If you are in Lebanon, a trip to Beit Ed Dine in Chouf District might be worthwhile. The name means House of Religion, and is best known for the Beiteddine Festival.
Location and How to Get to This Specific Site
The town is situated in the Chouf District. It is about 50 km to the southeast of Beirut. When driving to the site, you will see that it is close to the Deir el-Qamar town.
A valley separates it. The journey can be made with a bus, a taxi or a rented 4WD. Minibuses at the Cola station (Beirut to Damour) can bring you there too. There are also car rentals available in Beirut.
What to See There
From the car park, you will see the ticket office. From here you can enter the courtyard. On its right is the Al Madafa, the palace receiving grounds. The Ethnographic Museum is on the upper floor. There you will see sarcophagi, jewelry, pottery and other relics. The palace’s central section contains the Hamadeh Sheikhs’ apartments.
The place was constructed by Emir Bashir Shihab II. It took nearly three decades to build the edifice. In 1943, the structure was declared a national monument. Following its restoration, it would become a home of Lebanese Presidents. After a few years, it was turned to a prime tourist attraction.
The Beiteddine Festival has been taking place in the palace since 1984. It began with local performances, but over the years, concerts, theater, opera and other arts were incorporated.
Bus fares start at LL750. Private taxis cost LL 3000. Entry to the Beiteddine Palace costs LL5, 000 for Lebanese citizens. For foreigners the charge is LL7, 500. Students are charged LL2, 000. Children can enter the place freely.
The Palace is open 9:00 am to 6:00 pm in the summer. During the winter it opens at 9:00 am and closes at 4:00 pm. You can go around the site on your own. But there are guides available. You can get refreshments from the cafe at the courtyard. A gift shop is also nearby.
Before you go on a trip to Beit Ed Dine in Chouf District, don’t forget to inquire about the opening and closing times. These are subject to change.