Miss Celine Mahfoud is a senior civil engineering student at Notre Dame University, Louaize, Lebanon. Her research studies have provided broad proficiency in the use of civil engineering tools, software packages and techniques. Moreover, she has developed sound communication skills while delivering. Currently, she’s an intern at Hayek Group, where she is working on multiple projects and research analyses.


The major components which contribute to the success of any project are: motivation, commitment, enthusiasm, and team-work. Therefore, I would like to express my greatest gratitude towards my colleagues who inspired me, guided me, and encouraged me to complete this report.

First and foremost, I would like to thank my mentor, Eng. Abdallah Hayek, for granting me the opportunity to work on this exciting project. I am grateful for all his support, effort, guidance, and encouragement while I was working on it.

As well, let me express my appreciation to my colleague Eng. Maura Azar, who provided me with all the necessary support to accomplish this work. She guided me with her research abilities and all the required data to obtain the right details. Without her continuous assistance, this report wouldn’t have been the same.

Also, I would like to thank Eng. Elie Moussa and Ms. Karen Chahwan for their constant follow up on this report. I would also like to thank Eng. Myriam Habchi for her contribution in this report, especially in the part that deals with the “Impact of Year 2020 on Keserwan”.

Last but not least, I cannot but thank the amazing team of copywriters at Hayek Group, and especially Ms. Mariebelle Hayek. All their editing and proofreading skills are what made this report enjoyable, understandable, and most importantly, mistake-free.

I am blessed to have had the opportunity to collaborate with such an amazing team of motivated people. Each person has put her/his effort into this work. Every single person shares an important part in the success of this project. I am grateful for this devoted team that has supported me along the way in every possible aspect and helped me deliver this report.

Table of Contents

Author 2
Acknowledments 3
1.  Geography of Keserwan District6
2.  History and Art8
3.  Culture and Traditions13
4.  Major Touristic Destinations15
5.  Community34
6.  Employment40
7.  The impact of Year 2020 on Keserwan43
8.  Real Estate Development in Keserwan50
9.  Infrastrucute Projects in Keserwan58
10.  Conclusion59

List of Figures

Figure 1 - Keserwan District Location 6
Figure 2 - Jounieh in the 1930's 8
Figure 3 - Glassmaker in Action10
Figure 4 - Glassblowing Arts11
Figure 5 - Jacquet Embroidered with Gold Thread Calligraphy Design12
Figure 6 - Bkerki, Residence of the Maronite Patriarch15
Figure 7 - Lady of Lebanon - Harissa (Photo taken by: P. Elie Korkmaz)16
Figure 8 - Cathedral of Saint Paul - Harissa (Photo taken by: P. Elie Korkmaz) 17
Figure 9 - Divine Ascension Church Location18
Figure 10 - Inside the Divine Asncesion Church19
Figure 11 - Christ the Kong - Zouk Mosbeh (Photo taken by: P. Elie Korkmaz)20
Figure 12 - Saint Charbel Statue - Faraya21
Figure 13 - Hiyata Cross22

List of Graphs

Graph 1 - Distribution of Students by Type of Educational Institution 34
Graph 2 - Employment Status and Gender (%) 40
Graph 3 – Economic Activity Sector by Gender (%)41
Graph 4 - Variation of Properties Prices in Keserwan (2009-2021) – (Hayek Group Database). 51
Graph 5 - Variation of Properties Prices in Coastal Keserwan (2009-2021) - (Hayek Group Database) 51
Graph 6 - Variation of Properties Prices in Upper Keserwan (2009-2021) – (Hayek Group Database) - 52
Graph 7 - New Building Licenses in Keserwan District per Region between 2009 and 2020 – Hayek Group 2021 (Source: OEA). 54
Graph 8 - New Building Licenses in Keserwan District per Year between 2009 and 2020 – Hayek Group 2021 (Source: OEA) 54
Graph 9 - Execution Orders in Keserwan (2009-2019) – Hayek Group 2021 (Source: OEA) 55
Graph 10 - Execution Orders in Mount Lebanon (2009-2019) – Hayek Group 2021 (Source: OEA). 55
Graph 11 - Execution Orders in Mount Lebanon (2009-2019) – Hayek Group 2021 (Source: OEA) 56
Graph 12 - Sales Transactions in Keserwan (2010-2021) – Hayek Group 2021 (Source: DLRC) 56
Graph 13 - Taxes on Sales Transactions (2010-2021) – Hayek Group 2021 (Source: DLRC) 57

List of Tables

Table 1 - Infrastructure Projects in Keserwan (CDR - Council for Development and Reconstruction) 58

1. Geography of Keserwan District:

Located on the eastern coast of the Mediterranean, Lebanon is the second smallest country in the Middle East and in the Arab World. Its total surface area is around 10.452 km2 .

The special geographic position in the region, at the crossroads of several corridors from the East and the West, grants Lebanon numerous important roles, such as: the role of mediator and transit to and from Arab countries, coastal role contributing in developing trade activities, and as the gate to the East, where Lebanon plays a regional role leading to a policy of openness which transforms the country into a commercial, banking, and cultural hub.

Lebanon is known for its Mediterranean Climate which is characterized by hot, dry summers, and mild, humid winters. Its mountain regions are characterized by hot dry days and cold nights. All precipitation falls in winter. On the higher mountaintops, this precipitation falls as heavy snow that remains until early summer.

Lebanon is divided administratively into three levels: provinces or governorates (محافظات ,( cazas or districts (أقضية ,(and municipalities ( بلديات .(There are eight governorates, 26 districts, and (as of the 2016 municipal elections) 1108 municipalities and around 1,550 villages.

Keserwan District (Arabic: كسروان قضاء ,translation: Qadaa Keserwan) is a district in the Mount Lebanon Governorate, to the northeast of Lebanon's capital Beirut. Figure 1 shows the exact location of Keserwan district in Lebanon.

Bay of Jounieh, i.e., the city of Jounieh as known nowadays, the capital of Keserwan-Jbeil Governorate since 2017, is overwhelmingly Maronite Christian. The municipality of Jounieh includes Sarba, Haret Sakher, Ghadir, and Sahel Alma. The area is home to the Jabal Moussa Biosphere Reserve.

Figure 1 - Keserwan District Location

Keserwan’s area is 336 square kilometers. It is surrounded by Jbeil District from the north, by El Matn District from the south, and by Baalbek District from the east. The caza of Keserwan has a population of around 350,000 residents.

The federation of Keserwan Municipalities - Ftouh consists of 54 municipalities, which work in harmony for the success of the region. Jounieh, one of cities of Ftouh Keserwan is a coastal city in Keserwan District, about 16 km north of Beirut, and it has a population of 96,315 resident.

2. History and Art:

The very name of Keserwan may have originated from a common Persian name “Kesra”. Keserwan is its plural form. In the early Umayyad times, newly Islamized Persian clans from Iran settled in rural areas, like Keserwan, to guard the mountain passes and the coast for the Muslim state.

Around the middle of the 7th century A.D. a militant Christian group of uncertain origin, settled in Mount Lebanon, followed by Maronites, a Christian community, who were fleeing religious persecution, immigrated to the area and established themselves among the population.

Between the 7th and 11th centuries, more Christians from Syria fled to Northern Lebanon in order to avoid payment imposed upon them as non-Muslims by Muslim rulers. In the 11th century other religious communities settled in the mountains of Lebanon, including the Shiites’ migration to Keserwan.

With the coming of the Ottomans in 1516, the Turkoman Sunni Muslims favored the Maronites as a counterbalance to the turbulent Shiite element in the region. Thus, starting in about 1545, Maronites from the northern regions of Mount Lebanon began to settle in the villages of Keserwan.

Figure 2 shows a visual representation of Jounieh, the capital of Keserwan, in the 1930’s.

Figure 2 - Jounieh in the 1930's

Keserwan owns most of its reputation to some unique hardworking people, like:

During these events, Massad tried to relieve the sufferance of his nation, but he couldn't prevent the bloody war. In 1867 Paul Peter Massad traveled to Rome, and later went to France where he met Napoleon III, asking for financial and political help for the Christians of Lebanon. From a religious point of view, Massad fully established the Maronite Church within the Roman framework while maintaining many of its own typical elements. He died on April 18, 1890 in the Maronite Catholic Patriarchate in Bkerké,

Generally, deeply respected for his honesty and integrity, Chehab is credited with a wide range of reform programs and regulations towards creating a modern administration, efficient public services and social justice. Chehab’s term in office also brought an era of economic prosperity, social development and infrastructure projects in healthcare and education across the country, especially in the neglected remote areas. Fouad Chehab died in Jounieh (Lebanon) on the 25th of April 1973 from a heart attack, at the age of 71.

