Friday, April 18, 2008

Beit Eddin Palace

Beit Eddin Palace: The road to Beit Eddin leaves the coastal highway 17 kilometers beyond Beirut, just a few kilometers after the town of Damour. From there it climbs quickly along the beautiful Damour river valley for 26 kilometers to an elevation of 850 meters at Beit Eddin palace. The most spectacular view of the palace and its surroundings is from the village of Monastery of the Moon (Deir El-Qamar), five kilometers before Beit Eddin. The Beit Eddin palace complex, Lebanon's best example of early 19th century Lebanese architecture, was built over a thirty year period by Emir Bechir El-Chehab II, who ruled Mount Lebanon for more than half a century.

With its arcades, galleries and rooms decorated by artists from Lebanon, Damascus and Italy, this building is considered a model of eastern architecture. It has decorated ceiling, colorful mosaic floors, luxurious Ottoman baths, numerous glass-studded cupolas, harem suites overlooking the wonderful valley of Deir El-Qamar, a guest house in which the French poet Lamartine once dwelt, water jets and wonderful colonnades. Today the palace houses a museum of feudal weapons, costumes and jewelry as well as an archaeological museum and a museum of Byzantine Mosaics.

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