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The fine looking late 18th-century Maronite Deir al Qalaa (Ministry of the Fortress) was built on top of a first-century Roman temple dedicated to Baal Marqod (Lord of the Dance). Some of the original foundation walls and three columns are still clearly visible.
Deir al-Qalaa crowns the entrance to Beit Mery and overlooks an exquisite view stretching from a snowcapped Mt. Sannine to the coast of Beirut. Its name is Arabic for “Monastery of the Citadel,” representing what’s left of a Roman temple that once matched the grandeur of Baalbek’s temples and Niha’s fortress. A church dedicated to St. John the Baptist, was built over the temple’s remains in the 18 century. You can still see the original stonework in the remaining columns that adorn the square at the church’s entrance. Though it suffered a great deal of damage during the Civil War, the site has since been dutifully restored and maintained for cultural and touristic events. The monastery has proved an ideal locale for concerts, competitions, art exhibitions, conferences, poetry nights, and social gatherings.