Lebanon's Second Largest Land Holding
Tannourine is the plural of the Syriac word Tannour. A Tannour is an old stone oven used in ancient times. The very first settlers established a number of Tannours in Tannourine-Al-Fawqa, and later settled down the valley in Tannourine-Al-Tahta, where a more fertile landscape allowed local agriculture to thrive.
The ancient meaning of the word “Tannourine” fluctuates between fire and light. However, in Aramaic “Tannourine” means two mountains and this reflects more accurately the geographic nature of Tannourine which is surrounded by high mountains.
Tannourine is located in the highest mountains of the Batroun District, in the North of Lebanon, at an elevation ranging from 850 to 2400 metres above the sea level and at a distance of 90 km away from Beirut and 50 km from Byblos/Jbeil. There are more than fifteen villages in Tannourine scattered over a vast area of land, which is considered one of the largest areas in Lebanon, adjoining the boundaries of four districts: Batroun, Jbeil, Bchasree and Baalbek/Hermel. The fertile landscape has helped the local agriculture to thrive and grow as this is evident from its rich produce such as apples, pears, cherries, walnuts and all other fruit, vegetables and legumes.Beside the Nahr-el-Jouz River which runs through the valley of Tannourine and flows into the Batroun Sea, there are a large number of natural water springs which are utilised for irrigation as well as for drinking water for all its inhabitants and for many neighbouring villages in the Batroun District.
Tannourine is 96 Kilometers Squared and occupies 0.92% of Lebanon's land mas.
Of the 96 Kilometers squared Tannourine El Faouqa is 75,Tannourine El Tahta is 9, Wathoub is 4 and Chatine is 4. In total Tannourine sits on 9600 Hectares.
Tannourine spring bottled water is distributed as one of the most natural and pure drinking water throughout Lebanon and overseas including Australia. The cedar of Tannourine, with over 60,000 cedar trees form a quarter of the cedar forests in Lebanon, is now protected by “The Tannourine Cedars Forest Nature Reserve” which was created under Law No.9 in February 1999.
Tannourine hosts a remarkable number of churches, monasteries and hermitages. There are 22 churches with some churches built on archaeological sites from the Roman Era such as the Monastery and church of Saint Chalitta and the church of our Lady of Zwilla in Laqlouq.
There are more than fifteen large Families in Tannourine with a population that exceeds 40,000 people. Some of these Families are the “ Harb, Mourad, Younes, Tarabay, Hasham, Dagher, Mattar, Raiidi, Karam, Fadoul, Bkasini, Shahine, Kumair, Akiki, Sarkis etc”.
A large number of the people of Tannourine migrate temporarily to various cities in Lebanon during the winter seasons; however a large number of its population has migrated to various countries and became new citizens in Australia, Brazil, America and others.
Migration to Australia.
The first Tannourine migrant to Australia was Mr Nehme Harb in 1935, known as Uncle Norm, he lived in Bathurst and died a single man. Migration from Tannourine remained slow in the 1950s and 1960s until the start of the 1975 civil war when a large number of the various Families of the Tannourine people migrated to Australia and soon afterwards became Australian citizens.
The Tannourine population in Australia is currently estimated to be around 3000 people and it consists of three generations who reside mostly in NSW. Most of the first generation are self-employed trades’ people, retail business owners and builders. The second generation boasts a high number of university graduates holding noteworthy employments in the public and the private sectors. The third generation and beyond are the future of great men and women to come.