Baaqline in the Shouf District holds an important place in
Lebanon's history. The town is said to date back to Emir Maan,
who came from Aleppo with his people in the 12th century to
fight the Crusaders. He was the one who laid the foundations
of Baaqline in 1120 AD. Later on Emir Maan established the
Maan dynasty that lasted until the late 17th century.
Fakhreddine II was also born here.
Considered one of the founders of modern Lebanon, Fakhreddine
used Baaqline as his capital before moving the administration
to Deir el-Qamar. Baaqline was also the seat of the Mount
Lebanon government during Ottoman times.
Unfortunately, the great feudal palaces of
Fakhreddine and other rulers that once stood here have
disappeared with time. But one building remains to give us a
hint of old Baaqline, This is the Grand Serail--the beautiful
government building constructed in 1837. It was from these
grand halls that the governor of Mount Lebanon ruled before
the capital was moved to Baabda.
The Serail sits a spacious square in the
west part of town and has a graceful porch supported by three
classical columns. The building was carefully restored in 1987
and transformed into a library with reading rooms and a
collection of books in Arabic, French, English and other
You will enjoy this pleasant quiet town,
tucked away in the heart of the Shouf at 860 meters elevation.
Baaqline is known for its olives which can still be seen
growing in mountain terraces. It is also famous for beautiful
If you feel adventuresome, ask about the
footpath that leads down into the valley for some 12 km. The
route goes past a large sinkhole, a kind of underground cave,
and continues on to two swimming pools on the Nahr al-Hamman.