that of Belad Baalbec, but still five-sixths of the soil is left in pasture for the Arabs. The Fellahs (peasant cultivators) are ruined by the exorbitant demands of the proprietors of the soil, who are, for the greater part, noble families of Damascus, or of the Druse mountains. The usual produce of the harvest is tenfold, and in fruitful years it is often twenty fold.
After two hours and three quarters brisk walking of our horses, we passed Medjdel to our right, near which, on the road, lies a piece of a large column of acalcareous and flinty breccia. Half an hour beyond Medjdel, we reached a spring called Ain Essouire. Above it in the hills which branch out of the Anti-Libanus, or Djurd Essharki, into the Bekaa, is the village Nebi Israi, and to the left, in the Anti-Libanus, is the Druse village of Souire. A little farther on we passed Hamara, a village on the Anti-Libanus. At one hour from Ain Essouire, is Sultan Yakoub, with the tomb of a saint, a place of holy resort of the Turks. Below it lies the Ain Sultan Yakoub. Half an hour farther is Nebae el Feludj, a spring. Our road lay S. by W. At the end of three hours and a half from Ain Essouire, we reached the village El Embeite, on the top of a hill, opposite to Djebel Essheikh. The route to this place, from Medjdel, lay through a valley of the Anti-Libanus, which, farther on, towards El Heimte, loses itself in the mountains comprised under the name of Djebel Essheikh. The summit of this mountain, which bears west from Damascus, is probably the highest in Syria, for snow was still lying upon it. The mountain belongs to the district of the Emir of the Druses, commanding at Rasheia, a Druse village at one hour and a half from El Heimte. We slept at El Heimte, in the house of the Druse Sheikh, and the Khatib, or Turkish priest of the village, gave us a plentiful supper. The Druses in this district affect to adhere strictly to the religious precepts of the Turks. The greater part of the inhabitants of El Heimte are Druses belonging to Rasheia. Near it are the villages of Biri and Refit.
October 11th. - We set out at day-break, and at the end of an hour passed on the left the Druse villages Deneibe and Mimis, and at two hours Sefa on our right, also a Druse village. Our road lay over an uneven plain, cultivated only in spots. After three hours and a half, we came to Ain Efdjur, direction S.W. by W.; from thence in two hours and a half we reached the Djissr-Moiet-Hasbeya, or bridge of the river of Hasbeya, whose source is hard by; the road lying the whole way over rocky ground little susceptible of culture. From the Djissr we turned up a steep Wady E. b. S. and arrived, in about three quarters of an hour, at Hasbeya, situated on the top of a mountain of no great height. I had letters from the Greek patriarch of Damascus to the Greek bishop of Hasbeya, in whose house, four years ago, Dr. Seetzen spent a week, having been prevented from proceeding by violent snow and rain. The bishop happened to be absent on my arrival, and I therefore took up my lodging in the house of a poor Greek priest, with whose behaviour towards me I had every reason to be satisfied.
October 12th. - The village or town of Hasbeya may contain seven hundred houses; half of which belong to Druse families; the other half are inhabited by Christians, principally Greeks, though there are also Catholics and Maronites here. There are only forty Turkish families, and twenty Enzairie. The inhabitants make cotton cloth for shirts and gowns, and have a few dyeing houses. The principal production of their fields is olives The chief of the village is an Emir of the Druses, who is dependent both on the Pasha of Damascus and the Emir Beshir. He lives in a well- built Serai, which in time of war might serve as a castle. The following villages belong to the territory of Hasbeya: Ain Sharafe, El Kefeir, Ain Annia, Shoueia, Ain Tinte, El Kankabe, El Heberie, Rasheyat el Fukhar, Ferdis, Khereibe, El Merie, Shiba, Banias, Ain Fid, Zoura, Ain Kamed Banias, Djoubeta, Fershouba, Kefaer Hamam, El Waeshdal, El Zouye.
The neighbourhood of Hasbeya is interesting to the mineralogist. I was told by the priest that a metal was found near it, of which nobody knew the name, nor made any use. Having procured a labourer, I found after digging in the Wady a few hundred paces to the E. of the village, several small pieces of a metallic substance, which I took to be a native amalgam of mercury. According to the description given me, cinnabar is also found here, but we could discover no specimen of it after half an hour’s digging. The ground all around, and the spring near the village, are strongly impregnated with iron; the rock is sandstone, of a dark red colour. The other mineral curiosities are, a number of wells of bitumen Judaicum, in the Wady at one hour below the village on the west side, after recrossing the bridge; they are situated upon the declivity of a chalky hill; the bitumen is found in large veins at about twenty feet below the surface. The pits are from six to twelve feet in diameter; the workmen descend by a rope and wheel, and in hewing out the bitumen, they leave columns of that substance at different intervals, as a support to the earth above; pieces of several Rotolas in weight each16 are brought up. There are upwards of twenty-five of these pits or wells, but the greater part of them are abandoned and overgrown with shrubs. I saw only one, that appeared to have been recently worked; they work only during the summer months. The bitumen is called Hommar, and the wells, Biar el Hommar (ﺭﺎﻣﺣﻠﺍ ﺭﺎﻳﺒ). The Emir possesses the monopoly of the bitumen; he alone works the pits, and sells the produce to the merchants of Damascus, Beirout, and Aleppo. It was now at thirty-three paras the Rotola, or about two-pence-halfpenny the pound.
