Bsharri is a Lebanese town at 1,650 m of altitude, near the Kadisha Valley. Bsharri is just under the Cedar forest and is the birthplace of the famous poet, painter and sculptor Khalil Gibran who now has a museum in the town to honor him.
The name Bsharri can be found in the Phoenician language meaning "The House Of Ishtar", Ishtar being a goddess worshipped by the Phoenicians (and King Salomon) before monotheistic faiths (Judaism, Christianity and Islam) were adopted in the area.
Bsharri was the site of a Phoenician settlement in ancient times. Maronite Christians fleeing persecution sought refuge in its mountainous terrain in the 7th Century AD. The Kadisha Valley, below the town, became the spiritual center of the Maronite Church. The town was known as Buissera by the Crusades.
In Lebanon, Bsharri natives are characterized as very courageous and fiercely tribal. They are especially known for their distinct accent when they speak Arabic. Unlike other parts of Lebanon, Aramaic was spoken in Bsharri well into the 1800s. As a result, Bsharri natives developed an unmistakably strong accent which lasts to this day and which they are very proud of.
During the Lebanese civil war (1975–1990), Bsharri was a bastion of Christian resistance against Syrians. In 1986 Samir Geagea, a Bsharri native, became head of the Christian Lebanese Forces (LF) movement. Many LF militants were drawn from the town during the civil war. Bsharri natives are often referred to as the defenders of the Maronites in Lebanon.
This town is still neglected by the government, having no hospital, no university, and no projects that provide careers to its youth, forcing them to move to cities and foreign countries.
Today, the town is located in a highly touristic zone including such attractions as the Khalil Gibran Tomb and Museum, Kadisha Valley where Antonios Torbey lived as Hermite in the Hermitage of St. Lichaa down in the valley; the Kadisha Grotto, the Cedars of God forest, a ski resort and Bka'kafra (the birthplace of St Charbel).
Bsharri is home to a Lebanese Red Cross First Aid Center. Also it is home for the "The Maronite Scouts" that started their activities early 2000.
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I love the story of this town in Lebanon. There is so much beautiful history in this country and the world should know about it. Lebanon is heaven on earth! Viva Liban!!! God bless Lebanon and her people!