Additionally, Lebanon has been famous for the craftsmanship of its people since the Phoenician era. This trait reflects their ingenuity and their paradigm of honest hard work, finesse, and attention to detail.

Keserwan is known to excel in the art of crafting antiques and sculptures from a variety of materials, including wood, metal, glass, fabric, and more. One of the most prominent crafts done in Phoenicia was glassblowing. Glassblowing is still practiced as a conservation of heritage. The glassmaker blows air into the hot molten glass and the art of transformation into attractive shapes begins as shown in figures 3 and 4. Glassmakers create many shapes and colors as water glasses, wineglasses, beer mugs, water pitchers, vases, candle sticks…

Figure 3 - Glassmaker in Action

Figure 4 - Glassblowing Arts

The art of pottery, a life-sustaining method in civilizations across the world, is also a popular artisanship in Lebanon. It originated in Phoenicia and was considered as one of the most important and profitable industries. Phoenician potters made porcelain statues of their gods and goddesses and created various utensils well-known for their precision, beauty, and consistency

High-quality clay is abundant in Lebanon and has been spun by Lebanese artisans and transformed into smooth shapes and masterpieces for a long time. The clay is shaped into the desired form, then heated to high temperatures in an oven which dries it completely. This induces reactions that lead to permanent changes in the material, hardening it, increasing its strength, and setting its shape.

Another traditional craft includes weaving and embroidery, which can be done using different methods. In weaving many methods are used with horizontal looms to create tablemats, jackets, abayas (an Arabic cloth) and caftans in wool decorated with motifs. Others use vertical looms to create tents and carpets from goat hair or sheep’s wool.

The two techniques used in embroidery are “Tark” and “Oya”. The “Tark” is a dress embroidered with silver thread using black, beige or marron muslin held in hoops. The “Oya” is somehow similar to crochet but made with a needle and a thin cotton thread. Figure 5 shows a typical embroidered jacket with calligraphic design on it.

Figure 5 - Jacquet Embroidered with Gold Thread Calligraphy Design

Also, the jewelry crafting art is still very much alive in Lebanon and great local artists have remained loyal to their ancestors and masters, working with gold, silver and bronze with the equal passion. Some examples of such jewelries are: byzantine crosses, pins of Indian inspiration and Egyptian earrings. They also create necklaces, brooches, rings and bells.

3. Culture and Traditions:

Although Lebanon is considered a small compact country, it is rich in diversity. This diverse culture is a result of the mixture of various religious, linguistic, and socioeconomic groups.

Norms and customs usually move in a hereditary manner. Even though some of these traditions are fading away, their essence is still and will always remain in the heart of every Lebanese person.

First, a person’s name and honor are their most cherished possessions. This extends also to the family and wider group. The behavior of individual family members is viewed as the direct responsibility of the whole family. It is crucial for the Lebanese, and specifically here in Keserwan area, to maintain one’s dignity, honor, and reputation. They strive to avoid causing another person public embarrassment. This can be seen when they agree to perform a favor for a friend to maintain that friend’s honor even if they know that they will not do what is asked.

In Keserwan, people are proud of their tradition of hospitality. It is an honor and privilege to have a guest in one’s home. It’s normal to have people invited to one’s home easily without previous plans and invitations. Guests are generally served coffee, homemade juice syrup or seasonal fruits immediately. Any rejection from guests is considered an insult!

In all the mountain region of Keserwan, religious festivals are considered as a very important time of gathering. Every village supports its neighboring village. For example, during the Feast of the Cross in Faraya, everyone in the surrounding area comes to Faraya to celebrate this religious feast together.

Also, in the past, Carnivals including village weddings were held during which the Lebanese heritage was cultivated. That is people cooperate and bring from their household provisions to celebrate what was called “Village Dinner - قروي عشاء “to end the Feast of the Assumption of Mary that goes on for 15 days.

As well, the people of Keserwan are known for aiding each other. This act is referred to in Arabic as “العونة .“From its name, it is the act of helping the relative or the neighbor. It is a collective action carried out by the neighbors or relatives in a place that needs a lot of labor and that cannot bear delay such as crop gathering and harvest seasons.

It is a spirit of cooperation and mutualism imposed by the customs and traditions of the village and the agricultural life, where the people of the villages would help each other with any work that requires effort that a single man alone could not do, such as roofing a house, building a wall, reaping crops, or building a water canal. Assistance is provided as well as working tools.

Aid is not limited to men, but also women help in the production of Kishk, squeezing and boiling molasses, picking and seedling work. It is also not limited to handicraft and agricultural work but extends to social matters in the event of a fire outbreak, a natural disaster or occasions that require cooperation like births, weddings, and death, and one can see the people in the village as one hand, providing help and assistance.

This aid is a free voluntary service that is not obligatory, but rather it is one of the social values that the citizens of Keserwan are known for. The aid is a way to enhance human relations and common life

Although there is a common Lebanese dialect, one might easily notice some variations in pronunciation between one region and another which makes it unique. For example, Keserwan has a well-known dialect that is famous for the repetition of the phonetic represented by / ʃ / - “š - sh” (“ش (“like “aych” and “laych” instead of the regular “chu” and “leh” (what and why). Some strange words are even used. For example, “شدود جيبيلي “which means “get me my slippers”, “ االشوية “ meaning “tailoring kit”.

Moreover, Keserwan is well known for its agriculture. One of the most famous cultivations is apple trees. This tradition goes back to a long time ago when all of Keserwan’s residents were farmers and the land was considered the main monetary income. And up to this day, if any person visits a village in Keserwan, he/she will observe many apple trees everywhere. After harvest season is over, people are always occupied making their famous “mouneh” of apple jam, apple cider, apple vinegar … Kishk, a combination of yogurt and burghul (crushed wheat seeds), is considered a unique winter supply. Women used to gather during this season to prepare it. They used to have breakfast and lunch together while working and sharing precious moments.

4. Major Touristic Destinations:

Keserwan is not only a destination for its rich culture, but it is a well-known tourist attraction for it includes many recreational activities such as skiing, swimming, hiking, picnicking, and many more. It is also a popular destination for both religious and historical tourism.

4.1 Religious Tourism:

For a blessed land, Lebanon is a country where places of worship abound by excellence. Keserwan district is considered an international attraction for tourists who are interested in historical churches and monasteries, and religious tourism in general. Some of these churches and monasteries are illustrated below.

4.1.1 Bkerki, Residence of the Maronite Patriarch:

On a hill that overlooks the Bay of Jounieh, which is surrounded by pine trees, stands the imposing structure of the Maronite patriarchy which has been there since 1830. At the beginning it was a simple monastery built in 1703.

It was enlarged in 1893. On the entrance there is a triple inscription in Syriac, Latin and Arabic. “The glory of Lebanon is given to him” from Isaiah 2:35. The building is white in color and the roof is covered with red bricks as shown in figure 6. The sound of the bell is echoed in the surrounding valleys; the windows are blue with arches; the stair is majestic; the outside court is wide. Inside, there is spacious saloon which contains a library rich with valuable manuscripts. There is a solemn silence which makes the Maronite patriarchy, a crown on the head of the Bay.

Figure 6 - Bkerki, Residence of the Maronite Patriarch

4.1.2 The Cathedral of Our Lady of Lebanon – Harissa

On a hill that reverently overlooks the Bay of Jounieh and contemplates Beirut and the vast horizon stands the sanctuary of our Lady of Lebanon. It’s a place that shines with devotion to Saint Mary. Believers constructed this place to worship the Virgin Mother, our Lady of Lebanon. The statue of Saint Mary stands at the top of the structure as shown in figure 7. It is a white statue that

touches the blue sky and is surrounded by roaming clouds. It has been here since 1908, resting on a cement foundation. The statue is reached by means of a spiral flight of stairs. Inside there is a small church where thousands of believers come to pray and to hold marriage ceremonies. It is notable that people from diverse religions, Muslims and Christians alike come to the shrine.

The number of people is doubled in May, the month dedicated to Virgin Mary. Beside the ancient sanctuary, there is a modern, cathedral in which Pope John Paul II celebrated mass on his visit to Lebanon (Saturday May 10, 1997).

Figure 7 - Lady of Lebanon – Harissa (Photo taken by: P. Elie Korkmaz)

4.1.3 Cathedral of Saint Paul – Harissa

It is one of a number of places of worship found in Harissa. Near the sanctuary of our Lady of Lebanon there is the Monastery of the Catholic Missionaries of Saint Paul as shown in figure 8. They founded their congregation in 1903.

