Ain Trez is a small village in the Aley district, roughly 34 kilometers from Lebanon’s capital city Beirut.
With a somewhat mystic feeling in the air, Ain Trez serves as an illustration of Lebanon’s modern history.
The palace of Lebanon’s 2nd president
The residents of Ain Trez have lived there for hundreds of years. Among those residents is the prominent Es-Saad family.
From Ain Trez, Habib Pacha Es-Saad was appointed by the French Mandate at the age of 67 as the president of Lebanon, a position he served between 1934-1936.
The residence was built around an enormous oak tree that the Es-Saad family took care of.
Today, the palace can be visited upon request and is sometimes used for weddings and other events.
A legendary thousand-year-old oak tree
The oak tree at the Es-Saad palace has been around for over a thousand years, bearing witness to Lebanon’s changing history.
“The oak tree of Ain Traz is a monument just like Heliopolis, Sidon, or Byblos. It is no mere refuge for birds but has a presence that is bound up with all us Lebanese,” wrote Joseph Matar of Discover Lebanon.
People often gather beneath the giant tree for weddings, dinners, and other events.
Ancient silk factory
This old silk factory in Ain Trez stands today as a testament to Lebanon’s sericulture.
“The most beautiful silk fabrics were the ones dyed with ‘Tyrian Purple’, a very famous color made by the Phoenicians and extracted from the glands of Murex Mollusks,” explained photographer Tony Aoun.
The 200-year-old Melkite Monastery
Founded in 1811, the monastery was initially a residence of Es-Saad family which they donated to the Melkite seminary mission.
It was twice vandalized between 1841 and 1845, during religious conflicts, and reopened in 1870 as a monastery and a summer residence for the Melkite patriarch.
Throughout its history, the monastery hosted important councils, including the legislative synod in 1909 by Patriarch Cyril VIII Jaha. The religious facility was again looted during the civil war and lost many of its archives and library.
The limestone cliff
This cliff of 654m a.s.l is sought after by rock climbers during spring and autumn. The crag was developed by the Lebanese Climbing Association and has numerous climbing sections.
Ain Trez is also a destination for hikers and nature lovers for its amazing sights.