Deir el Kamar
Deir El Kamar is a Christian town known as the Capital of Emirs.
It has been the capital of Mount Lebanon for almost two hundred years (from the 16th century until the 18th century). All religious denominations existed in the town before 1860. This is why you can find a mosque, a synaguoge, and many Christian churches.
In the year 1860, a great turmoil incited by the Ottomans struck Lebanon. Deir El Kamar was surrounded by the aggressors. More than two thousand Christian men and young boys and twelve monks were decapitated or shot to death. Then, the Druze set the town on fire. Napoleon sent seven thousand french soldiers to separate the Druze and Christians. They arrived after three months. They took the bodies of the dead and buried them outside Saydet El Talle Church (Our Lady of the Hill). The remains were moved later and placed inside a wall in the Church. The inhabitants call them the martyrs of Deir El Kamar. Today, Deir El Kamar is a Christian town: 85 % of its inhabitants are Maronites and 14 % are Greek Catholics.
The most important religious site in Deir El Kamar is Saydet El Talle (Our Lady of the Hill) Maronite Church. The inhabitants have a special devotion to Saydet El Talle.
The church goes back to the 15th century. The legend says that there was a Druze Emir in Baakline looking at the hill of Deir El Kamar. He saw a light coming out of the hill. He gathered his soldiers and ordered them to go in the morning and dig in the land. He said to them: 'If you find an Islamic symbol, build a mosque. If you find a Christian symbol, build a church." The soldiers went in the morning, dug in the land and found a rock with a cross on it and under the cross there was the moon and venus. That was the sign that long time ago, there was a temple dedicated to the moon and venus and later it became a church. Earthquakes and wars might be the reason for its disappearance.
The Church is characterized by its beauty and simplicity. Above the old gate of the church, you can see a rock representing the cross victorious over the worship of the Moon and Venus. Within the Church you can see a Byzantine column and the miraculous icon of our Lady of the Hill painted in 1867 by the Italian artist Guerra. Inside the shrine, there is the second icon of Our Lady of the Hill and the remains of the martyrs of Deir El Kamar killed in 1860. In the musueum, you can see church vestments, offerings to Our Lady of the Hill and pictures of the artist Asaad Renno which trace the history of Deir El Kamar and the miracles of the Virgin, Saydet El Talle.
Three minutes from Saydet El Talle, you can reach the Mount of the Cross where the Lamb of God Shrine was built in 2007. It is a place of prayer and meditation. Inside the Shrine, you can see the Chapel of the Lamb of God, the statue of Our Lady the Queen of Peace, the Blue Cross, the Nativity Grotto, the tower of Saint Rafqa and a retreat house.
Two hundreds meter away from the Lamb of God Shrine, a big cross built by Abouna Yacoub the Capuchin in 1932. Under the Cross, you can visit the Church of Abouna Yacoub, an old building restored and consecrated as a church in June 24, 2008.