• Casa: Jbail
  • Distance from Beirut: 67 km
  • Altitude: 1120 m
  • Access Jbail-Amchit-Gherfine-Abaydat-Makra-Lehfed-Jaj-Tartij
General and historical information

A composed Syriac name meaning “the mountain of the crown” (due to the snow that covers its top) or “the wavy mountain”. It has existed since ancient times, as is often the case with old Lebanese villages in Jbail, and there are still some important features, like pagan temples and stone sarcophagi. In the past, its roads were alleys stacked with rubble and dust, just wide enough for horses, mules and donkeys. At some point, the locals decided to expand it. Tartij is in a mountainous area, with different peaks, hills, plains and valleys. “Qornat Ain Al Dib” is the highest top in the mountain (1895m), followed by “ Qommat Ain Al Marbout”, “Jourat Al Maktoul”, “Jourat Al Touteh” and “Al Wata”. Together, these heights form the unique mountain mass named “Jabal Tartij” (the mountain of Tartij).

The mountain of Tartij was characterized by limestone rocks, full of holes, which hold snow throughout the year. Throughout the summers of ancient times, people used to carry the snow from the mountain of Prince Bachir the Second, every Friday, and sell it in Beirut. Inhabitants are distinguished for their Maronite Christian roots.

Monuments and sites to visit

The Phoenician monuments:

  • The Old Citadel of Tartij was where the hall of the Church of Our Lady is now. Some huge pillars have been found, and a number of big cavities and stone carafes are still installed at the entrance of the church. The elderly of the town remember three high arches, and a big rock on which was carved the head of a king.
  • Sarcophagus wagon: At some point in the past, the local people, wanting to make room for new buildings, started to get rid of the sarcophagi, since they did not realize their importance. One of the few remaining temples provided the structure of the current St. George’s church. And the jar (jurin) that used to contain the victim’s blood is still at the corner of the altar to this day.
  • Qalaat Al Hazana (Broken-Hearted Citadel):

Located in the region of “the Monkey’s Tomb” in north Tartij, this structure could be related to the legend of Astarte and Adonis, whose rites are characterized by grieving, crying and lamentation.

  • The Roman monuments:

Different types of Roman monuments exist in Tartij, such as the fountains carved into the rock in the fountain citadel. Father Henry Lamens wrote: “I saw in the corner of the church, on the north side, a stone wall with a relief of a wild animal, still visible in front of the south entrance of the church. And in Tartij Mountain, there are more than 20 Roman epigraphs on the rock; it shows the interest of Emperor Hadrian to protect the existing trees, some of which people were not allowed to cut without authorization, like cedars, pines, oaks, and junipers.

  • Caves and grottos:

There are several caves in Tartij, like Dahr Al Moghr, which was visited by many French missionaries. Inside you will find the remains of human skeletons, primitive tools, stone benches, fonts, and stalactites.

Churches and monasteries: (for the keys, contact Mr. Joseph Akl: 03/241 130)

  • Al Saydeh Church (Our Lady):

Built on the remains of an old temple, with stones from Tartij Citadel used in its construction. The proof is the north corner stone carving of an animal with a crushed head. Nowadays, with its new design, the church is considered one of the most beautiful churches of the region. A new, 30-meter  cupola is built beside the church. On the roof of the old church was a stone cupola, with a cross on top of it, and inside it a bell made in Beit Chabab. Later, the cupola was transferred to St. George’s church.

 

  • Mar Geryes Parish Church (St. Georges):

This is a modern church with a unique architectural design. Tartij is known for blending stones and concrete when building churches and shrines. The belfry, 15 meters high, is composed of three floors separated by a cornice carved out of stone.

 

  • Mar Geryes Monastery (St. Georges):

St. George is the patron of the village, and honoring him is an old local tradition. Many stories are told about his protection of the village and about his blessings; he’s the source of the villagers’ positive, adventurous and vivacious mentality. It was the first place for Christian worship. An old barrel-vaulted building, dating to ancient times, built with huge stones, mostly not reed. The basis of the old altar (made of rock), shows that it was built a long time ago. On the side is an old jar with engravings that used to contain the blood of the martyrs from the reign of the pagans.

 

  • Mar Sarkis wa Bakhos Monastery (Sts. Sergius and Bacchus):

An old building, of which excavations show that a big part of it is still hidden. Old parts of mosaics were found around it, and when the inhabitants converted to Christianity, they built their homes around it. There is also a spring in it from that time. It seems it’s a Bezant’s model, and it is said that it was a monastery built on the remains of a Roman temple.

 

  • Mar Antonios Monastery (St. Anthony of Padua):

St.  Anthony is known as a guide for lost people, and the companion of travelers. The monastery is built up on a hill, and is not older than two centuries.

Local products and agriculture

Local products: Apples, grapes, pears, plums, cherries (in the past, Tartij was known for its tobacco culture).

Local activities

Walking trails: Contact Mr. Toni Makhoul or Mr. Joseph Akl (03/241 130)

From St. George church to the area of metals: two hours

From St. George church – St. George Reserve- The Ferdos area – Qatteen al Oal: three hours.

Mar Geryes Feast: a traditional dinner in the church square on April 22, and November 3. Father Boulos (03/ 715 132)

A public park for children: established by the municipality with the cooperation of ACTEL.

Food and beverages

Snack Nelly: (06/ 715 053)

Al Layali Al Atika restaurant: 71/ 727 202

Local guides

Ms. Larine Akl: 71/ 526 117

Useful informations

Tartij Municipality Dispensary (06/715 300)

Gaz Station