I left Hasbeya on the same day, and continued to descend the valley on the side of the river. Half an hour from the bridge, I arrived at Souk el Khan. In the hills to the right is the village Kankabe. Souk el Khan is a large ruined Khan, where the inhabitants, to the distance of one day’s journey round, assemble every Tuesday to hold a market. In the summer they exhibit their merchandize in the open air; but in the winter they make use of some large rooms, still remaining within the Khan. The road to Banias leads along the valley, parallel with the course of the river; but as I had heard of some ruins in the mountain, at a village called Hereibe, to the east of the route, I turned in that direction, and reached the village in two hours after quitting Hasbeya. Between Souk el Khan and Hereibe lies the village Ferdous. Hereibe is considerably higher than the river. All this neighbourhood is planted with olive-trees; and olives, from hence to Damascus, are the most common food of the inhabitants, who put them into salt, but they do not thereby entirely remove the bitter taste. At Aleppo and Damascus, olives destined for the table are immersed for a fortnight in water, in which are dissolved one proportion of chalk and two proportions of alkali; this takes away all bitterness, but the fruit is at the same time deprived of a part of its flavour.
On the west side of the village of Hereibe stands a ruined temple, quite insulated; it is twenty paces in length, and thirteen in breadth; the entrance is towards the west, and it had a vestibule in front with two columns. On each side of the entrance are two niches one above the other, the upper one has small pilasters, the lower one is ornamented on the top by a shell, like the niches in the temple at Baalbec. The door-way, which has no decoration whatever, opens into a room ten paces square, in which no columns, sculpture, or ornaments of any kind are visible; three of the walls only are standing. At the back of this chamber is a smaller, four paces and a half in breadth, by ten in length, in one corner of which is a half-ruined staircase, leading to the top of the building; in this smaller room are four pilasters in the four angles; under the large room are two spacious vaults. On the outside of the temple, at the east corners, are badly wrought pilasters of the Ionic order. The roof has fallen in, and fills up the interior. The stone employed is of the same quality as that used at Heusn Nieha and Baalbec.
From Hereibe I came to the spring Ain Ferkhan in one hour; and from thence, in three quarters of an hour, to the village Rasheyat-el-Fukhar, over mountainous ground. The village stands on a mountain which commands a beautiful view of the lake Houle, its plain, and the interjacent country. It contains about one hundred houses, three-fourths of which are inhabited by Turks and the remainder by Greeks. The inhabitants live by the manufacture of earthen pots, which they sell to the distance of four or five days journey around, especially in the Haouran and Djolan; they mould them in very elegant shapes, and paint them with a red-earth: almost every house has its pottery, and the ovens in which the pots are baked are common to all. The Houle bears from Rasheyat-el-Fukhar, between S. by E. and S.E. by S. Kalaat el Shkif, on the top of the mountain, towards Acre, E. by N. and Banias, though not visible, S.
October 13th. - We set out in a rainy morning from Rasheyat-el-Fukhar. I was told that in the mountain to the E. one hour and a half, were considerable ruins. The mountains of Hasbeya, or the chain of the Djebel Essheikh, divide, at five hours N. from the lake, into two branches. The western, a little farther to the south, takes the name of Djebel Safat, the eastern joins the Djebel Heish and its continuations, towards Banias. Between the two lie the lake of the Houle and the Ard el Houle, the latter from three to four hours in breadth. We descended from Rasheyat-el-Fukhar into the plain, in which we continued till we reached Banias, at the end of four hours, thoroughly drenched by a heavy shower of rain. We alighted at the Menzel or Medhaafe; this is a sort of Khan found in almost every village through which there is a frequented route. Strangers sleep in the Medhaafe, and the Sheikh of the village generally sends them their dinner or supper; for this he does not accept of any present, at least not of such as common travellers can offer; but it is customary to give something to the servant or watchman (Natur) who brings the meal, and takes care that nothing is stolen from the strangers’ baggage. The district of Banias is classic ground; it is the ancient Cæsarea Philippi; the lake Houle is the Lacus Samachonitis.
