Your Guide to the Ancient Names of Lebanon's Towns and Cities - The961

Your Guide to the Ancient Names of Lebanon's Towns and Cities

Get to know the meanings and roots of our towns and cities that remain rooted far in the history of humanity.

Most of our towns and cities were named by the ancient natives of our land, for a purpose. We got used to their pronunciation without knowing their meanings. And yet, these names give us a glimpse at our towns’ original history. One thing for sure, after you go through this list, you will never look at these towns the same. Whether Syriac, Aramaic, Phoenician, or Hebrew, their names are a revelation.

-A-

  • Aley: Aramaic for high place and it refers to the high altitude of the city as we know it today.
  • Annaya: Hebrew, meaning God has answered.
  • Amioun: Initially Am Yawan in Aramaic, and it means the place of the Greeks.
  • Amshit: A term recorded numerous times in Phoenician papyrus and parchment referring to Promised land.
  • Akoura: from the Hebrew word Aqar, meaning Jurd or mountain.

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  • Ashqout: Initially Asquta in Syriac, referring to The Rough and Insubordinate Land, a feature dubbed with time upon all the region of Kessrwan.
  • Andkit: Syriac name that stands for The spring with little water.
  • Alma El-Chaab: a Semitic expression that refers to cryptic and also to adolescence.
  • Ainata: Syriac for The Water Eyes 

-B-

  • Beirut: Phoenician/Hebrew “Be’rot”, meaning the Wells
  • Bziza: Syriac for the looted village. Another explanation has been put forward and that the town was originally named Bet Azziza, aka the Temple of the Semite god Aziz.
  • Bejjeh: Syriac name for Gardens,
  • Byblos (Jbeil) appeared in Phoenician and Punic inscriptions as Gebal, meaning Source of The God.
  • Bkassin: Originally Bet Kasin in Aramaic, and refers to the place where cups are made.

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  • Bayqoun: Initially “bet yuqné” and refers to the place where coins are forged.
  • Baslouqit: A Syriac name referring to The Place of Ascension.
  • Bet Lahya: Home of the tired lady.
  • Bzommar: a Semitic expression for the House of the Piper.
  • Bsharre: A Phoenician name originally ‘Bet Ishtar’ meaning the house of Ishtar, the Phoenician Goddess.
  • Batroun: Also a Phoenician name originally ‘beit runa” meaning the Chief’s House.
  • Baskinta: Syriac term for the abode, the residence, and the place. To know more about Baskinta and its ancient civilizations, click here.
  • Bechamoun: Syriac Aramaic for the Temple of Eshamun, a Phoenician god
  • Bchennata: Syriac for the land of the towering high rocks and the serrated peaks.
  • Baakline: Originally Beit Aakline in Syriac, it means the place of knots and turns.
  • Bsous: Phoenician “Bet Sus” referring to the place of horses.
  • Beit Shabeb: Syriac name for the house of the neighbor.
  • Bikfaya: Aramaic in its original form “Beit Kiifa” meaning the house of stone or the rocky house.
  • Brummana: An Aramaic name that stands for the house of Rammana, the God of air, storm and thunder.

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-C-

  • Chartoun: Aramaic for religious service or small gathering.
  • Chadra: Syriac for the one who was sent or the ambassador.
  • Chebaa: Aramaic for water flow, Syriac for satiety and abundance, Hebrew for Seven.
  • Chouaghir: Aramaic for The place where water emerges from.

-D-

  • Debel: Syriac for dried figs. It has the same meaning in Hebrew as mention in the Bible (Ezekiel 6:14)
  • Derdghaya: means the pure residence and also the residence of happiness and beauty.
  • Douma: A Canaanite name meaning calm.
  • Dar Baachtar: Phoenician for Ashtar Home of Worship (Ashtarout, Astarte, the Phoenician goddess of love.)

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 -E-

  • Ehden: a Phoenician name for Eden (paradise) and also means the base of the mountain. Know more about the ancient history of Ehden and its name here.
  • Ehmej: an old Syriac name for the Top of the Valley.

-F-

  • Felougha, derives from the Syriac Palugha, meaning “The distributor.”
  • Ferzol: from the Aramaic “feraza-el” meaning God’s haven or God's district.
  • Faraya: A Phoenician name that stands for The land of fruits and vegetables.

