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