My money being almost expended, I had no time to lose in gratifying my curiosity in the invirons of Banias. Immediately after my arrival I took a man of the village to shew me the way to the ruined castle of Banias, which bears E. by S. from it. It stands on the top of a mountain, which forms part of the mountain of Heish, at an hour and a quarter from Banias; it is now in complete ruins, but was once a very strong fortress. Its whole circumference is twenty-five minutes. It is surrounded by a wall ten feet thick, flanked with numerous round towers, built with equal blocks of stone, each about two feet square. The keep or citadel seems to have been on the highest summit, on the eastern side, where the walls are stronger than on the lower, or western side. The view from hence over the Houle and a part of its lake, the Djebel Safad, and the barren Heish, is magnificent. On the western side, within the precincts of the castle, are ruins of many private habitations. At both the western corners runs a succession of dark strongly built low apartments, like cells, vaulted, and with small narrow loop holes, as if for musquetry. On this side also is a well more than twenty feet square, walled in, with a vaulted roof at least twenty-five feet high; the well was, even in this dry season, full of water: there are three others in the castle. There are many apartments and recesses in the castle, which could only be exactly described by a plan of the whole building. It seems to have been erected during the period of the crusades, and must certainly have been a very strong hold to those who possessed it. I saw no inscriptions, though I was afterwards told that there are several both in Arabic and in Frank (Greek or Latin). The castle has but one gate, on the south side. I could discover no traces of a road or paved way leading up the mountain to it. The valley at its S.E. foot is called Wady Kyb, that on its western side Wady el Kashabe, and on the other side of the latter, Wady el Asal. In winter time the shepherds of the Felahs of the Heish, who encamp upon the mountain, pass the night in the castle with their cattle.
Banias is situated at the foot of the Heish, in the plain, which in the immediate vicinity of Banias is not called Ard Houle, but Ard Banias. It contains about one hundred and fifty houses, inhabited mostly by Turks: there are also Greeks, Druses, and Enzairie. It belongs to Hasbeya, whose Emir nominates the Sheikh. On the N.E. side of the village is the source of the river of Banias, which empties itself into the Jordan at the distance of an hour and a half, in the plain below. Over the source is a perpendicular rock, in which several niches have been cut to receive statues.
The largest niche is above a spacious cavern, under which the river rises. This niche is six feet broad and as much in depth, and has a smaller niche in the bottom of it. Immediately above it, in the perpendicular face of the rock, is another niche, adorned with pilasters, supporting a shell ornament like that of Hereibe.
There are two other niches near these, and twenty paces farther two more nearly buried in the ground at the foot of the rock. Each of these niches had an inscription annexed to it, but I could not decipher any thing except the following characters above one of the niches which are nearly covered with earth. [xxxxx] In the middle niche of the three, which are represented in the engraving, the base of the statue is still visible.16
Upon the top of the rock, to the left of the niches, is a mosque dedicated to Nebi Khouder, called by the Christians Mar Georgius, which is a place of devotion for Mohammedan strangers passing this way. Round the source of the river are a number of hewn stones. The stream flows on the north side of the village; where is a well built bridge and some remains of the ancient town, the principal part of which seems, however, to have been on the opposite side of the river, where the ruins extend for a quarter of an hour from the bridge. No walls remain, but great quantities of stones and architectural fragments are scattered about. I saw also an entire column, of small dimensions. In the village itself, on the left side of the river, lies a granite column of a light gray colour, one foot and a half in diameter.
October 15th.- It being Ramazan, we remained under a large tree before the Menzel, smoking and conversing till very late. The researches which Mr. Seetzen made here four years ago were the principal topic; he continued his tour from hence towards the lake of Tabaria, and the eastern borders of the Dead Sea. The Christians believe that he was sent by the Yellow King (Melek el Aszfar, a title which they give the Emperor of Russia) to examine the country preparatory to an invasion, to deliver it from the Turkish yoke. The Turks, on the contrary, believe, that, like all strangers who enquire after inscriptions, he was in search of treasure. When questioned on this subject at Baalbec, I answered, “The treasures of this country are not beneath the earth; they come from God, and are on the surface of the earth. Work your fields and sow them; and you will find the greatest treasure in an abundant harvest.” “By your life (a common oath) truth comes from your lips,” (17 ﻙﻣﺗ ﻲﻓ ﻕﺣﻠﺍ ﻙﺘﺎﻳﺣﻭ Wuhiyatak, el hak fi tummak) was the reply.
