November 02, 2008

I didn't do much this weekend, but while trying to find the road back to Beirut today (after not doing much in the mountains), I stumbled upon this place in Salima, some 40 kilometres above Beirut.
I’ve explored this region extensively, or so I thought, but apparently not extensively enough, because it is the first time I saw it. No signs around it, and no one to ask what it was (They were all in church. They still do that on Sundays here), so I had to wait to get back to Beirut to find out through the Internet. Makes me wonder; how did we ever find things out before the Internet?
According to this web site it is the ‘Salima Palace, a Druze fortress of the Abillama Emirs built in 1721 by Hussein, the first Prince Abillama. Acquired in 1882 by the Capuchins, the building was changed and restored in 1895 and 1906.The main portal is enclosed in an ornate arabesque molding with two lions flanking the central arch.’
‘Above the portal is the old "diwan" or reception room’

The courtyard.

This web site writes that the Emirs of Abillama set up shop in Salima in 1515.
And this book states that the Abillama’s arrived in here in the 9th century, ‘but this palace was built by Emir Hussein in 1134 of the Hegira, before the druze princes became christian’.

So take your pick. 1134, 1515 or 1721. Well, it looked old, but not THAT old. I go for 1721,

They are in the process of restoring the palace.
And that was all there was on this palace. But I googled this piece of interesting stuff;

This village was one of the first communities (mixed christian and druze) to be severely damaged ‘on a human, physical and psychological level by the Lebanese civil war. It was one of the first villages to be destroyed and is one of the last to be able to return to any resemblance of normality for its inhabitants.’ (source)

The fighting in this village began with a Romeo and Juliette story. A Druze boy was in love with a Christian girl. Her brother, blinded by fanaticism, murdered the fiancĂ©. Revenge bred revenge. By the time the killing ended, the Christian half of the village had fled. “ (Source)

It was definitely in the hot zone. I passed a forest with a ‘do not enter. Mines’ sign, and according to the International Campaign to Ban Landmines there are still some 47 uncleared minefields, or suspected mine fields, in that area.
I cannot vouch for its accuracy, only plucked it off the Internet. Nevertheless, maybe I should get Internet on my phone, so I can read this stuff while actually being there, instead of in Beirut.


moniek said...

schitterende foto( zoals meerdere van jou op je blog)
je hebt een extra carriere als fotografe misschien gemist?
alhoewel, ze worden goed bekeken.
de camper heeft een goed plaatsje gekregen,
lieve groet van ons,

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Anonymous said...

the fight in salima was not due to a love story between a druze juliet and a
christian romeo; but started when the political parties from both sides decided to make from this historical peacefull village a trampoline of the policy dicted to them from abroad.