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him to examine, at his ease, the pictu- | ancient cedars and to cross into the valley resque scenes, which succeed one another, of Ba'albek. And yet no landscape of so as almost to bewilder him. There, as Greece or Italy can in wildness and subamong the Alps, he may travel whole days limity be compared with that of the source to arrive at a spot which was in sight when of the Libnan and its passage beneath Issrhe set out. He turns, he descends, he el-Hajr. Immediately below the highest winds round, he climbs; and under this crest of Jebel-Sunnin, the copious river perpetual change of position, one is ready bursts forth from a deep grotto and rushes to think that a magic power is varying through a cleft between immense precipiat every step the beauties of the landces with headlong speed toward the bridge. scape. The truth of this lively descrip- A rocky ledge, rising more than two huntion we fully experienced on our perilous dred feet above the river, has been perfoascent to el-Mezra'ah. The old sheik of the rated by nature, and formed into a huge village received us very cordially, and we arch, through which the chafing torrent passed a comfortable night after the fa- forces its way among detached rocks hurled tigues of the day. Mezra'ah consists of down by an earthquake into the chasm some sixty houses, and appeared to be a below. The bridge is of so regular a forthriving place. The steep descent towards mation that one would at the first sight Ajelun in the valley of Nahr-Salib is ter- suppose it to be the work of human hands. raced and planted with mulberry trees, silk It offers a far grander spectacle than the being the principal produce of the Kesra- celebrated Ponte di Lupo near Tivoli in wan. At two hours' distance from Mezra'ah Italy, or the Teufelsbrüke in the Alps, and lie the interesting ruins generally called Ku- bears a striking resemblance to the natural la'at Fakra, or the castle of Fakra, which we bridge in Virginia, though the wild and barvisited next morning. These ruins occupy ren mountain-scenery of the Lebanon has a a most singular site on a barren hill, imme- sterner and less pleasing character, than the diately below the frowning heights of Je- beautiful wood-clad hills of the "Oid Dobel-Sunnin, in a wilderness of rocks, water- minion." The Issr-el-Hajr is situated 4,926 falls, and perfect solitude. The walls con- feet above the level of the Mediterranean, sist of large square blocks, and are in some according to the admeasurement of Colonel parts well preserved. We entered on the De Wildenbruch, at that time Prussian east into the interior, and found there the Consul-General at Beirut. Dr. H. A. De ruins of a temple; three bases of columns Forest found the water of the fountain 41° are still standing on the platform, a few Fahrenheit, while the air at the time frusta, parts of an Ionic capital, and inwas 57°. teresting fragments of the entablature are lying around. Other ruins, in total desolation, are seen outside the castle, or fortified temple. As to the period to which these temple-ruins belong, and their real name, history is silent. Strabo, the geographer, mentions several castles, such as Sinnan and Borrhama, in this part of the higher regions of the Lebanon: perhaps these castle ruins may have belonged to one of them.

An ascent of twenty-five minutes brought us to the Issr-el-Bughaleh, or Issr-elHajr, the famous natural bridge of Mount Lebanon. The great distance from the coast, and the fatigue of the rocky roads, must certainly be the cause why this remarkable scenery, the most terrible and romantic of the Lebanon, is so seldom enjoyed by Syrian travellers. Few climb to the snowy regions, except to see the

Along a very rough path we followed the course of Nahr-Libnan, and descended to the woody region of Meiruba. Large pine-forests covered the sides of the mountains; rocks and water-courses were adorned with large masses of rhododendron, or laurel rose, which, by its white and violet flowers and rich foliage, distinguished itself from the more common purple oleander in the valleys on the coast. We crossed the deep bed of Nahr-Assil, where all on a sudden three magnificent waterfalls burst on our sight. The cascades came thundering down the steep declivities from the snowy top of Jebel-Sunnin; the spray of the dashing waters rose in a hazy cloud through the wild chasm, and, reflected by the meridian rays of the sun, launched a most glorious rainbow, like an aerial bridge, across the gloomy glen below. A more splendid sight I never saw.


