Remains and Resort 18 km)
The sudden dramatic height of Mount Lebanon gives Beit Mery,
at 800 meters, spectacular views of the Beirut peninsula and
large sections of the coast. This
is a popular resort with good restaurants, entertainment and
hotels ready to receive visitors.
The town is also the scene of an annual winter cultural
festival that features international drama and dance groups as
well as orchestras and chamber ensembles.
In the center of town, a sign-posted road to the right leads
to the Maronite Monastery of Saint John the Baptist
(known as Deir el-Qalaa) and Beit Mery’s Roman and Byzantine
remains. This huge site
on a strategic location overlooking Beirut, is on three
the top are the ruins of a Roman temple to the important local
god Baal Marqod which has a church built on part of its
church, dedicated to Saint John the Baptist was constructed in
1750 and has apparently been rebuilt a number of times since
then. The inscription
above the main door bears the date 1768, the year the church
was first built. The old church is incorporated into the present early 20th
temple itself, probably dating to the first century AD, has
masonry intact up to three meters.
Three of the six columns are still standing, although
not at their original height.
short walk down the hill leads to the site of a small second
century AD temple to the goddess Juno.
A monumental doorway still stands amid a jumble of
ancient stones, some with Latin inscriptions.
This door-way was probably the start of a processional
path between the two temples.
the Juno temple is an extensive area of scattered ruins. Of
particular note is the mosaic floor of a 6th century Byzantine
church with one of the reused temple columns in place.
Nearby is a remarkably well preserved public bath.
In one of its rooms it is possible to observe the
heating system through a hole broken in the floor.
The hypocaust tiles, used to conduct heat, are all in
a Roman-Byzantine settlement, the entire site is littered with
remains of more temples, a second bath and a colonnaded