Inside the monastery there is a church that has beauty of architecture. Its roof has a semicupola. Inside the church there is mosaic of the Byzantine style on a golden background that represents the image of the Christ, the Apostles, Saint Mary carrying Jesus the Infant, fathers of the church and episodes from the Old and New Testaments.

Figure 8 - Cathedral of Saint Paul – Harissa (Photo taken by: P. Elie Korkmaz)

4.1.4 Monastery of our Lady of Deliverance – El-Cherfeh, Daroun, Harissa

In 1754, the sheikhs sold a piece of land to the priest Youssef Maroun el-Traboulsi provided that he builds a school to teach the principles of the Syriac and Arabic languages and the basics of the religion: the priest built the Monastery of our Lady of Deliverance in 1757 upon the terrace of the town of Daroun. That is why it is called the Monastery of the Terrace”.

In 1783, the patriarch of the Syriac catholics, Ignatios Mikhail Gerweh el-Halabi, arrived to Lebanon, escaping his persecutors in Bagdad. He took refuge in this monastery. Later on, he bought it and named it the Monastery of the Chair.

The monastery began to enlarge. A clerical school was inaugurated in it in 1964. Today, it contains a library hosting manuscript dating back to the Middle Ages and letters exchanged between the Superior fathers in the monastery and the Holy See, the patriarchs, the princes, the ambassadors and councils. It also contains around thirty thousand books related to religion, history, geography, liturgy in Arabic, Syriac, Turkish, Persian and Latin. Some of them date back to the last two centuries.

The monastery lost around 18 manuscripts which were chosen by father Agustin Chiasca upon his visit in 1880. He took them to the Vatican library upon the approval of Patriarch Gerges Chalhat. Foreign orientalists and travelers visited the monastery in order to study and gain knowledge. They organized a training session for the bishops. They also supplied the library with material to preserve it from decay.

4.1.5 Divine Ascension Greek Orthodox Church Kfarhbab:

Divine Ascension Church, one of Hayek Group’s projects, is a church in Mount Lebanon. It is situated in Kfarhbab (Ghazir). The Divine Ascension Church is an Orthodox parish affiliated with the Archdiocese of Byblos and Batroun (Mount Lebanon). In addition to its beautiful location and architecture as shown in figure 9, one of the special features this church has is that it has no columns in the middle as revealed in figure 10.

Figure 9 - Divine Ascension Church Location

Figure 10 - Inside the Divine Ascension Church

4.1.6 The Monastery of our Savior – Sarba

It dates back to 1884 and is constructed (according to the byzantine monastic architecture) over the ruins of the Phoenician castle of Sarba. In its foundation, there are huge stones (some of them are three or four meters similar to those used in the castle of Faqra). On the stones there are sculptures representing the sun, the head of a sacred calf and ancient inscriptions as well as a statue of Jupiter. Ernest Renan discovered them near the tomb of a princess and sent them to the Louvre Museum in Paris.

4.1.7 The monastery and Church of Christ the King – Zouk Mosbeh

In 1895, Brother Yaacob (Jacob) Haddad (from the Latin Capacian Order) was passing in front of the rocks of Nahr el Kalb on his way to pronounce his monastic vows, where he saw the historical inscriptions on the rocks. He said, “Christ must have a record in this place, more important than the written and engraved remains”. Later, he bought from the Halabite monks of the monastery of Louizeh (called the Mariamites later) a piece of land on the hill called “Ruins of the kings” facing the Monastery of Mar Youssef Al-Bourj which means St. Joseph of the Tower based on the tower built by the French mandate in the first World War to secure the coastal territory. He asked the Italian artist, Renato Betelia to make a statue, as shown in figure 11, which was elevated on the last Sunday of October 1952.

Figure 11 - Christ the King - Zouk Mosbeh (Photo taken by: P. Elie Korkmaz)

4.1.8 Saint Charbel Statue – Faraya:

Faraya Lebanon homes the largest statue of Saint Charbel in the world. The 40-ton statue was transported in a very delicate process due to the curvy roads up to Faraya. It is made by the Lebanese sculptor Nayef Alwan. Figure 12 shows the statue of Saint Charbel in Faraya.

The monument corresponds to a wish and a vow. The idea of a monument was initially part of the tourist development plans promoted by the head of the Town of Faraya, Mayor Michel Salamé. However, fate struck his 13-year-old nephew, who bears his name, in the form of meningitis. The boy’s parents believe that a combination of miraculous circumstances – medicines and the intercession of Saint Charbel – played a part in the boy’s fate. After falling into a coma, he eventually recovered. He underwent two operations on 17 and 20 July 2016, respectively feast day of Saint Charbel and Saint Elias. A pledge by Faraya mayor and the vow of little Michel’s parents led to the joint project. The statue stands on land in Mar Challita (Faraya), and was approved by the local bishop and Maronite patriarchate. Most local residents praised the installation.

Figure 12 - Saint Charbel Statue – Faraya

4.1.9 Hiyata Cross:

Located in the heart of Keserwan, the village of Hiyata is known for its famous cross which holds an interesting background story.

During the war, a group of courageous Lebanese young-men had a mission of transporting oxygen concentrators from the Keserwan region to the Beirut region. But due to the war, the roads were closed, so they had to travel using a fisherman’s boat. This trip was suddenly stopped due to the complications caused by the war and the boat had to be returned to the port of Jounieh. On the way back, this boat started to sink. They young men thought they were going to die, so they prayed and vowed that if they make it alive, they will place a cross over the mountains of Keserwan so that if someone is ever in such a situation, the last thing he/she will see will be this cross. And that’s how the cross was later placed in the village of Hiyata.

Also, one interesting fact about this cross is that that it was placed by the hands and shoulders of young men from Hiyata and the nearby villages on a rocky hilltop, with no access roads. Figure 13 shows this well-known cross. Today, this cross is a source of pride to the citizens of Hiyata and the Keserwan

Figure 13 - Hiyata Cross

4.2 Historical Tourism:

Keserwan is a treasure trove of archaeological ruins and historic landmarks that reflect different civilizations.

a. Nahr-el-Kalb:

When Egyptian Pharaoh Ramses II marched through Lebanon over 3,000 years ago, he left three inscriptions in the rock above what is now Nahr-el-Kalb. Figure 14 reveals one of the steles of Ramses II. Over the centuries other foreign expeditions followed his example, marking their passage through this difficult place by carving their exploits in stone. Today 17 such inscriptions or steles can be visited, all on the south bank except for one on the north bank. Each inscription is numbered, and a stairway leads to those located higher up on the cliff. Figure 15 shows Nahr el Kalb during its construction phase in 1911.

Figure 14 - Stele of Ramses II

Figure 15 - Nahr El Kalb in 1911

b. The Ruins of Faqra:

Situated at an elevation of 1550 m, Faqra is famous for its temples and its good skiing. The temples of Qalaat Faqra are the most extensive Roman ruins of all Mount Lebanon. This temple was dedicated to the God of gods. The site is dominated by a huge tower 15 meters square, which originally had a third story and a pyramid-shaped roof. An interior staircase leads up to the top. A Greek inscription on the northeast corner of the tower and another above the door indicate that the Roman Emperor Claudius restored the building in 43 AD. The temple site is also the venue of a summer cultural festival. Figure 16 shows these ruins today.

Figure 16 - Faqra Roman Ruins

c. The Archaeological Site of Ghineh and the Cult of Adonis:

Among the lesser-known archaeological sites in Lebanon that deserve to be discovered, is that of Ghineh in the heights of Keserwan. This locality hosts 2 rather interesting archaeological sites, a tomb known as the tomb of Adonis and a Roman temple, the Palace of Adonis, which was transformed into a Byzantine church.

According to the myth, one day Adonis was going to hunt wild pigs. Ares, husband of Aphrodite, was so jealous that she loved Adonis sincerely, he sent a pig in an attempt to kill him. This is the scene that Ernest Renan (February 27, 1823 - October 2, 1892) attributed to the legend found on the bas-relief of the Tomb of Ghineh.

This figure would date from a Hellenistic period. It is a hunting scene where an animal, a bear according to some, a boar according to others, faces a hunter armed with a spear as shown in figure 17.

Author, newspaperman, book collector, and bookstore owner, Frederick W. Allsopp (June 25, 1867 – April 9, 1946) discusses in his book “Little Adventures in Newspaperdom” that this figure was the main issue behind the Phoenicians starting to believe in life after death.