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-H-

  • Hasroun: from the old Phoenician “Hesron” that stands for fortified between walls.
  • Hadshit: from the Phoenician "Hadashit" meaning the new village.
  • Habboush: derived from "habbusha" for the prison place or secluded place.
  • Hadtoun is a smaller form of “hadta” for New.
  • Hermel: meaning “The Aroma of God” or “God’s Sanctuary
  • Hemlaya: Syriac name for the Harvest Depot, and could derive also from the Hebrew "Heml" meaning mercy and peace.
  • Hammana: derived from the Phoenician god ‘Hammon’ and Hamman means stone pillar to worship the sun.

-J-

  • Jeb Jannine: Syriac name for Basin of Gardens, and where Jeb is also a Semitic expression that refers to a water well or water precipitation.
  • Ijdabra or Jadabra, Syriac for great luck, and where “Jad” in the semitic language designates the god of luck or fortune.
  • Jezzine: Syriac for stores or safes.
  • Jenjlaya: Syriac for a haven.
  • Jarjou’: Aramaic/Hebrew for The Shaved or The Bald.
  • Jaj: a Phoenician name designating the top town (Jaj is the most elevated town of the surrounding villages.)

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-K-

  • Kfardebian, where Kfar means village, Syriac for The Village of Deers.
  • Kfarshouba where Kfar means village, Syriac for The Village with Hot Weather.
  • Kfarhoun, where Kfar means village, Syriac for The Village of Young Siblings.
  • Kfar Killa, where Kfar means village, Syriac and Aramaic for The Bride City.
  • Kfar Chellal, where Kfar means village, Syriac for The Place of Stolen Goods.
  • Kawkaba: Syriac for Planet
  • Kherbet Rouha; Semitic for Ruins and Wind.

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-M-

  • Majdal al Meouch: Semitic for The Tower of Salvation.
  • Miziara: Semitic for The House of Battle
  • Majdel Selm: Semitic for The Tower of Peace.
  • Maghdouché: Syriac for Crop Collectors.
  • Mlikh: Aramaic for King.
  • Masghara: Phoenician term for the place from where water emerges.

-N-

  • Naqoura: Semitic and also Hebrew as cited in the Talmud, and it means to pierce a protruding rock.

-Q-

  • Qawzah: derived from ‘Qozah’, meaning a place to plant onions
  • Qornayel: Syriac for The Summit of God.
  • Qana: Syriac for The Nest.
  • Qanafez: Semitic expression meaning to shrink up against oneself.
  • Qobbayat: Syriac for swamps and water reservoirs, and also for water gathering.

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-R-

  • Rechmaya: Syriac for Head of Water or Head of the Spring
  • Rab Tlatin: Syriac for The Guardian over the 30, which could indicate that was originally a farm of 30 workers.
  • Remhala: Syriac for Sand Hill.
  • Rmeich: Syriac/Phoenician for calm night or calm sun-set.
  • Rechdebbine, Semitic for The Residence of Bears.

-S-

  • Sarba: Syriac for the tower, and could also have meant metal melting.
  • Saghbine: Aramaic and Hebrew for sharpness, anger, and prudence.
  • Sawfar: Syriac for Morning.
  • Sidon: Phoenician fishing town, and also appears in Biblical Hebrew and in Syriac. Sidon is cited in the Book of Genesis as the first-born son of Canaan, grandson of Noah.

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-T-

  • Taanayel: The holder of God and could have also meant The place where God responded.
  • Tartij: Syriac for Mountain of the Crown or of snow patches.
  • Tannourine: Syriac Aramaic for Smoke and Fire/Light. Take a look at Tannourine in 15 Photos.
  • Tanbourit: Persian for musical instrument.
  • Tyre-Sour: Phoenician for Rock, after the rocky formation on which the town was originally built. For more about Tyre, visit here.
  • Tripoli: Initially Athar, a Phoenician-named city, the Ancient Greeks named it Tripolis, Three Cities, when they settled in. Check out things to explore in Tripoli here.

-Z-

  • Zgharteghrine: Aramaic for fortress or forbidden place. Initially, a composed word, Zghar-teghrine, meant to indicate the Fortress of Controversy.
  • Zahlé: Syriac for moving places
  • Ziftâ: Aramaic for The Edge.
  • Zgharta: Aramaic for The Fortress and could also be Syriac for the barricades.

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While we come to the end of our extensive list, the Lebanese villages carrying ancient names don’t end with it. Lebanon is an ancient land and most if not all of our existing towns and cities were built and named thousands of years ago. Pronunciations might have altered with the passing times but our towns and cities remain, rooted far deep in the history of humanity.

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