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Ain El Marj - Lilian Jaafar

Ain El Marj

Al-Marj spring dates to 1472 AD. The clear engraving seen on the stones of Al Marj Spring reads the date of this spring’s foundation, (877 AH) or during the Mamluk era a few decades prior to the Ottoman Conquest. It was built by Omar Muhammad Musa Rosen with a cost of ten thousand Four Hundred Dirhams. Al Marj Spring still stands undamaged 454 years later. The inscription states that those who built the spring were the people of Ras el Matn.

Ras el Matn is famous for its ancient springs: the spring of Deir Qnat, the spring of Deir Khuna, Dar Sayya, Bdounis, Al-Ghawabi, Btaelin, Al-Maadan, Al-Qasis, Al Hamza and Al Sheikh to name a few. 

Taken by: Lilian Jaafar

Saraya Ras El Matn - Remi Abdel Rassoul

Al Saraya

One of the most important cultural attractions in Ras el Matn is its serai ‘Al Saraya’. It was built by prince Abdallah Kaed Bey Al Tanoukhi on a beautiful hill in the early 17th century. It was known as Prince Fares Abi el Lamii’s serai and from it,  Prince

Haidar al-Shehabi led his army to victory in the Battle of Ain Dara where his Qaisi army defeated the Yemeni army in 1711. After the collapse of Al Lamii authority and the fall of their emirate, the serai was bought from their heirs by Sheikh Hasan Rhaijeh Abou Reslan and Sheikh Bachir Makarem, who then sold it in the year 1910 to the English Orientalist Daniel Oliver of the “Friends Organization” for 563 gold liras. Oliver made the serai the headquarters of his Evangelical mission where he founded a shelter for abandoned children during World War I. At the end of the war, Oliver converted the orphanage to a school which was attended by many Lebanese and Arab dignitaries such as Najib Salha, Emile al-Bustani, Anis Freiha, Abdullah Khoury, Ajaj Nuweihed, and Halim Abu Ezzeddine. The earthquake of 1956 destroyed the serai and as a result the “Friends” School closed. The serai was then bought by His Excellency Najib Beik Salha. The building is sometimes used as a venue for activities of the various clubs and local associations.

Taken by: Remi Abdel Rassoul

Set Sara Ras El Matn

The Cave of Lady Sara

Lady Sara was one of the virtuous women mentioned in all monotheistic books and manuscripts, suggesting that the religion of monotheism or Al Tawheed saw women as an important element in society,  responsible, reliable and

should be given full trust to carry out difficult tasks. The Mowahadoon gave her the title of ‘sit’, meaning Lady, indicating that the holder of this title dedicated her life to God, religion and faith. ‘Sit Sara’ was one of the first patron women to carry the title. She belonged to the Tay Tribe which accepted Christianity in its first era. The tribe was originally from Kahlan el Kohtaniya that came from Yemen with other tribes after the fall of Maarab Dam and relocating in new locations in Hijaz. While accomplishing her tasks, she faced many difficulties one of which in Ras el Matn where she carved a cave in the rocky slopes at the base of the village using it as a refuge as called after her name. According to legend and marvel, this rock opened and took the shape of a cave, creating a place for soap, bobbin, sewing tools, a wash basin, and a shelter Lady Sara used to escape from danger and from religious fanatics.

Taken by: Lilian Jaafar

Khalwe Ras El Matn

Hermitage - Al khalwe

Ras el Matn is famous for Khalwet al-Shaqif an important religious attraction. It is also known as Khalwet Sheikh Abu Ali Yusuf Bardawil Abu Reslan a senior sheikh in Lebanon, and one of the prominent mindful sheikhs in the era of

Bashir al-Shihabi. Born in the town of Ras el Matn, and a member of the Abu Reslan family, he was attributed to Prince Munther Arslan al-Tanukhi. He was honorable and pious, patient and was armed with endurance. As a preacher and knowledgeable scholar, he was a reliable reference on religious matters and had a high standing among his people. Sheikh Abu Ali Yusuf spent a period of worship and hermitage in Khalwet al-Shaqif. The building is used by pious Druze men today as a place of seclusion and hermitage. as well as in Khalwet al-Ruwaisah or Khlalwet el Sheikh Abu Ali’s Naaman Abu Reslan which is located at the end of the Ras el Matn, and oversees the areas of Khaldeh, the Mediterranean sea, Aley and Bhamdoun. He also built a retreat known by his name in the center of Ras el Matn which consisted of two floors, the upper floor for the vigilance and worship of the Ajawid sheikhs, and the lower floor to accommodate the outsiders and beggars who used to come to Ras el Matn. The villagers used to say to any stranger: “You have nothing except Abu Reslan’s residence”. This house was recently demolished and a new one was established on its ruins, which reads: “Khalwet el Sheikh Abu Ali Yusuf Bardawil Abu Reslan”.

Taken by: Wissam Hmaidan

Old Tree Ras El Matn

The Ancient Sindiyana

The Ancient Kermes Oak Tree in Btaalin is said to be around 500 years old. Mr. Fouad Abu Reslan, one of the town’s elders, maintains that “this tree carries in its veins conversations and laughter of students from generations past who went there to 

entertain and amuse themselves”. The mayor Fouad Hasan has beautiful memories there since the tree was the point where friends met to go out of the town. The tree’s branches bear witness to their joys, sorrows and romantic stories. Some believe that this tree brings luck and use it to tie wish-ribbons in the hope that their wishes would come true.

Taken by: Lilian Jaafar

Content Created By Nada Halawi

Ras El Matn - Tourism Initiative
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