The fact that the ancient Phoenicians believed in life after death and, therefore, in the afterlife shows that they had a strong connection with God even before present religions were there. They were close to God by simply thinking about life after death. Afterlife beliefs are important, and worthy of consideration, as they potentially condition the conduct of life in the present. This was the case in ancient Phoenicia since they considered life as a gift from God and all their actions will have a consequence and determine their fate after death.

Figure 17 - Adonis Rock – Ghineh (Photo by: Celine Mahfoud)

Another point of interest in this city is an ancient Roman temple, called according to ancient chronicles, Palace of Adonis. The Roman temple was transformed into a Byzantine Church with the reuse of its foundations. This building was unfortunately destroyed following the Beirut earthquake which took place in 550 AD.

However, it presents many mosaics that have remained intact, including animal figures, such as an eagle as shown in figure 18. Around the church are ruins of the ancient village. One can like to imagine a bakery or other places of life, intended for locals and travelers, as was the custom in localities of the time.

Figure 18 - Archeological Site of Ghineh

d. The Old Souk of Zouk Mikael:

The Old Souk’s history was always linked to the feudalism of the Khazen family. Following the urban renaissance launched by Prince Fakhreddin, which included building bridges, “khans” and castles, the old souk was constructed. It later reached its peak following the expansion of berry growing and silk industry, turning it at the time into the “silk stocks market”. In the beginning of the 19th century, Zouk Mikael was crowned a privileged commercial town, following the important economical role of the Old Souk. This latter was known for its different crafts, such as weaving, shoemaking, carpentry, gemology, canning… attracting Arabic and European tourists. Figure 19 displays the old souk of Zouk Mikael nowadays.

Figure 19 - The Old Souk - Zouk Mikael

e. The Old Souk of Jounieh:

Only 15 km north of Beirut the Capital of Lebanon, lies the port town of Jounieh. This city still retains some of the charm of yesterday in the old stone souk area as shown in figure 20. The area-known as "Old Jounieh"- has recently undergone an overhaul and there are outdoor cafes and restaurants mixed among boutiques, artisan shops, banks, supermarkets, hotels of all categories. But as soon as the sun sets, the daytime charm turns into night-time glitz.

Figure 20 - Old Souk Jounieh

4.3 Activities, Clubs, and Others:

In addition to being a religious and historical trademark, Keserwan district is a target destination for everyone interested in activities - by day or by night.

There are lots of great places in Jounieh where one can go for a great time. Spend any night at Jounieh and leave relaxed with a smile on your face. It is a foremost sea attraction with a lively nightlife that includes multiple pubs and resto-pubs. One of the newest hot additions to the family of nightlife is Palm’s Beach House shown in figure 21. It is a hip, happening, gorgeous and fun nightlife district that can’t simply be forgotten. The Jounieh Pub District never disappoints!

Jounieh is perfect for a pub-crawl especially for the party people who love the beautiful old souk and tourists from all around the world. There is no need to stay in one place as the area boasts many pubs and hotspots full of welcoming friendly faces that are ready to mingle. Jounieh embodies a sense of camaraderie, which will put anyone in a great mood.

Figure 21 - Sunset at Palm's Beach House – Jounieh

Every visitor to Lebanon has heard that this is the only country in the world where one can ski on snow in the morning and swim in the waters of the Mediterranean in the afternoon. This is due to the fact that Lebanon mountain range rises up above a very narrow coast. Even the highest resorts are only a short drive from the coast, which offers on clear day a particularly spectacular view.

Lebanon is home to some of the best skiing in the Middle East. Just an hour’s drive from the Mediterranean coast you’ll find the snow-capped peaks of Mount Lebanon, where the slopes of Mzaar Kfardebian, the region’s largest resort, rise over 8,000 feet as shown in figure 22. Every winter, fashionable locals and the jet-set crowd conquer its impressive snowpack, take part in a rowdy après-ski scene, and tour the ancient Roman ruins nearby.

Figure 22 - Lebanon’s Mzaar Kfardebian Resort

Faqra Club is also one of the world's first private ski clubs. Featuring private ski slopes, horse-riding, recreational facilities and restaurants, Faqra Club is a luxury community that has been established for over 40 years, and is famous for its mountains and natural rock gardens. This resort offers a tranquil mountain haven that’s easily accessible from the busy city as shown in figure 23.

Figure 23 - Lebanon Ski Villas, 'Clouds' in Faqra Club by Nabil Gholam Architects

Moreover, Keserwan is also rich with mountains and caves that offer spectacular scenery and scenic views. Jeïta Grotto, one of the most marvelous natural wonders in the Middle-East, in spacious greenery, is a compound of crystallized caves in Lebanon located 20 km north of Beirut in the Valley of Nahr al-Kalb.

This grotto is made up of two limestone caves, upper galleries and a lower cave through which a 6230 m long river runs. In this cave and galleries, the action of water in the limestone has created cathedral-like vaults full of various sizes, colors and shapes of stalactites and stalagmites, majestic curtains and fantastic rock formations. The total length of the cave is more than 9000 m and there is one among the biggest stalactites in the world hanging 8,20 m. The grotto accommodates a huge hall with a distance of 108 m from the ceiling till the water level.

Aside from being a Lebanese national symbol and a top tourist destination, the Jeita Grotto plays an important social, economic and cultural role in the country. It was one of top 14 finalists in the New 7 Wonders of Nature competition. Figure 24 illustrates the beauty of Jeita Grotto.

Figure 24 - Jeita Grotto

Casino du Liban is a casino located in Maameltein (Ghazir), Ftouh Keserwan. With an area of about 35,000 square meters, the casino has around 400 slot machines and 60 gaming tables. It has a showroom, a night club, a theater, a banquet facility and five restaurants. The casino was first opened in 1959. It closed in 1989 and reopened in 1996 after a $50 million reconstruction and refurbishment project. Figure 25 shows this famous Casino today.

In his memoir of the international hotel business, Shadow of the Sun: Travels and Adventures in the World of Hotels, Peter J. Venison wrote that the Casino du Liban "was elegant, yet the cabaret was spectacular and rivaled anything that Las Vegas could offer". He also described it as a backdrop of a James Bond novel where clientele from the richest elite of European and Arabian societies ventured into the casino in formal black-tie attire.

Figure 25 - Casino du Liban

Furthermore, Keserwan has multiple natural reserves perfect for nature lovers. The Chnaniir Nature Reserve is located in Keserwan on a hill overlooking the bay of Jounieh. Nestled at an altitude of 650 m to 850 m, the forest peaks in Hriq where one can enjoy a 360-degree panoramic view of the sea and the mountains.

Rich in wild pines, oaks and strawberry trees, Chnaniir was declared a nature reserve in 2010 and, ever since, numerous initiatives have taken place to preserve the habitat while encouraging visitors to the area, including the introduction of three hiking trails of varying difficulty.

Jabal Moussa Biosphere Reserve (JMBR) is a unique melting pot of biodiversity and history, located in Keserwan district, Lebanon. Jabal Moussa and surrounding villages became part of the UNESCO Network of Biosphere Reserves under the Man and Biosphere (MAB) program in 2009. As part of the MAB program, JMBR addresses human livelihoods improvement and nature conservation through a participatory and adaptive management. It was designated a Global Important Bird Area (IBA), with more than 137 migratory and soaring bird species recorded.

Jabal Moussa portrays the interdependence of Man and Nature throughout history through various spiritual and archeological sites: Adonis Valley as a death site of God Adonis according to Phoenician mythology; Roman stairs along the Mountain's Southern slope; rock carvings by the Roman Emperor Hadrian; ruins of an old village isolated in the mountain; Mar Geryes Monastery; and a Cross at the mountain summit

Chouwen Lake is a famous lake located at the north side of Jabal Moussa Reserve. This lake is known as “Jannet Chouwen” and as the name reveals, it is a piece of heaven on earth as

Chouwen Lake is a famous lake located at the north side of Jabal Moussa Reserve. This lake is known as “Jannet Chouwen” and as the name reveals, it is a piece of heaven on earth as shown in figure 26. Nahr Ibrahim or "River of Abraham” is also known as river Adonis (river of immortal love) relative to the myth of Adonis and Astarte in Phoenician mythology. Today, it is one of the tourist attractions in Lebanon, being the place where the ancient god Adonis died, and the river became red with his blood.

Figure 26 - Chouwen Lake

Another important element of attraction is the Jounieh International Festival held in Jounieh at Fouad Chehab Stadium. This festival attracts each year thousands of tourists from all over the world since its establishment in 2011.