Great are the hardships of the traveller | tempting to enter. They crossed each who in the early months of the year tra- other, got entangled, and occasioned such verses Mount Lebanon; but he is amply a confusion, that it lasted a good while berewarded by a freshness of vegetation, a fore the first lady could disengage herself variety of coloring, of light and shade, a and her horn, and enter the room. picturesque relief of glittering snows and whole party then came on, one by one; foaming waterfalls, all which he would but sitting down on the 'cushions spread look for in vain during the later season, out on the floor, they were obliged to pay when the gray, colorless limestone rocks constant attention to the movements of around, and the cloudless burning sky their neighbors, and bring their own horns above, will soon force him to seek a refuge in harmony with theirs. This tantur is the in the mulberry groves of some village or most inconvenient, silly, and unbecoming monastery on the western hills nearer the head-gear I ever saw; but the ladies on coast, and enjoying the refreshing breezes the mountain are exceedingly fond of it, from the sea. At an early hour in the and a prohibition to wear it on the part of afternoon, we arrived at the pretty village the husband, they say, would most seriof Meiruba, pleasantly situated at the foot ously endanger the harmony of the family. of Jebel-Shebruh, high above the deep and narrow Wady-Salib. We alighted at the house of the Sheik Feris-Chassim, who politely offered us accommodations for the night; but the evening being lovely, we preferred to encamp beneath the mulberry trees, which form a fine grove around the village. At Meiruba we saw the first cedars, which only distinguished themselves from other fir-trees by the remarkable length of their branches; they were far inferior to the splendid cedars we a few months later saw at Warwick Castle, and on the lakes of Westmoreland, in England. While Mustapha and the muleteers were pitching the tents, we followed the sheik to his house, on a ledge overlooking the valley, where a most curious scene took place. In all the villages in Syria the houses are stone-built, with flat roofs, and doors so low that the person who enters is obliged to stoop. This custom, said our landlord, had been adopted as a protection against the haughty Turks, who, finding a high door-way, would enter the houses on horseback, and quarter their steeds in the best part of the dwelling. It happened to be a holy day at Meiruba, and the Maronite Christians, men, women, and children, in their festal dresses, were paying visits or enjoying themselves among the trees. The women, particularly, were distinguished by the tantur, a high silver or brazen horn, which is attached to the forehead, and covered by a long white veil hanging down at full length behind. We had hardly been seated, and lighted our nargilés, before half a dozen horns all at once appeared at the low entrance, at


Meiruba is surrounded by the wildest mountain scenery of the Kesrawan; the ascent to it is by the worst of roads, and yet it became the battle-ground between the Egyptians and Turks during the war in 1840. The old sheik gave me an animated description of those military movements in a region where a mule can hardly find its way along the precipices. The united Anglo-Austro-Ottoman fleet had disembarked an army of twelve thousand troops, with a numerous artillery, in the bay of Juneh, on the main road leading along the coast from Beirut to Tripolis, and northern Syria. A fortified camp had been thrown up, and a communication opened with the mountaineers of the Lebanon, Druzes, and Maronites, when Ibrahim-Pasha, at the head of eight thousand of his best troops from Zahleh, in the plain of the Buka'a, passed the mountain by the pass of Sunnin, and descended along those horrible paths, so well known to us, by Biskinta and Mezra'ah to Meiruba, where he encamped. From thence he sent off different columns across the deep glen of Nahr-el-Salib towards the coast to reconnoitre the Turkish camp, and take position for a general attack. But on those nearly impassable ridges he was suddenly attacked by several Turkish battalions, led on by daring British officers, and, at the same time, discovered the armed Druze and Maronite mountaineers from the heights in his rear on all sides descending towards Meiruba. The Egyptian troops, therefore, after a short and ineffectual resistance, were forced to abandon their camp and baggage, and in wild dis


thickly covered with the fragrant white and blue agnus-castus and purple oleander— the glorious tri-color of all the valleys of Syria-stood a camp of Turkish cavalry. The Arab horsemen were galloping along the sands, throwing their lances, and wheeling about their rapid and beautiful chargers, in the presence of some gravelooking Turkish officers in European uniforms, smoking their chiboukis before the khan on the bridge of Nahr-Ibrahim. What a picture for an artist! The variegated moving groups on the yellow sands, the sea-green tents with their red streaming bandrols, the high vaulted bridge over the deep glassy river, the wood-clad mountains, and the glittering sea, all illuminated by the soft and mellow hues of a Syrian sky! And yet interesting as is the scenery of Mount Lebanon, we felt extremely happy here on the sandy shore with the foaming surge and the broad horizon of the Mediterranean before us, after our toilsome and perilous scrambling among the rocks; nay, even our horses seemed to partake of our delight, and carried us at full speed along the rocky coast towards the ancient towers of Jebail, which invited us from afar. In an hour and a half we reached the gate, and, saluting the grimlooking Albanian warriors, who formed the garrison, with their own usual greeting, "Besa gia besa," (truce be between us,) we passed them unmolested, and dismounted at the Armenian convent. This establishment was inhabited by five or six monks, and looked as gloomy and uncomfortable as the city of Adonis itself. Jebail is surrounded by walls and towers, which seem to have been built during the crusades with ancient materials. The castle has a strong situation on the south of the city, near the coast, and forms a massive square, built up with enormous blocks. All the lower courses are evidently the work of antiquity; but the upper part is Saracenic, and the whole was in a totally dilapidated condition. In the interior is a Gothic Christian church, now used as barracks for the Arnaut garrison. A fine orange grove extends from the castle towards the shore, where the British marines suffered a severe repulse in 1840. A squadron having anchored off the coast, began to batter the fortress; and, meeting with no resistance, a body of

order, pursued by the light-footed Druzes, to find their way across the heights of Jebel-Sunnin to the main body of the army encamped in the plain of Ba'albek.

