14 Interesting Facts You Probably Didn’t Know About The Lebanese Village Of Tourza

alexander_photography97 | @mariominaise

It has long been a captivating sight, that beautiful northern village of Tourza, perched on a green mountain of a valley between two higher mountains.

The sight is as enthralling that it brought about some legends, one of which is that the village was part of the cedar mountain and slid down with times to take its place at the entrance of the Valley of the Saints.

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Whether it is the deed of an ancient earthquake or just a folk talk, the legend is told from generation to generation.

However, there is far more to this beautiful Lebanese village than a legend. It was the path of ancient civilizations and home to Phoenician kings.

Here are some interesting facts about Tourza:

#1 It is an ancient town carrying a Syriac-Aramaic name

The name refers to the “mountain of the cedar” (Tur-Arzo) but also to the beautiful mountain (Tur-Zayo).

#2 A village of fertile land and abundant waters

#3 Tourza was reportedly a Phoenician kingdom (3000 B.C.)

It was home to different ancient populations but most notably a small Phoenician kingdom, which traces are there today to remind us of its past existence.

#4 Some Phoenician kings are buried in one of Tourza’s Grotto

Tourza is home to several Sarcophagi and caves, one of which, located in the western part, is the final resting home of some Phoenician kings. There are also remnants of ancient rituals Phoenicians used to perform for their deity Adonis.

#5 Some records show that Tourza was very prosperous during the 4th and 5th centuries

According to the recorded story of Saint Marina, Tourza was a prosperous and very lively town, which could be the reason that attracted the Romans to the village, and also many outsiders who sought it for work and settled it.

#6 The Roman Empire left its traces in Tourza

Among the remaining traces of ancient civilizations still visible to-date in Tourza, a particular rock in the village’s woods dating back to the Roman empire.

#7 A cave turned into a Crusader fortress

History narrates that the crusaders transformed one of Tourza’s cave, the Delmaz Grotto, into a fortress, which then became a monastery.

According to Tourza Online Community, the monastery went on to shelter Ahbash monks, who reportedly revealed to be thieves and killers operating at night and pretending to be priests during the day.

#8 There was a time in which Tourza endured sectarian suppression

After the crusaders left, powerful Shia leaders reportedly took the village, which was mainly Maronite, and brought in their clans to settle in.

They reportedly dominated the town and started suppressing the natives, in authority and number, notably led by a powerful Shia leader of Al-Hamada family, according to Tourza Online Community.

#9 Tourza had its own revolution

The natives ended rebelling and, in 1777, they expelled their oppressors from the village towards Baalbeck. The same occurred in Ehden and Bsharri. The leaders of the revolution were Youssef El-Shahabi and Saad El- Khoury.

#10 Tourza opened up to new settlers

By the end of the 18th century, the village’s natural beauty, fertile lands, and abundance of springs and streams as well the locals’ friendliness attracted many people from across the region to settle in, work the land, and call it home.

#10 Countless Lebanese in the diaspora hail from Tourza

Emigration from Tourza to the four corners of the world reportedly started early in the 19th century for economic reasons. The locals sought work in South Africa, Mexico, San Salvador, Argentina, and Brazil to support their families back home.

After WWI and the Great Famine that killed half of Lebanon’s population, the emigration from Tourza increased, and this time most notably to Canada, Venezuela, and the United States, where most remained and made new roots.

#11 Small in Lebanon, large in the world

According to Tourza Online Community, 14,000 Lebanese from Tourza are reportedly based in North America, between Canada and the United States, and about 6,000 in Venezuela. That is in addition to the descendants of those who had emigrated to South America and South Africa in the 19th century.

#12 Tourza most famous streams since ancient time is Al-Mshour

#13 Tourza is an active village with its own municipality and events

St. Sarkis And Bakhos Parish -Tourza
St. Sarkis And Bakhos Parish -Tourza

Despite its small size, Tourza has two schools, a sports club, a few shops and stores that provide food and basic necessities, a convent, and a Pastoral Church: Saints Sarkis and Bacchus Church, among others.

#14 Tourza is a thrilling hiking destination for nature lovers

Lebtivity

A hiking trail that saw its first organized adventurers in 2014 starts in Tourza and takes you through a beautiful pine forest to the village of Beit Monzer then down to the villages of Bella and Barhalioun.

Hikers can get to see the famous Dalmaz Rock on their way and take a meal break by the natural spring of Nabeh El-Sidyaneh.

alexander_photography97

Tourza is located about 1 hour and 10 minutes from Beirut, in the Bsharri district of north Lebanon.


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14 Interesting Facts You Probably Didn't Know About The Lebanese Village Of Tourza

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