This festival is organized by "Phellipolis": a Lebanese non-profit association, whose main mission is to work for the development and modernization of municipal work in order to ensure decent living for the citizen. The Association strives to achieve sustainable development in the cities through human development, social, economic, environmental and tourism projects; thus, contributing to the growth of the cities' overall infrastructure.

Launching of the festivities start with a firework show all over Jounieh bay as shown in figure 27. Some of the highlight performances were: Charles Anzavour, Majida al Roumi, Ragheb Alama, Michel Sardou, Anthony Touma, Mika "The Origin of Love" and Cheb Khaled and others…

Figure 27 - Jounieh International Festival Firework

One cannot ignore the Zouk international festival which offers a variety of both local and international performances. It attracts visitors from all Lebanese regions and guests from many countries abroad. The events usually take place in a roman styled amphitheater with a capacity of 2500. Some of the highlight performances were: Calogero, Assi El-Halani, Chicago Blues a Living History, Carol Samaha, Garou, Jonathan Batiste & Monica Yunus, Pascal Obispo, Ziad Rahbani, Otis Grand - Blues 65 and others... The venue is complete with cafeterias and public facilities. Several large car parks with shuttles for transportation to and from the amphitheater ensure convenient access.

In addition to the previously mentioned activities, there are many more such as hiking to Chabrouh dam and Afqa waterfall, riding the Téléférique du Liban all the way to Harissa and maybe continuing to Ghosta and enjoying a nice paragliding experience over Jounieh. Also, Keserwan has multiple renown wineries such as Chateau Faqra and Chateau Musar…

5. Community:

5.1 Education:

Nelson Mandela once said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”. Education is the first step for people to gain the knowledge, critical thinking, empowerment and skills they need to make this world a better place. That’s why Keserwan is one of the pilot districts in Lebanon in the domain of education.

Based on a study made by the Lebanese Republic Central Administration of Statistics titled “Labor Force and Household Living Conditions Survey 2018-2019 In Keserwan”, graph 1 shows that students are more likely to enroll in private educational institutions (72.4 percent), rather than public institutions (21.7 percent).

Graph 1 - Distribution of Students by Type of Educational Institution

College Saint Joseph Antoura, the oldest French school in the Middle East, is located in the heart of Keserwan area. It was established in 1834 by the Lazarist priests, led by Fr. Andrew Francis. Located in the valley of Antoura, the campus consists of more than eight buildings with several courts and gardens.

Antoura ranks among the top schools in Lebanon. It is accredited by the French Ministry of Education and has the status of “école homologue”. The high school or "lycée" offers both the Lebanese and French baccalaureate programs with the possibility of a rather challenging intensive double baccalaureate program. It is classified as a French international school by the AEFE.

Some notable alumni of College Saint Joseph Antoura are:

  • René Mouawad - President of Lebanon in 1989
  • Kamal Jumblatt - Politician and Member of Parliament and Minister, a Druze leader and the founder of the Progressive Socialist Party
  • Ziad Baroud - Interior Minister from 2008 till 2011
  • Rudy Rahmé - Painter, sculptor and poet

Also, Keserwan is the home of other several top schools and universities. For example, it has multiple public schools in every district, and private schools such as Antonine International School, LWIS Adma International School, Antonine Sisters School Ghazir, Collège Notre Dame 35 | P a g e de Louaize, Collège Central Jounieh, SABIS International School, Lycée Libano-Allemand (Deutsche Schule und Kindergarten) … Also, there are many universities in Keserwan area, such as the Holy Spirit University of Kaslik (USEK), Notre Dame University Louaize (NDU), Lebanese Canadian University, Lebanese German University, etc.… This shows that Keserwan is one of the most important areas in Lebanon in relation to educational institutes.

5.2 Hotels and Resorts:

Keserwan is also known for its luxury and prestigious hotels and resorts. Some of these resorts are listed below in alphabetical order:

a. Al Murjan Palace Hotel - Jounieh:

b. Aquamarina - Tabarja:

c. Azure Beach Resort - Zouk Mosbeh: 2020

d. Intercontinental Mzaar Lebanon – Kfardebian:

e. Tabarja Beach – Tabarja:

f. Regency Palace Hotel - Adma:

g. Veer Boutique Hotel & Resort - Kaslik, Seaside:

5.3 Healthcare:

Keserwan is known to have multiple medical centers such as:

  • Notre Dame University Hospital (NDUH):

Established in 1960, NDUH is always striving to keep pace with the time, which is why they are continually introducing new technologies with high capabilities. Also, having affiliations with several universities in the field of Medicine, Nursing, Physical Therapy, Laboratory, Nutrition and others, the medical and paramedical staff keeps an academic interaction to be kept up-to-date on the latest in medical knowledge.

  • Saint Luis Hospital:

Established in 1972, Saint Louis Hospital is a non-profit humanitarian institution and belonging to the Maronite Congregation of Saint Thérèse. This hospital offers multiple medical imaging services such as: General Radiography, Mammography, UltrasoundEchography, Ultrasound/Obstetrical Pregnancy, Doppler Echocardiography, CT scan, MRI, EKG, and much more...

  • Wakim Laboratory:

Open since 1977, the Wakim Laboratory is the first private laboratory created in the Keserwan region. Equipped with digital devices and new high-quality and latest-generation equipment, the Wakim Medical Center allows the most precise diagnoses to be made in complete safety. The medical specialists and the medical staff of the center use all their knowledge and skills to serve patients in the best possible conditions, from reception to delivery of results, with respect, kindness and professionalism.

  • St. Georges - Ajaltoun:

Founded in 1983 with a capacity of 150 beds, this general hospital provides multidisciplinary services such as:

- A specialized ophthalmology service.

- A specialized endocrinology and diabetology service.

- A Higher Institute of Nursing

This hospital is located in a region in full demographic growth between Jounieh and Sannine (Winter ski resort).

  • Ftouh Keserwan Governmental Hospital – Bouar Public Hospital:

One of the few governmental hospitals in Lebanon, and the only one in Keserwan, the Ftouh Keserwan hospital played a great role in helping and assisting Covid patients. Even though Lebanon is going through a crisis on both the healthcare and the economic sides, the Bouar Public hospital never stopped helping. Today, it is one of the most important vaccine centers in Keserwan.

  • Keserwan Medical Center – KMC:

Since its launching in March 2015, KMC has been offering accessible and high quality state-of-the-art medical services. Its mission is to provide superior quality, safe and compassionate care while promoting the collaboration between the patient and the healthcare professional; a collaboration yielding better outcomes and a faster recovery.

  • LAU Medical Center – St. John’s Hospital:

The Lebanese American University (LAU) Medical Center-St John’s Hospital will soon become a healthcare icon in the Keserwan area. This hospital will offer Keserwan its only stroke-ready capability with a state-of-the art interventional set-up. This center will have three advanced operating rooms and another one in the Emergency Department. Most of all, it will have the ability to transmit surgeries live to anywhere in the world (video and sound). The In-Patient Service includes seven VIP patient rooms with all the amenities necessary for patient comfort. To complete the picture, a hospitality team will be on hand to offer patients and families a relaxing atmosphere.

6. Employment:

The results of the same study mentioned in part 5.1 show that women's share in employment was low, yet more prevalent in Keserwan than in the whole of Lebanon. At the caza level, the share of women that are employers/own account workers was found to be one of the highest (20.6 percent). The majority of employers or own-account workers in Keserwan were men (79.4 percent), a proportion that was lower than that attained at the national level (85.6 percent). Additionally, men's share in paid employment was lower in Keserwan (54.6 percent) than in Lebanon as a whole (63.5 percent). Graph 2 illustrates this difference.

Women in the Middle East are subjected to extreme patriarchal systems that often deprive them of their human rights and dignity. This is due to the fact that there is an imbalance between genders in the MENA region. But the fact that the working women in Keserwan share a good amount of the working women in Lebanon reflects how this caza doesn’t have a gender discriminant attitude and offers everyone a chance.

Graph 2 - Distribution of Students by Type of Educational Institution

Additionally, based on this survey and as shown in graph 3, the Services sector was the largest employment sector for women and men, with respectively 91.1 percent and 72.7 percent in Keserwan, compared to 91.7 percent and 68.8 percent in Lebanon. In this sector, women surpassed men by 18.4 percentage points at the caza level. It was particularly noticeable that 24.3 percent of working men and 8.5 percent of working women were employed in industry in Keserwan, compared to 26.6 percent of working men and 6.7 percent of working women in the whole of Lebanon. Employment in agriculture was the lowest among all the economic sectors at the national and district levels.