On the south side of the village are the ruins of a strong castle, which, from its appearance and mode of construction, may be conjectured to be of the same age as the castle upon the mountain. It is surrounded by a broad ditch, and had a wall within the ditch. Several of its towers are still standing. A very solid bridge, which crosses the winter torrent, Wady el Kyd, leads to the entrance of the castle, over which is an Arabic inscription; but for want of a ladder, I could make out nothing of it but the date “600 and ... years (.... ﻮﺕﻳﺎﻣﺕﺳ),” taking the era of the Hedjra, it coincides with the epoch of the crusades. There are five or six granite columns built into the walls of the gateway.
I went to see the ruins of the ancient city of Bostra, of which the people spoke much, adding that Mousa (the name assumed by Mr. Seetzen) had offered thirty piastres to any one who would accompany him to the place, but that nobody had ventured, through fear of the Arabs. I found a good natured fellow, who for three piastres undertook to lead me to the spot. Bostra must not be confounded with Boszra, in the Haouran; both places are mentioned in the Books of Moses. The way to the ruins lies for an hour and a half in the road by which I came from Rasheyat-el-Fukhar, it then ascends for three quarters of an hour a steep mountain to the right, on the top of which is the city; it is divided into two parts, the largest being upon the very summit, the smaller at ten minutes walk lower down, and resembling a suburb to the upper part. Traces are still visible of a paved way that had connected the two divisions. There is scarcely any thing in the ruins worth notice; they consist of the foundations of private habitations, built of moderate sized square stones. The lower city is about twelve minutes walk in circumference; a part of the four walls of one building only remains entire; in the midst of the ruins was a well, at this time dried up. The circuit of the upper city may be about twenty minutes; in it are the remains of several buildings. In the highest part is a heap of wrought stones of larger dimensions than the rest, which seem to indicate that some public building had once stood on the spot. There are several fragments of columns of one foot and of one foot and a half in diameter. In two different places a short column was standing in the centre of a round paved area of about ten feet in diameter. There is likewise a deep well, walled in, but now dry.
The country around these ruins is very capable of cultivation. Near the lower city are groups of olive trees. Pieces of feldspath of various colours are scattered about in great quantities upon the chalky rock of this mountain. I found in going up a species of locust with six very long legs, and a slender body of about four inches in length. My guide told me that this insect was called 18 ﻰﺑﻧ ﻰﻠﻋ ﻝﺻSalli ál-nabi, i.e. “pray to the Prophet.”
I descended the mountain in the direction towards the source of the Jordan, and passed, at the foot of it, the miserable village of Kerwaya. Behind the mountain of Bostra is another, still higher, called Djebel Meroura Djoubba. At one hour E. from Kerwaye, in the Houle, is the tomb of a Turkish Sheikh, with a few houses near it, called Kubbet el Arbai-in w-el-Ghadjar (ﺭﺎﺟﻐﻠﺍﻭﻥﻳﻌﺑﺭﻻﺍ ﺔﺑﻘ).
The greater part of the fertile plain of the Houle is uncultivated; the Arabs El Faddel, El Naim, and the Turkmans pasture their cattle here. It is watered by the river of Hasbeya, the Jordan, and the river of Banias, besides several rivulets which descend from the mountains on its eastern side. The source of the Jordan, or as it is here called, Dhan (ﺿﺎﻦ), is at an hour and a quarter N.E. from Banias. It is in the plain, near a hill called Tel-el-Kadi. There are two springs near each other, one smaller than the other, whose waters unite immediately below. Both sources are on level ground, amongst rocks of tufwacke. The larger source immediately forms a river twelve or fifteen yards across, which rushes rapidly over a stony bed into the lower plain. There are no ruins of any kind near the springs; but the hill over them seems to have been built upon, though nothing now is visible. At a quarter of an hour to the N. of the spring are ruins of ancient habitations, built of the black tufwacke, the principal rock found in the plain. The few houses at present inhabited on that spot are called Enkeil.
I was told that the ancient name of the river of Banias was Djour, which added to the name of Dhan, made Jourdan; the more correct etymology is probably Or Dhan, in Hebrew the river of Dhan. Lower down, between the Houle and the lake Tabaria, it is called Orden by the inhabitants; to the southward of the lake of Tabaria it bears the name of Sherya, till it falls into the Dead Sea.
October 15th. - My guide returned to Zahle. It was my intention to take a view of the lake and its eastern borders; but a tumour, which threatened to prevent both riding and walking, obliged me to proceed immediately to Damascus. I had reason to congratulate myself on the determination, for if I had staid a day longer, I should have been compelled to await my recovery at some village on the road. Add to this, I had only the value of four shillings left, after paying my guide: this alone, however, should not have prevented me from proceeding, as I knew that two days were sufficient to enable me to gratify my curiosity, and a guide would have thought himself well paid at, two shillings a day; as to the other expenses, travelling in the manner of the country people rendered money quite unnecessary.
