About Beiteddine Palace
Situated high amongst the Chouf Mountains amongst stunning terraced gardens and orchards, Beiteddine Palace is a sumptuous 19th century gem.
History of Beiteddine Palace
Designed by an Italian architect, the palace was built over the course of 30 years between 1788 and 1818. It was built for Ottoman-appointed governor of the region, Emir Bashir Chehab II. Its name translates to ‘House of Faith’, while its design reflects a mixture between Arabic and Italian baroque styles.
During the French mandate, the palace was used for local administration, and after 1930 it was declared a historic monument. From 1943, Lebanon’s first post-independence president declared it as his summer palace.
During the Israeli invasion, the palace was extensively damaged, with up to 90% of its contents being lost. After the fighting ended, it was claimed by the Druze militia, who returned it to the government in 1999.
Beiteddine Palace today
Today, much of the palace has been extensively restored. Highlights include the stables, which used to be able to accommodate 600 horses and 500 foot soldiers, and now contain an extensive collection of Byzantine mosaics.
The upper floor houses the Rashid Karami Archeological and Ethnographic Museum, which contains items from the Bronze and Iron Ages, Roman glass, gold jewellery, lead sarcophagi, glazed Islamic pottery, and a miniature replica of the palace to provide visitors with an idea of the structure’s original form.
Since 1985, the palace hosts the Beiteddine Festival, one of the biggest annual music and art festivals in the Middle East.
Getting to Beiteddine Palace
Beiteddine Palace is situated in the town of Beit ed-Dine, in Lebanon, around 40 km away from the capital city of Beirut. It has an elevation of 850 metres, so you have to go by car!