Hardine – Beit Kassab
A town with a traditional rural feature in the highland of Batroun District. it is 32 km remote from the City. its altitude reaches 1100 m. it is the birthplace of Saint Nahmatallah Kassab Al-Hardini. It can be reached from Batroun via Ijdabra, Bejdarfel, Kour valley, Sourat, Rachkedde, Helta, Dael, Kfarhelda and Deir Bella. Its parish church “Mar Shina” was built in 1844. its St-Theodoros’ Church (Mar Taedros) is considered one of the oldest still extant as to the original Maronite pattern. One can also find St-George’s and St-Taracus’ Church (Mar Gerges wa Edna) for both the Maronite and Jacobite sects. In addition, there are two churches in juxtaposition: St-Artemius’ (Mar Shallita) and St-Lucius’ (Mar Nohra). There is also the church of the Hermitage of the “Fortress Lady” (Saydet Al-Kala’a) that was built inside Mount Hardine. one can also enumerate other churches: Sts-Sergius and Bacchus Church (Mar Sarkis wa Bakhos), Salvation Lady Church (Saydet An-Najat), St-Anthony’s of Padua Church (Mar Antonios Al-Badwani), and the church of St-Theresa’s Shrine, etc. At Hardine there is the monastery of “St-Sarkis Al-Karn”, dating back to the ninth century. it is among the oldest in Mount Hardine. it was a Patriarchal Chair from 1297 to 1404 AD. There is also St-Phocas Monastery (Mar Fawqa) dating back to the fifteenth century when it was the original “Mother Monastery” of Syriac Monks. In addition, one can find the monastery of St-John “Ash-Shaqf” (Mar Youhanna Ash-Shaqf) founded in the Crusaders’ period by Latin Monks. There is also the convent of Martyr Takla (Shahideh Takla) with its church that the father of Saint Nahmatallah Al-Hardini started renovating in 1830. It was completed in 1871 by Father Boulos. There are also several hermitages carved in rock and rocky sarcophagi, some vestiges from the god Mercurius temple, dating back to the Roman epoch and hanging on the “Corn” of Hardine (altitude: 1460 m), and built out of lime rock. Mercuriuc was the god of commerce and thiefs. Hardine is considered a pilgrimage center for believers who come from everywhere in order to see the house of Saint Nahmatallah Kassab Al-Hardini, to visit his hermitage next to the church of St-Takla, the Martyr. In the middle of Hardine appears the famous and unique “slab” (Blatet Hardine), which is a flat, rocky slope cut across by the main road in the middle. To the south of Hardine stretches a marvelous pine forest down to Kfarhelda, engulfing the road where strolling and biking are agreable within a superb natural framework. At the entrance of Beit Kassab there is an inn-hotel which is an old, refurbished house with a garden surrounding an age-old oak tree. This inn has also a restaurant and a newly-built inside two caves with beautiful stone vaults.