There are two roads from Banias to Damascus: the one lies through the villages of Koneitza and Sasa; the other is more northly; I took the latter, though the former is most frequented, being the route followed by all the pilgrims from Damascus and Aleppo to Jerusalem; but it is less secure for a small caravan, owing to the incursions of the Arabs. The country which I had visited to the westward is perfectly secure to the stranger: I might have safely travelled it alone unarmed, and without a guide. The route through the district of the Houle and Banias, and from thence to Damascus, on the contrary, is very dangerous: the Arabs as well as the Felahs, are often known to attack unprotected strangers, and a small body of men was stripped at Koneitza during my stay at Banias.
As soon as I declared my wish to return to Damascus, I was advised by several people present to take a guard of armed men with me, but knowing that this was merely a pretext to extort money without at all ensuring my safety, I declined the proposal, and said I should wait for a Kafflé. It fortunately happened that the Sheikh of the village had business at Damascus, and we were glad of each other’s company. We set out in the afternoon, accompanied by the Sheikh’s servant. The direction of the route is E. b. S. up the mountain of the Heish, behind the castle of Banias. We passed several huts of Felahs, who live here the whole summer, and retire in winter to their villages. They make cheese for the Damascus market. At the end of an hour and a half we came to Ain el Hazouri, a spring, with the tomb of Sheikh Othman el Hazouri just over it; to the north of it one hour are the ruins of a city called Hazouri. The mountain here is overgrown with oaks, but contains good pasturage; I was told that in the Wady Kastebe, near the castle, there are oak trees more than sixty feet high. One hour more brought us to the village of Djoubeta, where we remained during the night at the house of some friends of the Sheikh of Banias. This village belongs to Hasbeya; it is inhabited by about fifty Turkish and ten Greek families; they subsist chiefly by the cultivation of olives, and by the rearing of cattle. I was well treated at the house where we alighted, and also at that of the Sheikh of the village, where I went to drink a cup of coffee. It being Ramadan, we passed the greater part of the night in conversation and smoking; the company grew merry, and knowing that I was curious about ruined places, began to enumerate all the villages and ruins in the neighbourhood, of which I subjoin the names.19 The neighbouring mountains of the Heish abound in tigers (ﺓﺭﻭﻣﻧ); their skins are much esteemed by the Arab Sheikhs as saddle cloths. There are also bears, wolves, and stags; the wild boar is met with in all the mountains which I visited in my tour.
October 16th. - The friends of the Sheikh of Banias having dissuaded him from proceeding, on account of the dangers of the road, his servant and myself set out early in the morning. In three quarters of an hour we reached the village of Medjel, inhabited by Druses, with four or five Christian families. The Druses who inhabit the country near Damascus are very punctual in observing the rites of the Mohammedan religion, and fast, or at least pretend to do so, during the Ramadan. In their own country, some profess Christianity, others Mohammedism. The chief, the Emir Beshir, keeps a Latin confessor in his mosque; yet all of them, when they visit Damascus, go to the mosque. Medjel is situated on a small plain high up in the mountain; half an hour further on is a spring; and at one hour and a quarter beyond, is a spacious plain. The mountain here is in most places capable of cultivation. In one hour more we reached the top. The oak tree is very frequent here as well as the bear’s plum (ﺏﺩﻠﺍ ﺥﻭﺧ Khoukh eddeb), the berries of which afford a very refreshing nourishment to the traveller. The rock is partly calcareous, and partly of a porous tufa, but softer than that which I saw in the Houle. At one hour and a quarter farther is the Beit el Djanne (the House of Paradise), in a narrow Wady, at a spot where the valley widens a little. On its western side are several sepulchral caves hewn in the chalky rock. Another quarter brought of an hour brought us to the Ain Beit el Djanne, a copious spring, with a mill near it; and from thence, in half an hour, we reached the plain on the eastern side of the mountain. Our route now lay N.E. by E.; to the right was the open country adjoining the Haouran, to the left the chain of the Heish, at the foot of which we continued to travel for the remainder of the day. The villages on the eastern declivity of the Heish, between Beit el Djanne and Kferhauar are, Hyna, Um Esshara, Dourboul, Oerna, and Kalaat el Djendel.
At three hours and a half from the point where the Wady Beit el Djanne terminates in the plain is the village Kferhauar. Before we entered it I saw to the left of the road a tomb which attracted my attention by its size. I was told that it was the Kaber Nimroud (the tomb of Nimrod); it consists of a heap of stones about twenty feet in length, two feet high, and three feet broad, with a large stone at both extremities, similar to the tombs in Turkish cemeteries. This is probably the Kalat Nimroud laid down in maps, to the south of Damascus; at least I never heard of any Kalaat Nimroud in that direction.