On the 30th of May, we descended to the coasts of the Mediterranean. We had complained of the former roads in the higher regions of the mountain, and yet this last journey proved the most fatiguing. We were obliged to dismount and to lead the horses by the bridle over rocks, where they hardly found a footing, and every moment seemed in danger of being precipitated into the valley below. From every turn of the path, splendid views of the most varied scenery opened to the interior valleys of the Lebanon. These lower regions were beautifully clothed with wood; laurel, myrtle, arbutus, thymelaæa, holmoak, different species of pines, and other evergreens, formed a thick-set forest, above which here and there arose a venerable cedar spreading its dark branches far away over the precipices. In three hours we reached the last mountain terrace overlooking the deep valley of the river Adonis, the Wady-Nahr-Ibrahim, and the distant coast of Jebail. The heat at noon became oppressive. We therefore stopped at the convent Mar-Deina, the only inhabited place we had seen since we left Meiruba in the morning; and, pitching our tents beneath the beautiful trees on the very edge of the rocks above the valley of Adonis, we awaited the breeze in the afternoon springing up from the sea. These woody highlands were in mythology the favorite haunts of Adonis, the hunter, the Phoenician personification of the Sungod, and lover of Astarte, who was killed by the wild boar, and by the sorrowing goddess transformed into a rose. The Greeks afterwards took up this pretty Syrian fable, representing the return of the sun after the autumnal equinox, and the withering approach of winter, and instituted the worship of Adonis at the splendid temple at Byblos.

The prospect over the sea from the height of Deir-Mar-Deina is fine, and it increases in beauty as the traveller descends towards the bridge crossing the Adonis, at the base of the mountain. The interior of Lebanon we had found a solitude; here at once we met with life and movement. On the banks of the river,

marines landed, and marched through the orange garden straight towards the castle, which they supposed evacuated by the enemy. Yet close to the walls, they were suddenly received with a well sustained fire from the long Albanian toufekis, which sent death and destruction into their ranks. The proud red-coats, who had neglected to reconnoitre the environs, now at once perceived the impossibility of scaling those high and strong walls beneath a galling fire from invisible foes. They attempted in vain to rally, and bring up some field-pieces. The stout Albanians continued their terrible fire, and soon forced the British with a heavy loss to make a speedy retreat to their boats.

Jebail is the ancient Byblos, which, according to Strabo, lay on a hill at some distance from the sea. Its inhabitants were good mechanics; they particularly excelled in the art of working in wood, and are said to have been employed by the Tyrians, and even by the Jews in the building of the great temple at Jerusalem.

The present town is the seat of poverty and misery. The harbor is destroyed and covered with ruins; commerce has fled; the bazars are shut up and abandoned, and the khans and public places are filled with marauding Albanian soldiery. The few inhabitants mostly live in the fields; they are Maronite Christians, and cultivate that famous black tobacco so well known in the Levant by the name of Jebail. It is aromatic, of an exceedingly pleasant flavor, and inferior only to that of Lataki, (Laodicea,) a city situated north of Tripolis.

The unsettled state of the northern parts of Syria, the sedition in the valley of Kadisha, and the military movements along the coast, caused us at present to renounce our visit to the cedars, and next morning, May the 31st, to return to Beirut.

We left Jebail at seven o'clock, and after a pleasant ride of three hours along the coast, we passed the promontory of Klimax, and arrived in the fine bay of Juneh. Further south, along blue ridge, studded with white specks, the houses of the distant city of Beirut, reminded us of the limit of our Syrian travels: Juneh consists only of a row of magazines and storehouses for the export of the silks and productions of Zuk-Mekavil, the thriving little 17


capital of the Kesrawan, which has a most romantic and beautiful situation on the hills, overlooking the valley of Anturah and the sea. We here left the coast and ascended to Zuk through a grove of high Italian pines. Its Maronite inhabitants pressed around us, and offered us hospitality with an earnestness not often to be met with in this country; the greatest part of them are silk-weavers, saddlers, and shoemakers. Almost every house has a loom. The people here are industrious, intelligent, and in consequence, better dressed and lodged than in other parts of the mountain. The whole region is thickly planted with mulberry trees. The silkworms are kept in separate houses, or bowers, made of branches, and are attended with particular care. Charming as are the views from the hill of Zuk-Mekavil, those from the nunnery of Deir-Sidi-elBsherra are still far superior. A road lined with hedges of prickly pear, and here and there adorned with clusters of majestic pines, leads to the convent lying on a high hill commanding an extensive horizon over sea and land. Deir-el-Bsherra contained at the time of our visit twentyfive nuns. It is a large, solid, square building of hewn freestone, with many small windows carefully closed by Turkish verandahs, and surrounded by gardens, well watered, and filled with fig, lemon, orange, and pomegranate trees. On our arrival, a Maronite clergyman politely bade us welcome, and conducted us to a small neat house on the southern terrace of the convent, where the guests, the mousafirides, are lodged. Coffee and pipes were brought, and in the afternoon a savory dinner was served. It consisted of several dishes, the usual pilau, kapamas, or lamb with tomatoes and onions, boiled fish, fruits, sweetmeats, and some bottles of delicious vino d'oro from the Lebanon.

