SOUK EL GHARB
Souk El Gharb is a village in the Mount Lebanon Governorate, Aley District. it is a prosperous mountain resort in a pine forest and overlooking Saint George Bay and Beirut. Being only a few kilometers from the mountain city of Aley, it is considered today one of Aley’s suburbs.
While visiting this village you will be amazed by the architecture; There are identifiable Roman ruins in the town. There are buildings dating back at least to the 16th Century.
This history is tied to the history of its main church, the Saint George Abbey Church and Monastery, founded in 1575, though some references indicate that it goes back to Crusader times in the 12th and 13th century, based on engravings of royal French insignia. Further, archaeological evidence speaks of even much earlier habitation to sometime B.C.
The villages that lie between Aley and Souk El Gharb are Bmakine and the two Ains (the modern spelling in Lebanese is 3ayn): Ain el-Sayydé (our Lady’s spring), and Ain el-Rimmané (the spring of the pomegranate). South of Souk El Gharb lies the village of Kaifoun.
- The Saint George Greel Catholic Abbey of Bmakine.
- The Saint George Greek Orthodox Abbey, which was started in 1570 and serves as the Summer seat of the Orthodox Metropolitan of Beirut
- Note, An abbey is a place of worship associated with a monastery.
Schools and universities
Souk El Gharb was famous for several schools:
- The Souk El Gharb Presbyterian School (alumni include Abraham Rihbany),
- The Souk El Gharb College of Lebanon,
- The Souk El Gharb Technical Institute and College,
- The Souk el Gharb School for English Instruction, and
- The Souk El Gharb Boarding School for Boys.
- The Balamand university in Souk El Gharb.
Families in Souk El-Gharb
Among the first families to settle in Souk El-Gharb were families of Attieh, Baroody, Hajjar, Saba, Saleeby, Khalaf, Chouairy,Nassar, followed by Aoun, Ashouh, Kanaan, Yazigy , Hitti, Kallouseyya, Doumit, Germanos, ,Majadalani, Tayar, Makdissi, Baghdassarian, Sadek, Khabbaz, Jannikians, Manoushagian, Sarafian, Bedirian, Bozoyan, Zatkhian, Kupelian, Baytarian, Khanjian, Torossian, Hagopian, Kraidie, Chahwaan, Khoury, Harfouche, Khatib, other families that settled in Souk el Gharb more recently were Beyhum, Ghandour, Takieddine and Zaher. Others like the Sursock, Trad and Tueni.
Western missionaries made the town their home in the 1850′s.