View Full Version : Beqaa - Machghara

01-07-2009, 01:04 AM
Origin of the name

The name comes from the secret of its water and springs. It comes from "as-Shaghour", abundance and generosity, according to the linguistics, the name has an Assyrian roots.


Mashghara, lying on the southern edge of the green Bekaa valley, is a charming town on the western slopes of the valley southern hills, thus being almost within the frontiers of Southwest Bekaa, caught within the numerous folds of the mountain stretching from Dahr Al-Baidar in the north to Tawmat Niha south-east of Jezzine. Only one hour's walk from Mashghara flows the River Litani dividing the Western Bekaa from its Eastern side and providing an astounding scene of natural beauty as it surges through a deep and narrow ravine by the Cavern of Pigeons. Mashghara abounds with springs whose waters are piercing ice cold.

During the war of 1914-1918 the inhabitants felt the need to channel water to irrigate a stretch of their land known as the Plain to the east of the town. The late Jacob Abu-Samra Trabulsi undertook to make a canal starting from a dam on a water-course in the valley and continue it round the mountain to the fields in question. But there was an obstacle in the form of a rocky hillock at least thirty yards across. However, there was no choice but to chip a way through, and the workmen started digging. Soon they were amazed to discover under their foot an ancient canal, which they followed in removing the earth and clearing it in order to be used sooner than expected .On the east side of the mountain, facing the town, there is a construction called Nabi (Prophet) Noon. On a summit above it to the south there is another old building, which however is still in a state of ruin, believed by some to be the original site of the prophet Noon, or alternatively one of the heathen "high places" alluded to in the Bible. In the plain of Mashghara there are a number of dwellings and tombs carved out of the rocks, but there is no writing to indicate who the inhabitants were or who was buried there.

The industry of Mashghara

The main industry of Mashghara other than agriculture is the tanning industry. How it began in Mashghara and who developed it are questions answered by Mr. Elias Habboush:

He says there was a certain Fares Dib Habboush who worked in a tannery in Egypt until he mastered this craft. He came back to Lebanon and tried first to get a tannery going in Saghbine, but he could not succeed. He then tried again in Ain Taneet and in Sidon with the same result. He finally came to Mashghara, which was ideally suited because of the climate and the water, which were just right for tanning, particularly for making leather for the soles of shoes. In 1869 Fares Dib Habboush began building his tannery, at a time, when it is said there was no tanning done at all either in Lebnaon or in Syria. Mr. Habboush goes on to say that in the 1930's the Salamoun family brought machines for their ttannery, becoming the first in Mashghara to start modernizing.

These machines revolutionized the industry and gave it a new impetus. Mr. Amer Albert Karam tells us that the leather-trade flourished in Mashghara when armies of many nations occupied Mashghara, and got all the tanneries to supplying them with footwear. Shaker Nassif owned the biggest tannery in Mashghara and it was he who had founded the leather industry. He was so powerful; he even made his own currency for the people working for him during the world wars. He had to do that because it was difficult to access gold or other nations currencies (Turkish, French, English or German).

01-07-2009, 01:09 AM
For Pictures please visit these 3 links :

Mashghra_Liban_hiver_2008 (http://www.mashghara.com/images/mashghara_2008/set_01/index.htm)

Eglise_Niah (http://www.mashghara.com/images/eglise/set_01/index.htm)

Old House (http://www.mashghara.com/images/Old_house/index.htm)