Baissour

District of Aley

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Baissour

Arabic: بيصور‎
Located in the District of Aley, 7 km from Aley. Known as the first town in Lebanon to be shone on by the sun.

Etymology

Origins

The word “Baissour”
is derived from the
Arami-Syriani language,
meaning
“house of the potter”.

Location

Co-Ordinates
Longitude: 33 ° 45’55” N Latitude: 35 ° 34’03” E Area: • City 7 km2 Elevation: 850 – 950 m
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Discover Baissour

The village of Baissour is located just 7kms from Aley, sharing a border with Keyfoun to the north, Qabr Chamoun to the south, Majdlaya to the east, and Ainab to the west.
Characterised by mountain ranges and pine trees, it is 850-950 metres above sea level, covering a total area of approximately 6.29 sq kilometres.

The origin of the name of Baissour is said to be Arami-Syriani, “the place of the potter” or “the place of the Fakhouri” (the pottery maker). The name may also be derived from “fence” or “fortress” – the village was surrounded by a “wall” of pomegranate trees, for which it was famous.

Surrounded by wild oak trees, Baissour is celebrated for its olives, vines and pines. The inner roads of this beautiful village are lined with an abundance of pomegranate and fig trees, a reminder of its agricultural heritage.
 Industrially, thanks to the cultivation of olives, the town has become known for its olive oil.

Famous Places - Baissour

Baissour is renowned for its hillside known as the Radar Hill – overlooking Beirut, the peaks of the mountains of Lebanon and the south. It is covered with pine trees and ancient oak. This hill has become a haven for the people of the town and tourists from other areas, because of its beautiful landscapes and peaceful outlook. 
On the lower side of the town is the Baysour River (Naher Baissour, نهر بيصور), which maintains its abundance of water in summer and winter. A large tourist project has been built along its banks, including a restaurant, a resort, family camping rooms and small swimming pools – all in a natural atmosphere with stunning views.

A visit to Baissour would not be complete without a tour of Jamil Molaeb Museum & Art Gallery. Here, you can meet one of Lebanon’s most diverse and prolific artists and enjoy a visual feast.

Baissour is home to one of Aley District’s most beautifully restored historic properties – HighTower Castle. Perched on the village’s highest hilltop, it offers breathtaking views over Mount Lebanon.

Famous Faces - Baissour

The Talhouk family was one of the first to settle in Baissour, as early as the 1500s.

Hammoud Khattar Talhouk was appointed by Daoud Basha to assess properties in the area.

Khattar Hammoud Talhouk was Director of The North West District in 1900.

Born in Baissour, Mohammed Mustafa Aridi (1911-1991) was a journalist, linguist, poet, editor-in-chief of “Al-Zaman” (Time), director of the newspaper “Al-Binna”, the mouthpiece of the Syrian National Social Party, and he also ran the magazine “Good Morning”.

Farhan Mohammed Al-Aridi (1910-1990) was a master of colloquial poetry, he created the “Lebanese Zajal” choir.

Feres Molaeb, calligrapher, painter and musician, was born in Baysour in 1938. He was the first man from the East to be named in the Guinness Book of Records. He engraved a complete book in Arabic of 160 pages on a piece of silver the size of a personal card. He was awarded the Medal of Cedars.

Today, Baysour still boasts  many famous faces – including artists and politicians.

Jamil Molaeb is one of Lebanon’s better-known modernist artists. His son, Ribal Molaeb, is an internationally acclaimed violinist. At certain times of the year, the Molaebs hold spectacular music and art events at their Museum/Gallery in Baysour.

Another famous artist, born in Baysour, now living in America, is Marwan Aridi. An Arabic calligrapher, his designs are incorporated in books, magazines, advertisements, and a plethora of commissioned artwork around the globe.

Baysour was the birthplace of Wadih Youssef Molaeb (1914-1984) – prominent journalist, poet and politician, and founder of the Arab National Action League in the 1940s.

Baysour is also home to Lebanese politician, Ghazi Aridi.

jamil molaeb artist baysour aley district
ARTIST JAMIL MOLAEB
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History of Baissour

Baysour claims some of Lebanon’s oldest ruins – an old stone dwelling believed to be more than 1000 years old, belonging to the Al Daher family.

Tradition says that the date of its construction dates back to the tenth century AD. The Hall of the House of The Judge,  dates back to the Tannoukieh era, to the time of the arrival of the first families in the middle of the ninth century AD. In these two halls are Arabic inscriptions in stone, each with a council of several stone benches.

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Omar Onsi in Baissour

The acclaimed Lebanese artist Omar Onsi (1901 – 1969), a student of the famous Khalil Saleeby from Btalloun,  was known to visit Baysour for inspiration – though the villagers were somewhat taken aback by him. In a review of Omar Onsi’s 1932 personal exhibition, a writer for al-Maʻraḍ newspaper reported that as Onsi was walking around the  village of Baysour, looking for a landscape to paint,  “the villagers who watched him with suspicion and fear … fled from him when they saw him walking between the bushes, in the valleys and on top of the hills … Near a spring, young ladies ran away at Onsi’s approach.”

Picture of Heather & Sami Eljurdi

Heather & Sami Eljurdi

Founders • Archivists • Editors

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