To the right of our road, one hour and a half from Kferhauar, lay Sasa, and near it Ghaptata. Half an hour farther from Kferhauar we alighted at the village Beitima. On a slight eminence near Kferhauar stands a small tower, and there is another of the same size behind Beitima. The principal article of culture here is cotton: the crop was just ripe, and the inhabitants were occupied in collecting it. There are Druses at Kferhauar as well as at Beitima; at the latter village I passed an uncomfortable rainy night, in the court-yard of a Felah’s house.
October 17th. – We continued to follow the Djebel Heish (which however takes a more northern direction than the Damascus road) for four hours, when we came to Katana, a considerable village, with good houses, and spacious gardens; the river, whose source is close to the village, empties itself into the Merj of Damascus.
Three hours from Katana, passing over the district called Ard el Lauan, we came to Kfersousa. Beyond Katana begins the Djebel el Djoushe, which continues as far as the Djebel Salehie, near Damascus, uniting, on its western side, the lower ridge of mountains of the Djebel Essheikh. Kfersousa lies just within the limits of the gardens of the Merdj of Damascus. In one hour beyond it I re-entered Damascus, greatly fatigued, having suffered great pain.
After returning to Damascus from my tour in the Haouran, I was desirous to see the ruins of Rahle and Bourkoush, in the Djebel Essheikh, which I had heard mentioned by several people of Rasheya during my stay at Shohba. On the 12th of December, I took a man with me, and rode to Katana, by a route different from that through the Ard el Lauan, by which I travelled from Katana to Damascus in October. It passes in a more southerly direction through the villages of Deir raye (ﺔﻳﺍﺮﺮﻳ ﺩ), one hour beyond Bonabet Ullah; and another hour Djedeide; one hour and a quarter from Djedeide is Artous (ﺱﻮﻂﺭﻋ), in which are many Druse families; in an hour from Artous we reached Katana. This is a very pleasant road, through well cultivated fields and groves. I here saw nurseries of apricot trees, which are transplanted into the gardens at Damascus. To the south of Artous three quarters of an hour, is the village of Kankab, situated upon a hill; below it is the village of Djoun, opposite to which, and near the village Sahnaya, lies the Megarat Mar Polous, or St. Paul’s cavern, where the Apostle is related to have hidden himself from the pursuit of his enemies at Damascus. The monks of Terra Santa, who have a convent at Damascus, had formerly a chapel at Sahnaya, where one of their fraternity resided; but the Roman Catholic Christians of the village having become followers of the Greek church, the former abandoned their establishment. To the N.E. of Djedeide, and half an hour from it, is the village Maddharnie.
Katana is one of the chief villages in the neighbourhood of Damascus; it contains about one hundred and eighty Turkish families, and four or five of Christians. The Sheikh, to whom the village belongs, is of a very rich Damascus family, a descendant of a Santon, whose tomb is shewn in the mosque of the village. Adjoining to the tomb is a hole in the rocky ground, over which an apartment has been built for the reception of maniacs; they are put down into the hole, and a stone is placed over its mouth; here they remain for three or four days, after which, as the Turks pretend, they regain their senses. The Christians say that the Santon was a Patriarch of Damascus, who left his flock, and turned hermit, and that he gained great reputation amongst the Turks, because whenever he prostrated himself before the Deity, his sheep imitated his example. Katana has a bath, and near it the Sheikh has a good house. The villagers cultivate mulberry trees to feed their silk worms, and some cotton, besides corn. The day after my arrival I engaged two men to shew me the way to the ruins. We began to cross the lower branches of the Djebel Essheikh, at the foot of which Katana is situated, and after an hour and a quarter came to Bir Karme, likewise called El Redhouan, a spring in a narrow valley. We rode over mountainous ground in the road to Rasheya, passed another well of spring water, and at the end of four hours reached Rahle, a miserable Druse village, half an hour to the right of the road from Katana to Rasheia. The ruins are to the north of the village, in the narrow valley of Rahle, and consist principally of a ruined temple, built of large square stones, of the same calcareous rock used in the buildings of Baalbec: little else remains than the foundations, which are twenty paces in breadth, and thirty in length; within the area of the temple are the foundations of a circular building. Many fragments of columns are lying about, and a few extremely well formed capitals of the Ionic order. Upon two larger stones lying near the gate, which probably formed the architrave, is the figure of a bird with expanded wings, not inferior in execution to the bird over the architrave of the great temple at Baalbec; its head is broken off; in its claws is something of annexed form, bearing no resemblance to the usual figure of the thunderbolt. On the exterior, wall, on the south side of the temple, is a large head, apparently of a female, three feet and a half high, and two feet and a half broad, sculptured upon one of the large square stones which form the wall: its features are perfectly regular, and are enclosed by locks of hair, terminating in thin tresses under the chin. This head seems never to have belonged to a whole length figure, as the stone on which it is sculptured touches the ground. Near the ruins is a deep well. A few hundred paces to the south, upon an eminence, are the ruins of another edifice, of which there remain the foundations of the walls, and a great quantity of broken columns of small size. Around these edifices are the remains of numerous private habitations; a short column is found standing in most of them, in the centre of the foundations of the building. In the neighbouring rocks about a dozen small cells are excavated, in some of which are cavities for bodies. I found no inscriptions.