Graph 3 – Economic Activity Sector by Gender (%)

Moreover, Mount Lebanon’s economy, and specifically Keserwan’s economy, is mainly based on industrial activities. According to the Directory of Exports and Industrial Firms, the Governorate contains the highest concentration of industrial firms in Lebanon, hosting 58% of the total number of Lebanese industrial firms. The majority of these firms are agro-food companies, followed by paper and printing companies. The industrial zone in Keserwan is one of the oldest zones in Lebanon. Multiple industries have chosen this region due to the fact that it is close to Beirut, the capital of Lebanon, and there is a power plant in Zouk Mikael.

Furthermore, Keserwan is the home of multiple renown companies such as:

a. Algorithm:

Located on the sea road of Zouk Mosbeh, Algorithm is a regional Pharmaceutical Company operating in the MENA region and committed to improving human health and well-being. It is focused on the following therapeutic lines: Cardio-metabolic, Neurology, Urology, Pain & Inflammation, Gastroenterology & Infectiology.

Algorithm strives to manufacture and market quality pharmaceutical products, provide access to the best treatment options to healthcare professionals and to patients, and support a rewarding work environment.

b. INDEVCO Group:

Headquartered in Ajaltoun, Lebanon, and over the past six decades, INDEVCO Group has broadened their portfolio of corrugated, paper, and plastic raw materials and packaging, jumbo tissue rolls, consumer and away-from-home disposables, renewable energy solutions, converting machinery, and CNC machined parts. With sustainable development as a major driver, they are dedicated to integrating environmental sustainability in all operations, from raw material and energy efficiency to waste management and emission reduction.

c. Exotica:

Located in Zouk Mosbeh, Keserwan, Exotica is a family business that has always prospered on many values such as: excellence, perseverance, generosity, integrity, and team unity. Exotica was founded in Lebanon in 1978 under Debbane Group, as a horticulture company involved in the ornamental and gifting sector. Since then, it has grown to become a leading provider of first-class floristry and landscape contracting in the Middle East and North Africa.

Exotica’s history forms the fabric of Exotica’s identity. It gives confidence, skills and experience to focus on the present and build an ever-brighter future. The extensive array of services, the quality of their products, and the expertise of their teams have established them as a household name and ‘green advocate’ across the region.

7. The impact of Year 2020 on Keserwan:

 7.1 The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic:

  7.1.1 Healthcare Sector: Renovation and Expansion of Hospitals:

The insufficient spaces and supplies as a response to the Covid-19 pandemic proved the incompetence of the hospitals in Lebanon to be able to handle such massive situations. For example, multiple renown organizations provided Lebanon with Intensive Care Unit (ICU) beds to help alleviate the strain on the Lebanese healthcare system and help it cope with the sharp increase in the Covid-19 cases in need of urgent medical care.

People might perceive this news as a negative one, where they only see the ineffectiveness of Lebanese hospitals. However, this pandemic did hit the world as a surprise, and most of the upscale countries have passed through the same issues. This is surely a positive note, for it does not emphasis the lack found in the foundation of the healthcare department, but it proves the hard-work and dedication of each Lebanese employee in that field.

Another massive example that can be taken is the new innovation and expansion of LAU’s hospital in Jounieh – Keserwan. Its patients have at their service a total of 85 beds and patient stations including emergency services, cardiac catherization laboratory, critical care unit, etc.… It plans to prove itself on upscale levels, and show its true potential with the new planned implementations, where construction is a key to its success. Overflow of Patients:

Moving on from what seems as an optimistic change, and to stumble on some disturbing news, many hospitals were overflown with Covid-19 patients. This truly proves the dire need of an expansion and innovation of Lebanese hospitals.

Many hospitals were unable to admit patients due to insufficient space capabilities, a situation which was out of their control. A hospital director mentioned that the situation might require freeing up an entire floor and dedicating it to the Covid-19 patients. Also, due to the excess of cases, patients were overflowing into the emergency room. So, more hospitals were required. Some of these hospitals were totally transformed to a healthcare unit that deals only with these patients. The insufficient space and the overflowing of the hospitals have urged the medical staff to take drastic measures in order to help as much as possible. Even though the emergency rooms are not well equipped to maintain a Covid-19 patient, the medical staff is trying its best as a humanitarian act of sympathy.

However, in the midst of such a tragedy, some people still see hope for the future and work optimistically to improve instead of surrendering to the dreadful obstacles. This issue is facing the whole world, and Lebanon is no exception. Yet Keserwan showed a resilient force against this pandemic. For example, the Bouar Hospital in Keserwan has decided to dedicate its financial resources to innovate the hospital to better improve its health standards, and to serve a higher quantity of patients. This comes as an extreme positive measure, especially taking into consideration the lack of support from the government and the tough economic situations Lebanon is going through.

  7.1.2 Educational Sector: Closure of Schools and Universities:

With the beginning of the corona virus spread, schools and universities were the first entities to close down and send their students and staff home. They were the first to understand the intensity and criticality of such a virus, and took action immediately after announcing the first few corona virus cases in Lebanon.

The schools closure brought into existence diverse reactions. Students found it as a break while parents found online education non-beneficial and unhealthy. Nevertheless, no one can argue that it was a huge step towards reducing the impact and spread of the deadly virus. Controversies about the Legitimacy of Online Education:

As was stated previously, the legitimacy of the online education was questioned. Unfortunately, the slow internet, the shortage of electricity, and the lack of experience teachers had about distance learning impeded the progress of online teaching.

However, people soon realized that this step towards online teaching was truly needed to sustain education during the closure. This has helped many students and recent graduates for they are now acquainted with remote skills where they can easily work online while being safe at home

  7.1.3 Economic Sector: Sales Reduction at Retail Stores due to Quarantine Measures:

It comes to no surprise that worldwide businesses do oppose any lockdown measures taken due to previous experience. Former quarantine had let to a tremendous negative impact on the economical scale. Sales have been null, financial statuses have been worsened, and no optimistic actions were taken by the government to ensure sustainability

Besides, one might ask: how could anyone argue with their reasoning? They have gone through the worst phases of their business cycle and lost not only their jobs, but also the jobs of all the employees included, and the ability for a living.

Yet, once again, the Lebanese people will surprise you with their unmatched responsiveness. Although many physical stores were closed down, many Lebanese opened new online businesses (such as delivery, clothing, services …), and some other transferred their physical store into an online one, to adapt to the changing situation. Again, the Lebanese people have shown their will-power to adapt and overcome crisis. They selftaught themselves and learned from their mistakes to be able to succeed.

 Difficulties to Import due to Airport Closure:

Lebanon manufacturers slightly, and it is involved in the agricultural sector, yet it requires a lot of raw material that is usually imported. Any closure of airports, ports, and/or borders may create a serious chaos.

That is why, due to the inability to import final products nor raw materials, every sector in Lebanon was affected especially both the construction sector and the economic sector. People could neither complete previously planned investments, nor start new projects. This is particularly due to the instability of the country which was previously stated.

  7.1.4 Touristic Sector:

As all of the countries witnessed, Lebanon has also witnessed an incredible decrease in tourism.

All the sectors act as a cycle, and when one sector is impacted with a huge event, all the other sectors will follow. That explains the decrease in tourism as a result of airports being closed, activities being put on hold, events being canceled, and Covid-19 cases being aggravated.

When the touristic sector is negatively impacted, there would be a detrimental effect on all other sectors, especially restaurants and hotels.

Even though it seems like everything is appalling, the Lebanese people never retrieve or give up. They usually find a humorous and unique way to adapt. Domestic tourism was encouraged. For example, “chalets” in Faraya were fully booked all throughout the lockdown.

  7.1.5 Mental State of People:

People perceive life and its sadness in different ways. While some suffer and question life, others strive to improve and empower themselves. This also applies to the Covid pandemic. The health care workers felt that their job was putting them at a risk and felt extra stress at work. They were and still are afraid to pass the virus to others and are concerned that families and friends feared to get infections through them. Some were also worried that the community avoided their families because of their work at the hospital.

Moreover, isolation and quarantine imposed multifunctional psychological burdens and have presented tough challenges to people’s mental wellbeing. The loss of usual routines and activities have caused significant frustration and unrest. Even though the Lebanese society has always been described as incredibly resilient and social, the quarantine has caused high levels of social loneliness.

On the other hand, and regardless of all the pain, suffering, and tragedy, the Lebanese people always empower themselves through the obstacles that they face. Lebanese people have a fighting mentality that overcomes any circumstances they might encounter.