We obtained permission to visit the church and the convent-garden, but did not see any of the Maronite nuns, though we inferred that they were willing to get a look at the fair-haired Anglo-Saxons, as we heard them talking and tittering from behind their wooden kafasi, or Turkish blinds. They are said to be well treated and happy. At certain hours of the day they work in the garden and tend their silkworms.

Anturah has been well chosen for a seat of study on account of the seclusion, the salubrity of the climate, and the beauty of its environs. From the terrace of the college, which is shaded with magnificent orange trees, lofty as chestnuts in other countries, and covered with thousands of their golden fruit, we, for the last time, viewed this wonderfully charming scenery of Syria. We here heard of the arrival at Beirut of the Austrian steamer, which, in a day or two, was to take us back to Europe. This obliged us to decline the invitation of the professors to dine with them at college, and after a short visit we mounted our horses for the last ride. Our road lay through groves of pine and chestnut, and extensive vineyards ascending to the pretty villages and convents, which everywhere, here in the Kesrawan, crown the tops of the hills.

The environs of the convent are terraced, and form one continual mulberry grove. Silk appears to be its principal wealth. The upper terrace commands a magnificent panorama : numerous monasteries and villages are seen crowning the prominent ridges, all separated by deep and narrow ravines, or by sloping fertile valleys. Groups of dark cypresses and pines, relieved by pale olive woods, give quite an Italian character to the landscape. Northeastward, on an elevated brow, stands the large Maronite convent Bkirky, where the patriarch resides during winter; still higher on a steep conical hill rises Harispa, with towers and battlements, the Franciscan monastery. At an hour's distance in the charming valley below, lies the well-known college of Anturah, and beyond it DeirMar-Elyas, many other cloisters, and above them the soaring snow-capped masses of Jebel-Kuneiyiseh, one of the loftiest summits of Lebanon. Beirut itself is not seen; it lies hid by the promontory of the Dog river, Ras-Nahr-el-Kelb; but the dark expanse of the sea, with the fine deep bay of Juneh, complete this panorama, which hardly has its equal even in Syria.

Next morning we sent off our muleteers with the tents and baggage directly for Beirut, while we paid a visit to the French in Anturah. The college was originally established by the Jesuits, and on the dissolution of that order in 1764, it was transferred to their successors the Lazarists, like all other establishments and possessions belonging to that order in Greece and the Levant. There were four professors, several Arab teachers, and fifty-eight students, all very comfortably lodged in the convent. The house is airy, and built in the style of architecture of Southern France. The rooms are furnished in the European manner; library, bedrooms and refectory are remarkably clean. and well kept, and every attention paid to the health and comfort of the students. Several European travellers, studying the Arabic, take their board and lodging in the convent. Among the French missionaries, who in this college prepared for their vocation, were two young Lazarists, with whom I had made the passage from Smyrna to Beirut the winter before. In the latter city the order possesses another



We left on our right Zuk-Mekavil and Musbah, towards the mountain Deir-Tannis, and descended from the plateau by a most dangerous zigzag path to the deep and shady valley of the Dog river, Nahr-elKelb. Several melancholy accidents had happened here. A few years ago the Pope's legate to the Maronites was precipitated, by a stumble of his horse, into the deep glen below, where he perished. We prudently dismounted and conducted the trembling animals over the most dangerous places. All went well; we reached the banks of the glassy and voiceless Nahr-el-Kelb, whose headspring we had seen some days before among the foaming water-falls of WadySalib on the bleak table-land of Jebel-Shebruh. What a wonderful change of scenery, climate and vegetation does the traveller meet with in Syria! The Dog river flows in a deeply contracted gorge of high perpendicular rocks, leaving only a narrow margin on its right bank covered with trees and rushes. On our sudden appearance in the ravine, some horses, which were grazing on the river side, took fright and galloped on before us, and although we attempted to get up with them and bring them back, the narrowness of the path did not permit it, and they continued their headlong career to the opening of the valley, at the embouchure of the river, to the great despair of the little Arab horse-boy trudging along in the rear.

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