Walk Back in History:  Retrace Our Roots...
w/ Community Leader Issam Sawaya - 08-08 at 08 a.m.

Walking towards Mar Elias

This event was one of the highlights of the festival.  When I saw this event on the program, I wanted to make every effort to take part in it.  My flight arrived shortly after midnight that same day.  With the excitement and jetlag, it was hard to sleep.  

They met at the main Square in Dhour - Saha - I arrived in Dhour and was able to catch up just after the #Arzal and few hundred meters from the Sarfad road While on their way to mar Elias.

It was so exciting to see close to 150 persons taking part in this fun exercise and learn so much about our history and get reacquainted with so many long lost friends and relatives.

One special sight was to see Al Mukhtar Bil Mahjar, George Matar w/ his brother Nabil and for the first time in decades, their brother Habib.  also, it was great to see Jamil Bou Saab, Samar Kiame, and so many of the Shweir.com Family, many of whom, we previously know via cyber world.  It was so great to meet in person.

Issam Sawaya made this event so much more meaningful by sharing historic background, stories and even some challenges to riddles etched in stone.  Every single one of those attendees walked away feeling that they learned valuable information they did not before. 

BTW, Issam is on a mission to preserve the many rare books, pictures, records and other rare data of Shweir.  So please, if you or you know of someone who has old or rare books or info or pictures or data about Shweir, we urge you to contact Issam, who along w/his team and the Shweir.com team will copy the data digitally and return it to the owner intact.  This way we insure that such rare data will be preserved for future generations. 

George Matar and others also took lots of pictures.  We will add more pixs at a later time. 

It is tempting to write pages or volumes... but let us now get on with the show. 


Dayr Mar Elias

Inner square

Ringing the bell to repeated melodic tunes takes brute strength and rhythm
as some of the men demonstrated.

Starting w/ Al Mukhtar

Jamil Bou Saab

& Sabbeh Shallita


and one woman,  Therese Kiame - Samar's mom.
She got lots of cheers

Here this young climbed the bell rope to remove some plants
that were covering some of the writing in stone to help solve the riddle.

Sabeh Shallita sharing his knowledge about the church that was
recently uncovered underneath Dayr Mar Elias

w/each successive chamber, the entrance gets smaller and lower.
This is a defensive mechanism to get the upper hand over any invaders
who dare to take over this sanctuary.




We might as well call this Shweir.com family reunion

At the rooftop of Mar Elias

Jamil pointed to this unique tree on top of a rock
that connected to a second tree two meters above roots

Ain El Assis has special meaning to most Mughtaribeen.
It was our highschool where we had many fond memories


The evangelical center welcomed us w/refreshments,
but due to tight schedule, only few took time to linger and enjoy.

View of

Shweir from the Evangelical Center

At the steps of Carslow Hall

George is pointing to the spot where he fell down that steep sheer to six stories below
and miraculously survived.  I was there then and told him what happened when he temporarily lost memory.

Looking from the bottom up.  George fell from near the house on the left
It used to be occupied by Mr. & Mrs Workman.
He landed behind the trees. 

He landed about 30 meters behind the Saydeh Church below


For Habib, visiting the churches and participating in the mass,
has special meaning since he is a recently ordained deacon (Shammas) in Texas

REmember the huge Oak tree in Saydeh's courtyard...
It still gives shade and shelter, like the good old days.

Exploring Shweir neighborhoods.


Part of this majestic building used to be a warehouse for the town's food supply during the winter.


Renovation to preserve old Shweir architrave



The old Souk

Ain Tahta

Al Harrouk




Samar, Therese, Micho and George

Cement Mixers traffic Jam in down town Shweir...

Visiting the Home of Dr. Hammam in Shweir

The ceilings of two rooms inside the home.



The tour continued to old Tahouneh, Nahr Abou Dawoud, Ain el Hanoote, and Dayr mar Yohanna where the earliest printing press in the Middle East started in around 1700

To be continued...

Read Commentary 2009 by Al Mukhtar bil Mahjar at http://www.shweir.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=659