One example could be given about USEK professor Marita Hojeij as shown in figure 28. She assembled a team during corona, and decided to work even more instead of surrendering to the situation. They entered a very important competition, which is the “Huawei innovation competition”, which not only proved their dedication and hard work, but also proved the Lebanese capabilities in front of the world.

Figure 28 - Facebook Post

 7.2 The Impact of the Economic Crisis:

  7.2.1 Healthcare Sector: Inability to Sustain Hospitals with Equipment

With the economic crisis that has been mentioned several times, and will be further explained, the healthcare sector has been affected the most. That is because of the pressure they hold and the obligations they have on aiding people. This accumulates to the humanitarian pressure they are facing as well, where the overflowing of patients, and lack of equipment are causing the hospitals to make tough and unfair decisions on who to help and how to preserve everything in order to try and redistribute them on all the patients.

The hospitals are unable to provide equipment, the pharmacies are unable to provide medicines and necessities, the nurses and doctors are unpaid, and the cost of medicines and hospitalization has gone up tremendously, to the extent that people are either dying or screaming for any help.

In Keserwan, just like in other caza in Lebanon, many hospitals were facing financial problems or even had to close for a short period of time due to the lack of medical resources needed to fight Covid. Also, this situation has led to a drastic migration of the medical staff from doctors to nurses, which has left the hospitals in need for a new staff.

  7.2.2 Educational Sector:  Inability to Pursue Education:

As the crisis deepens, the educational sector has become on thin ice. Parents can no longer afford the increased prices of the books, stationery, and inflated tuition fees. It is good to keep in mind that the wages of the Lebanese have not changed or adapted to fit the crises Lebanon is facing.

Also, public school teachers are paid in Lebanese Lira, which has lost a lot of its value, making a teacher’s salary now worth less than a 1 USD per hour. This has resulted in frequent teacher strikes.

The increasing cost of financing education for families is preventing many children from returning to schools. Private schools’ tuition fees are fast becoming unaffordable and education is becoming a luxury to many families.

Multiple schools and universities around Lebanon and in Keserwan were still following the official exchange rate of the dollar, which is 1,500 Lebanese pounds. But they suddenly decided to use the bank rate which is of 3,900 Lebanese pounds for every US dollar. This has increased drastically the tuition fees and parents are no longer able to afford it. What was once a child’s right is now considered a luxury!

The head of the Teachers Syndicate in Private Schools, Mr. Rodolphe Abboud, announced that teachers will not be able to return to school in the month of September, and parents will not be able to send their children to classes, with the interaction of the living tragedy, the deterioration of the purchasing power of salaries and the continued spread of the Corona virus.  Brain Drains:

For those who are unfamiliar with the term “Brain Drain”, it is when a country like Lebanon loses all its youth to immigration in order to seek stability and maintain a future for themselves. As soon as a country loses its intellectual people, the society starts to collapse, and there will be no improvement in any sector or field.

Lebanon has a highly educated, skilled, and professional population. Nevertheless, wherever a Lebanese goes, he or she surely learns to adapt and quickly acquire new skills that will make them “shine abroad”. Foreign countries certainly benefit from the anticipated Lebanese brain drain to the detriment of their homeland.

In one of the universities in Keserwan, 27 out of 49 recent graduate mechanical engineering students afforded leaving the country either to continue their education or to start work. Another 14 graduates of the same class are expected to follow them by the end of this year. The rest are not able to leave right now for they can’t afford traveling due to the economic situation. This is a live example of brain drain in Keserwan.

  7.2.3 Economic Sector: Investments in Construction Projects

As a result of the economic crisis, the investments and project plans have been put on a halt. Lebanese have no financial capabilities anymore to invest. Although foreigners find investing in Lebanon to be very cheap, it is a matter of “why”, “when”, and “where” to invest.

The fate of many construction projects was unknown due to the economic situation and especially after the port explosion on August 4, 2020. Some projects were stopped due to mismanagement and lack of material, and new projects were put on halt. But many projects never ceased during their construction phase. Few examples include the new under construction private village project St. Remon, only 150m away from the sea, located in the coastal area of Kesserwan in Bouar. St. Remon is a modern project consisting of three blocks with sizes starting 45 sqm up to 135 sqm.

Another example is the Azure Beach Resort in Zouk Mosbeh. This resort flew in all the way from Dubai and landed in the heart of Lebanon to bring the best city escape. This resort opened its doors to the public during a critical time, during the year of 2020. The construction of this project was never put on a break. It is now considered as a fusion of breathtaking scenery, modern design, and curated experiences.

Also, an interesting project in this district is the “Kye Beachfront Resort” project in Tabarja. It is a 200,000 sqm under construction megaproject that includes an impressive marina and yachting club, with gyms and spas, running and cycling tracks, sports courts … It has a private outdoor space for every chalet and contains 4 world class restaurants.

Even before Covid struck, foreign investment in Lebanon was being undermined by the economic and political crisis. The pandemic has only amplified and sealed its fate. The inflated price of goods has put a halt to multiple construction projects.

On the other hand, Lebanon is relying on Real Estate. In light of the country’s severe US dollar drought, houses are being sold at a major discount to those who can pay in cash. And as global travel begins to pick up again, the Lebanese diaspora could go on a real estate spending spree. Also, domestic demand for real estate has shot up, as many local Lebanese look to pour their money into tangible goods, not collapsing banks!

  7.2.4  Touristic Sector:

Due to the economic crisis, the tourist sector was impacted as well. As a result, this sector was both positively and negatively impacted.

The local currency has devaluated and plummeted to the ground. This is an attracting factor for tourists who find the country to be very cheap now. So, they are attracted to spend at ease and enjoy their vacation and explore different aspects of Lebanon’s beautiful nature, exciting night life, and endless activities.

Mr. Nicolas Hayek, managing partner at Al Murjan Palace Hotel, mentioned that the touristic sector went into a survival mode after it was hit by both the economic crisis and the Covid-19 pandemic. All the focus was now turned into local tourism where Lebanese citizens would come to spend a “Daycation” in resorts. This way, they had the chance to benefit from the packages offered inside the hotel where prices were in Lebanese lira.

the economic crisis and the port explosion that occurred in August 4, 2020. Hotels and resorts had to start doing their best with what they have. So, the business became local. All products were now locally manufactured.

As well, Mr. Hayek declared that during the economic crisis, most of the renovation projects were put on hold. Therefore, the money that was supposed to go to these projects was transferred to the salaries. He acknowledged that the best asset in this sector is the human asset, the staff.

But, due to the crisis, most of the tourist sought places have been closed or filed for bankruptcy. Almost all activities have been put on hold. Moreover, social inequality, unsafe environment, and political instability have become a source of worry to some tourists who prefer cheaper and safer atmosphere.

This resulted in the negative impact on the touristic sector, where Lebanon is beginning to sense its influence more and more each month.

8. Real Estate Development in Keserwan:

Real estate has become a safe haven in Lebanon amid the dire economic crisis after a significant number of investors have shifted their money to the sector over the past year.

The real estate sector is the only one of the 11 sectors monitored for economic activity in Lebanon that grew in the first few months of 2020, according to the Central Bank. The central bank data revealed an increase of 137.5 % over the first seven months of 2020 when compared to the previous year’s corresponding period.

The financial crisis has caused a run-on dollar deposit since October 2019. Customers attempted to withdraw money from their deposit accounts due to worries that the banks might go bankrupt. The real estate market in Lebanon is challenged with a reduced purchasing power of buyers and a lack of financing for developers as part of a drawback in the global markets and state economies.

However, while some depositors opted to transfer money overseas or preserve cash, as seen by the substantial increase of currency in circulation, others preferred to use their frozen assets to repay loans or even purchase fixed assets like as properties and real estate.

So, buying properties in Lebanon has become a trend to unlock dollar bank accounts in light of tight capital controls imposed by Lebanese commercial banks to restrict withdrawals of dollar banknotes. Investors have been buying up real estate at levels not seen for years in Lebanon’s previously stagnant property market.

But Beirut’s property prices are exceptionally high, at about four times the national average. So, homebuyers have been moving out from Beirut to cheaper housing. During the first eight months of 2018, Beirut accounted for only around 28.8% of the total value of property transactions, a decline from a 37.2% share in 2007, based on the data from the Real Estate Registry.

Buyers are looking outside Beirut for less expensive nearby areas, such as Baabda, Maten, and Keserwan, which accounted for almost 50% of total sales in the first eight months of 2018, an increase from 47% in 2007.

