Once upon a Time… Bhamdoun
Tradition has it that the name Bhamdoun originated from two villages, one called Hama, the other Dun, and through construction became one. In this case, the name would be made up of three parts: BAYT HAM DUN.
I remember the hara (quarter) before the devastating Mountain War: houses shared flat roofs and walls, so that one could walk on top from one house to another.In spring, the villagers gathered sliqa, natural herbs made into a salad. There was also the qabu (cellar) with its arches, which remained cool and where the family sometimes moved in summer.
The tradition of cooking and distributing hrisi in Bhamdoun is prior to World War I. It is said that a lady who summered in Bhamdoun had a son who was quite ill. She vowed before the miraculous icon of Bhamdoun that if her son recovered, she would offer a lamb and wheat to the church to feed the poor. The son recovered, the tradition continues with people offering lamb and wheat to be cooked and distributed.The first pharmacy in the whole area was built in 1897 (…).
The first ‘silent’ cinema (…) was owned by Abdallah Nasif Nasrallah. The sports arena, named for Amin ‘Abd al-Nour, who donated the funds, was inaugurated by President Camille Chamoun in 1954. It held international competitions and festivals.Mhattat Bhamdoun (…) developed around the railway, which began its journey in 1898, starting in Beirut, going to Araya, Aley, then (…) Sofar, Chtaura, Rayyaq, Homs.
Also available in Arabic.
Dr Shereen Khairallah
Shereen Khairallah was born in Beirut. She received her BA and MA from the American University of Beirut. She earned her PHD from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. She taught at the American University of Beirut and Haigazian University. Her specialty is cultural history, and she is the author of several books and articles on the Near East.