Ras el Metn is approached from Mansourieh along a road that
winds through an unspoiled landscape of pine-clad hills. The
village itself, visible on a high mountain ridge, holds the
promise of spectacular views. From its heights (between 800
and 1,000 meters) one can also look out across the valley to
the towns of Dhour Chweir, Baabdat, Broumana and Beit Mery.
This villages which have about 10,000
people, is notable for its sense of civic pride. It is also
the birthplace of one of Lebanon's most famous modern
personalities, the writer Anis Freiha.
The beautiful umbrella pines that surround
the village are a source of valuable pine nuts, while olives,
grapes, figs, apricots and other fruits are cultivated here as
A look around Ras El Metn will reveal a
number of interesting sights. On a high hill stands a large
serail, or government house, built by the Lamaayeen
princes in 1775. The huge building later served as a high
school. Although damaged in Lebanon's recent war, one can
still appreciate the serail's elegant courtyard and bell
tower. Restoration work is planned for the near future.
Also scheduled for restoration is the
spring known as Nabaa Ein el Marj, found in the lower part of
the village. Remarkable for its arched facade built in 1472,
the plaque recording its construction is still in place.
Much older, are the ancient tombs carved
into the rocky cliffs and headlands of Ras El Metn,
while just below the village the refuge of a holy woman, Sitt
Sarah can be found in a rock-
According to the legend, a rock
miraculously opened into a cave to shelter Sitt Sarah as she
fled from danger. Finally carved from living stone, the site
is an ancient tomb chamber. Hikers should also ask about the
Grotto of Hiskan, which is about a two hours walk from the