According to a study done by Hayek Group, the variation of property prices in Keserwan was evaluated from 2009 till 2021. This study was divided into three categories: a general overview of Keserwan, and a study covering coastal Keserwan area, and upper Keserwan area separately as shown in graphs 4, 5, and 6 respectively. The results are illustrated showing all properties price variation, as well as apartments, and lands.

Graph 4 - Variation of Properties Prices in Keserwan (2009-2021) – (Hayek Group Database)

Graph 5 - Variation of Properties Prices in Coastal Keserwan (2009-2021) - (Hayek Group Database)

Graph 6 - Variation of Properties Prices in Upper Keserwan (2009-2021) – (Hayek Group Database)

As shown above, in Keserwan, property prices have risen as follows:

  • In a global view on Keserwan as a whole:
    • For all properties: from $ 1,114 in 2009 to $ 1,635 in 2021
    • For apartments: from $ 1,380 in 2009 to $ 1,462 in 2021
    • For lands: from $ 413 in 2009 to $ 537 in 2021

Dividing Keserwan as we know it into 2 areas, the upper area and the coastal area, prices of assets will range as follows:

  • In Coastal Keserwan:
    • For all properties: from $ 1,246 in 2009 to $ 1,689 in 2021
    • o For apartments: from $ 1,538 in 2009 to $ 1,583 in 2021
    • For lands: from $ 474 in 2009 to $ 513 in 2021
  • In Upper Keserwan:
    • For all properties: from $ 763 in 2009 to $ 1,226 in 2021
    • For apartments: from $ 945 in 2009 to $ 1,101 in 2021
    • For lands: from $ 201 in 2009 to $ 520 in 2021

Despite the effect of the pandemic and the current political and economic deterioration in the country, graph 4 indicates an increase in the values of properties in Keserwan. Although it seems unreasonable, this represents the actual real estate status where bank depositors fled with their money into the real estate sector, boosting the prices into a kind of stability where a price crash was expected.

An interesting comment that can be made about these graphs is that the lands price variation is relatively low and stable compared to the apartments and other property types. With lands being less concentrated in Keserwan compared to apartments, duplexes and other properties, this has led the overall study of properties to be more influenced by the price variations of duplexes, houses, apartments, warehouses, and other built properties rather than lands. This shows that investing in a land in Keserwan, whether in the coastal part or the upper part or in general, is a stable reliable investment. A land is a tangible and physical property that is yours, regardless of what the global economic situation is. Currency and monetary values may change, but ownership does not. Also, a land is a smart long-term hold which allows one to win the benefits of rising values, especially if one is buying in an area that’s due to expand and grow such as Keserwan.

Moreover, this study shows that the peak of the apartments price variation happened in year 2015. Usually, a price peak occurs when there is a high demand on a certain asset. This is an interesting observation knowing that during this period Lebanon was going through several ups and downs starting from a vacant presidency position to an unstable regional situation. Also, the instability of different countries around us such as Iraq, Syria, and some others, led to the increase of investment from their citizens in the Lebanese real estate market.

Furthermore, the data collected illustrates the price variations of “all properties” in the Keserwan region. For example, graph 4 demonstrates that while the land price was at its lowest point, the “all properties” price was at its highest point ($ 400 compared to $ 2,145 respectively). This displays the fact that even though one asset might drop, the others will not always be affected. Franklin D. Roosevelt, an American politician who served as the 32nd president of the United States, famously mentioned that “Real estate cannot be lost or stolen, nor can it be carried away. Purchased with common sense, paid for in full, and managed with reasonable care, it is about the safest investment in the world”.

Based on a study conducted and published by the Order of Engineers and Architects for the number of building licenses implemented per region and throughout the years in Keserwan, the district has seen a huge growth in the construction industry which is shown in graphs 7 and 8 below.

Graph 7 - New Building Licenses in Keserwan District per Region between 2009 and 2020 – Hayek Group 2021 (Source: OEA)

Graph 8 - New Building Licenses in Keserwan District per Year between 2009 and 2020 – Hayek Group 2021 (Source: OEA)

Similarly, as shown in graphs 9, 10, and 11, all had a decrease in the issuance of Execution Orders, yet Keserwan showed some ups and downs in a linear manner which means that this change was slow and not drastic as in Mount Lebanon and Lebanon (almost parabolic shape).

Graph 9 - Execution Orders in Keserwan (2009-2019) – Hayek Group 2021 (Source: OEA)

Graph 10 - Execution Orders in Mount Lebanon (2009-2019) – Hayek Group 2021 (Source: OEA)

Graph 11 - Execution Orders in Mount Lebanon (2009-2019) – Hayek Group 2021 (Source: OEA)

In addition, the activity of real estate was studied by the Real Estate Directory over the past 10 years in Keserwan. All sales operations are shown by month in the graph below. It can be noticed that, regardless of the variations that have occurred and all health wise issues that raised in the country, 2020 has proven to be the year with the most sales operations for over 10 years.

Graph 12 - Sales Transactions in Keserwan (2010-2021) – Hayek Group 2021 (Source: DLRC)

Graph 13 shows the corresponding sum of taxes on the sales transactions per month. When comparing graphs 12 and 13, it can be concluded that there is a directly proportional relation between both factors. So, as the sales transactions increase, so does their respective taxes summations. These two data are dependent on one another.

Graph 13 - Taxes on Sales Transactions (2010-2021) – Hayek Group 2021 (Source: DLRC)

9. Infrastructure Projects in Keserwan:

Over the last few years, Keserwan District has witnessed a huge growth in relation to infrastructure projects. Some of these main projects are listed below:

Graph 12 - Sales Transactions in Keserwan (2010-2021) – Hayek Group 2021 (Source: DLRC)

Also, EBML (Establishment of the Water of Beirut & Mount Lebanon), in cooperation with the Ministry of Energy and Water and the competent departments, is implementing projects and programs throughout the Lebanese capital Beirut and the regions of Mount Lebanon (Jbeil - Keserwan - Al Matn - Baabda - Aley - Chouf), with the aim of providing every citizen with their right to clean water, adopting the slogan of justice in distribution, transparency in achievement and responsibility in securing the public service. This project serves 2,500,000 people distributed over 455,000 housing units. The number of subscribers is 381,300 over an area of 200,000 hectares in 533 towns.

10. Conclusion:

In a nutshell, even though Lebanon is going through a difficult time due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the economic crisis, all of its districts are striving to overcome these challenges. Keserwan is a district with rich history, culture, and holds a promising future regardless of diverse circumstances.

Currently, this region is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Lebanon. Keserwan distinguishes out among the several adjacent districts for being a friendly ecologically secure area. This caza is considered one of the safest zones in this country due to the low criminal records and the friendly attitude of its population.

Being in Keserwan during these tiring times is like going on vacation. As previously said, it is an area that caters to all sorts of tourists for it has a vast variety of historical, archeological, spiritual, and recreational destinations

Moreover, Keserwan holds a distinguished level of education for it has multiple schools on both public and private levels, and many universities. Also, it has at its heart numerous hotels and resorts where a tourist or/and any Lebanese family can spend a pleasant time and enjoy their stay.

Furthermore, Keserwan is a live example of how women are involved in the society whether on a work level or/and on an educational level. This shows how females are an added value to the society and play an important role in building the future of the nation.

The year 2020 had a tremendous impact on the whole world due to the outbreak of the Covid19 virus. Keserwan district is of no exception. People were not prepared for such a disaster. Nevertheless, the medical staff and the citizens showed a high level of awareness. Hospitals were alerted and ready to help all patients despite lack of equipment and medicines.

Not only did Covid cause problems in 2020, but the economic crisis hit Lebanon like a wrecking ball. The Lebanese lira lost its value and many Lebanese flew out of the country searching for a better life.

Based on the data collected from many sources, the real estate sector in Keserwan has proved immunity against the current turbulent economic situation. Investors with their money stuck in the banks have decided to shelter in a safe asset and purchase properties in Keserwan at attractive rates.

Even though multiple projects were put on halt due to the situation, some pilot projects that were in their preliminary phase remained under construction. For instance, Kye Beachfront Resort in Tabarja, Azure Beach Resort in Zouk Mosbeh, and St. Remon in Bouar are just few examples of such magnificent resilient projects.

In short, despite the country’s continuous challenges, Keserwan reveals a yielding growth on multiple levels due to its promising sectors and stable investment climate. The district is constantly encouraging local and regional investors to regain their trust in Lebanon. The Keserwanies shall bring all Lebanese closer to the core aim of revitalizing this beautiful caza and reflect the positive investment trend on the rest of the country.