S.W. from Rahle, one hour and a half, are the ruins of the castle of Bourkush (ﺵﻛﺭﻭﺑ). We passed the spring called Ain Ward (the rose spring), near a plain in the midst of the mountains called Merdj Bourkush. The ruins stand upon a mountain, which appeared to me to be one of the highest of the lower chain of the Djebel Essherk. At the foot of the steep ascent leading up to the castle, on the N.W. side, is a copious spring, and another to the W. midway in the ascent. These ruins consist of the outer walls of the castle, built with large stones, some of which are eight feet long, and five broad. A part only of the walls are standing. In the interior are several apartments which have more the appearance of dungeons than of habitations. The rock, upon which the whole structure is erected, has been levelled so as to form an area within, round which ran a wall; a part of this wall is formed by the solid rock, upwards of eight feet high, and as many broad, the rock having been cut down on both sides.
To the E. of this castle are the ruins of a temple built much in the same style as that of Rahle, but of somewhat smaller dimensions, and constructed of smaller stones. The architrave of the door is supported by two Corinthian pilasters. A few Druse families reside at Bourkush, who cultivate the plain below. On the S.E. side of the ascent to the castle are small caverns cut in the rock. From this point Katana bore S.E.
We returned from Bourkush to Katana by Ain Embery, a rivulet whose source is hard by in the Wady, with some ruined habitations near it. The distance from Bourkush to Katana is two hours and a half brisk walking of a horse. The summit of the mountain was covered with snow. I heard of several other ruins, but had no time to visit them. There are several villages of Enzairie in the mountain. On the third day from my departure I returned to Damascus.
1 Kubbe, a cupola supported by columns or walls; the sepulchre of a reputed saint.
2 Djissr - Bridge.
3 Wady – Valley.
4 Souk (market) is an appellation often added to villages, which have periodical markets.
5 Moye - Water.
6 Argile - A Persian pipe, in which the smoke passes through water.
7 Belad - District, province.
8 Djebel – Mountain.
9 Bir – Well.
10 The Pike is a linear measure, equal to two feet English, when used for goods of home manufacture, and twenty-seven inches for foreign imported commodities.
11 The following are the names of villages in Belad Baalbec, between Baalbec and Zahle. On the Libanus, or on the declivity near its foot; Kerak, Fursul, Nieha, Nebi Eily, Temnin foka (the upper Temnin) Bidneil, Smustar, Hadad Tareie, Nebi Ershaedi, Kefferdein Saide, Budei, Deir Akhmar, Deir Eliaout, Sulife, Btedai. In the plain; Abla, Temnin tahte (the lower Temnin) Ksarnabé, Beit Shaeme, Gferdebesh, Haoush el Rafka, Haoush el Nebi, Haoush Esseneid, Telhezin (with a copious spring), Medjdeloun, Haoush Barada, Haoush Tel Safie, Tel Wardin, Sergin, Ain, Ouseie, Haoush Mesreie, Bahami, Duris, Yead. On the Anti-Libanus, or near its foot; Briteil, Tallie, Taibe, Khoreibe, El Aoueine, Nebi Shit, Marrabun, Mouze, Kanne, Deir el Ghazal, Reia, Hushmush. All these villages are inhabited by Turks or Metawelis; Abla and Fursul are the only Christian villages. I subjoin the villages in the plain to the N. of Baalbec, belonging to the territory of Baalbec. On the Libanus; Nebba, Essafire, Harbate. On the Plain; Tunin, Shaet, Ras el Haded, Leboue, El Kaa. Anti-Libanus,and at its foot: Nahle, El Ain, Nebi Oteman, Fiki, Erzel, Mukra, El Ras.
12 The Metaweli are of the sect of Ali, like the Persians; they have more than 200 houses at Damascus, but they conform there to the rites of the orthodox Mohammedans.
