Batroun, Lebanon

Batroun is a coastal town 50 km (31 miles) north of Beirut, home to archaeological vestiges from several consecutive eras through history, and situated on a sandy beach-rock used as a quarry since antiquity. The name is derived from the Phoenician language, from the root word "bater" which means "cut", in reference to the Batroun maritime wall which was cut into rocks.

In the districts of old Batroun stands a Phoenician citadel from the 9th century BC, which was demolished by an earthquake on 551 BC, and later restored by locals to look as it does today. In the area of Mrah Al-Sheikh are the remains of a Roman amphitheater, where only 11 steps are still apparent. In the southern part of the city are found several Roman tombs and sarcophagi, and the coast hosts an ancient, natural port that is still used as harbor for fishing boats.



Batroun's religious sites include Mar Estephan Maronite Cathedral which is considered to be one of Lebanon's largest churches. This cathedral was built over the remains of an old Crusader church and is characterized by an architectural style combining Byzantine and Roman influences. The town is also home to Mar Gerges Orthodox Church, built in the Byzantine style with a unique dome, and the 19th century Church of Saydet Al-Bahr, built over the ruins of a Phoenician temple and containing four icons painted with gold.

Several of Batroun's old streets constitute the souq (local market), which was built with sandstone from the surrounding area. Old handicrafts are still made in this souq, such as sewing, shoemaking, and smithery. There are also several tourism resorts in Batroun, as well as rocky and sandy beaches within maritime resorts. Lately, several modern night clubs have been opened inside old arcaded structures and old houses. Batroun is also famous for its lemonade, as it is surrounded by many citrus fields.