Tourist Attractions - Beiteddine

Location: 43 Kilometers from Beirut.
Era: Early 19th century.

 

One of the Lebanon's major tourist attractions is Beiteddine. The palace is made of a series of museums and gardens that also display a range of historic snapshots of different times.  It is also recommended to visit the nearby "Dei Al Qamar".

Beiteddine, "The House of Faith" was built by Emir Bechir El Chehab II, who ruled Mount-Lebanon for more than half a century. The palace remained the emir's residence until his forced exile in 1840. After that the Ottomans used the building as the government residence.
The palace was built over a period of thirty years and is a great example of early 19th century Lebanese architecture.
The palace is divided into several sections. At the heart of it lies Dar El Wousta. A double stairway at one end of the courtyard is the entrance to this central section. This whole part is merely an introduction to the luxuries passages, rooms and offices that are to come in further sections of the dar. The beauty of the architecture and the greenery surrounding it give the visitors a glimpse of Lebanon's past.
   
Dar El Harim, is the most private section of the palace. Its balconies and its vast terraced valley overlook the impressive view of the palace's surroundings .
This section is composed of a large and richly decorated fa├žade, the Upper and Lower Harem, the reception room or salamlik, the baths and the kitchens. The salamlik, also called the "Room of the Column"  is famous for its elaborate mosaic floor, its marble walls and sculptures. From this room, Emir Bechir ruled his estates.
   
One of the most notable features of the dar is its vaulted stables that used to accommodate 600 horses and 500 of the emir's guards. The stables are now used to display a vast collection of Byzantine mosaics that date back to the 5th and 6th century. The largest of them was originally a part of a Byzantine church in the coastal city of Jiyyeh.