13 This temple is not seen in approaching Baalbec from Damascus.
14 Zosim. l.i.c.58.
15 The following are the villages in the Bekaa, and at the foot of the western mountain, which from Zahle southward takes the name of Djebel Riehan; namely, Saad-Náyel (ﻝﻳﺎﻧ ﺩﻌﺴ), Talabaya (ﺎﻴﺎﺑﻟﻌﺘ), Djetye (ﺔﻳﺗﺠ), Bouarish (ﺵﺮﺍﻭﺒ), Mekse (ﺔﺳﻛﻤ), Kab Elias (ﺱﺎﻳﻠ ﺐﻘ), Mezraat (ﺕﻋﺮﺯﻤ), Bemherye (ﺔﻳﺭﻬﻣﺒ), Aamyk (ﻕﻳﻣﻋ), Deir Tenhadish (ﺵﻳﺩﺣﻧﻃ ﺭﻳﺪ), Keferya (ﺎﻳﺭﻓﻜ), Khereyt Kena (ﺎﻧﻗ ﺕﻳﺭﺨ), Beit Far (ﺭﺎﻔ ﺕﻳﺑ), Ain Zebde (ﺔﺩﺑﺰ ﻥﻳﻋ), Segbin (ﻥﻳﺑﻐﺳ), Deire el Djouze (ﺓﺰﻭﺟﻟﺍ ﺮﻳﺪ), Bab Mara (ﻉﺮﺎﻣ ﺏﺎﺑ), Aitenyt (ﺕﻳﻧﺗﻳﻋ), El Kergoue (ﺓﻭﻏﺭﻘﻠﺍ), El Medjdel (ﻝﺩﺟﻣﻠﺍ), Belhysz (ﺹﻳﻬﻟﺑ), Lala (ﻻﻻ), Meshgara (ﺓﺭﻐﺷﻣ), Sahhar Wyhbar (ﺭﺣﻳﻮ ﺭﺣﺳ), Shedite, Nebi Zaour, Baaloul (ﻝﻭﻟﻌﺑ), Bedjat (ﺕﻌﺟﺒ), Djub Djenin (ﻥﻳﻧﺟﺑﺟ), Tel Danoub (ﺏﻭﻧ ﺩ ﻝﺘ), El Khyare (ﺓﺭﺎﻳﺧﻟﺍ), El Djezyre (ﺓﺭﻳﺯﺟﻠﺍ), El Estabbel (ﻝﺑﻁﺳﻻﺍ), El Merdj (ﺝﺮﻣﻟﺍ), Tel el Akhdar (ﺭﺿﺧﻻﺍﻝﺗ), Taanayl (ﻝﻳﺎﻧﻌﺘ), Ber Elias (ﺱﺎﻳﻠ ﺭﺑ), Deir Zeinoun (ﻥﻭﻧﻳﺯ ﺭﻳﺩ).
16 Baniás, Πανεάς,or Cæsareia Philippi, was the Dan of the Jews. The name Paneas was derived from the worship of Pan. The niche in the cavern probably contained a statue of Pan, and the other niches similar dedications to the same or other deities. The cavern and Πανειον,or sanctuary of Pan, are described by Josephus, from whom it appears also that the fountain was considered the source of the Jordan, and at the same time the outlet of a small lake called Phiala, which was situated 120 stades from Cæsareia towards Trachonitis, or the north-east. The whole mountain had the name of Paneium. The hewn stones round the spring may have belonged, perhaps, to the temple of Augustus, built here by Herod. Joseph. de Bel. Jud. l.i,c.16. Antiq. Jud. l.3,c.10,-l.15,c.10. Euseb. Hist. Eccl. l.12,c.17. The inscription appears to have been annexed to a dedication by a priest of Pan, who had prefixed the usual pro salute for the reigning Emperors. Ed.
17 ﻙﻣﺗ is a common word used in Syria for ﻙﻣﻔ which signifies “thy mouth.”
18 This is the abbreviation of - ﻲﺑﻧﻠﺍ ﻰﻟﻋ ﻰﻠﺻ.
19 The ruins of Dara, Bokatha, Bassisa, Alouba, Afkerdouva, Hauratha (this was described as being of great extent, with many walls and arches still remaining,) Enzouby, Hauarit, Kleile, Emteile, Mesherefe, Zar, Katloube in the Wady Asal, Kseire, Kafoua, Beit el Berek. The villages of Kfershouba, Maonyre in the district Kereimat, Ain el Kikan, Mezahlak, Merj el Rahel, Sheba, Zeneble, Zor or Afid, Merdj Zaa. In the Houle, Amerie, Nebi Djahutha, Sheheil.