Brummana

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Brummana
برمانا
City
Lebanon January 2014 188.JPG
Map showing the location of Brummana within Lebanon
Map showing the location of Brummana within Lebanon
Brummana
Location within Lebanon
Coordinates: 33°51′57″N 35°35′42″E / 33.8659°N 35.5950°E / 33.8659; 35.5950Coordinates: 33°51′57″N 35°35′42″E / 33.8659°N 35.5950°E / 33.8659; 35.5950
Country  Lebanon
Governorate Mount Lebanon Governorate
District Matn District
Highest elevation 800 m (2,600 ft)
Lowest elevation 700 m (2,300 ft)
Time zone EET (UTC+2)
 • Summer (DST) EEST (UTC+3)
Dialing code +961


Brummana (Arabic: برمانا‎) is a town in the Matn District of the Mount Lebanon Governorate in Lebanon. It is located east of Beirut, overlooking the capital and the Mediterranean.

Overview[edit]

As most of the villages, Brummana has an Aramaic name which most probably means house of Rammana, the God of Air, Storm and Thunder: In the location where Brummana was built it was thought that the god “Raymond” in Aramaic or “Ramano” in Assyrian lived in, which gave the name “Beit Roumana” (or House of Roumana), and it is known that the letter B at the beginning of the name of villages refers to “Beit” in Arabic meaning “House” in English.

Climate[edit]

Summer is usually dry in Brummana and begins in early May and ends in mid-October. Summer temperature rarely exceeds 30 deg C, with a lower limit of around 20°C (68°F). Its relative humidity in summer runs at 68%. Winter is wet and mild with temperatures ranging between 5 and 18 deg C, with the occasional snowfall.

Demographics[edit]

Brummana is home to various religious groups, although Christians, mostly Greek Orthodox make up 49% ,and Maronite Catholic make up 41% of the population, with Druze making a substantial minority.[1] The town is also the summer home of Arab tourists from the Persian Gulf area, mostly from Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, and Saudi Arabia. There is also a very old Greek Orthodox church in Brummana, the Church of the Prophet Cha'ya (Isaiah), it was originally a fort of Byzantine origin around 1,500 years old, but was turned into a church in the 7th century. Eighty years ago, when Maronites fled from the north and settled in Brummana, the church had to be divided. It is now half Greek Orthdox and half catholic.

Education[edit]

The most renowned educational institute in Brummana is Brummana High School, which was founded by the Quaker, Theophilus Waldmeier in 1873. The school influenced the inhabitants of Brummana and gave the town some English traditions, such as the five o’clock tea.[2]

Theophilus Waldmeier (Swiss) 1832–1915: Theophilus Waldmeier, was born in 1832 in Basle, Switzerland. He attended the missionary college of St Crischona, near Basle, and went to Abyssinia as a missionary in 1858. After being among a motley assortment of Europeans held prisoner by the mad Ethiopian King Theodore and rescued in the nick of time by General Napier and his British troops at the siege of Magdala; he left in 1868 and went to Syria, settling at Beirut in connection with the British Syrian Mission founded in 1860. He re-embarked on a second career of good works. Among the fruits of that career are two of Lebanon's most vigorous institutions—Brummana High School, and Asfuriya Mental Hospital, founded in 1894.

The Swiss Missionary Theophilus Waldmeier moved his half-Ethiopian wife and his eight children by horseback up the steep mountain path from Beirut to Brummana where he started the Friends' Syrian Mission in 1873. In 1874, he traveled to Europe to seek financial backing from the Society of Friends. After listening to his impassioned plea for aid, some British and American Quakers formed a committee which, from that time until today, has provided support for the Brummana School.

19th Century Drawing of Brummana

Brummana Soup Kitchen[edit]

In the summer of 1915, as the First World War gathered pace, the British imposed an economic blockage against the Ottoman territories along the eastern coast of the Mediterranean sea.[3] The Young Turk government introduced military rule across its Arab territories and began stockpiling food for their armies. This coincided with a locust infestation across food producing areas. In the resulting famine, which lasted two years, it is estimated that 100,000 of Mount Lebanon's 450,000 inhabitants died.[4][5]

The Turkish military governor, Jemal Pasha, was a frequent resident of Brummana. Another resident was Arthur Dray who was one of the founders of the School of Dentistry at the Syrian Protestant College in Beirut. The two men were on good terms following Dray's treatment of a bullet wound to Jemal's jaw[6] and Dray received permission to open a small soup kitchen. The kitchen started in the summer of 1916, it employed one cook and fed 15 people. At the same time Mariam Cortas (née Asswad) and her two sisters Labibi (Mrs Amin Rizk) and Selma (Mrs Selim Rizk) were managing funds to help nursing mothers and were distributing milk and food. Mrs Cortas took over the running of the kitchen, increasing the number of daily meals to 50 in the first week and 100 in the second. The kitchen was then moved into an empty hotel that had been used by the Turkish army. By the end of 1916 the "Brummana Soup Kitchen" was feeding at least 1500 people a day. The project received military approval on the understanding that no males between the age of 12 and 60 were being fed. Funding came from the American Mission and a number of wealthy Syrians in Beirut. At its busiest the kitchen employed between 200 & 300 people. A visitor in October 1917 reported 1,200 people being fed, of whom 1080 were children. Despite the kitchen's success people were turned away, the body of a woman and her child were found a few hundred yards away. Other major kitchens in the country at the time were at Souk El Gharb, 'Abay, Sidon and Tripoli. After the war their work was taken over by the Syria And Palestine Relief Fund. As things returned to normal it was found that there where over 400 orphans being cared for in Brummana.[7]

Etymology[edit]

The name of the town, Brummana, stems from the Aramaic. The name most probably means House of Rammana, which was the god of air, storm and thunder. It was believed during Antiquity that Rammana lived in the area that is now Brummana, and thus the area became known as Beit Roumana (or House of Roumana) and later corrupted to Brummana.

Tourism[edit]

Brummana is one of Lebanon's main summer resorts due to its relatively cool climate. Sitting on top of a pine-forested hill, the town offers visitors spectacular views over Beirut, the Mediterranean coast, and the surrounding mountainous area. It attracts many Lebanese for day and weekend trips. Brummana also attracts thousands of Arab tourists from the Persian Gulf every summer, eager to escape from the hot and arid climate of the Persian Gulf. The population of Brummana rises to about 60,000 during the summer months, from a low of about 15,000 in winter, when the weather is cold and often snowy.[8]

Families of Brummana[edit]

The main families that currently reside in Brummana are Al Batrouni, Cortas, Karam, Aouad, Rizk, Maksad, Kanaan, Aswad, Asmar, Azar,Tadros, Abou Jaoude,Achkar,Bechara, Njeim, El Hayek, Tawil, Abi Samra, Abi hamad, Mazloum, Younes, Abu Fadel, Ziadé's, Saad and EL Sayegh.

Places[edit]

Brummana has many hotels like Grand Hills Hotel, Brummana Hotel, Kanaan Hotel, Le Crillion, Printania Hotel, Garden Hotel... Brummana is also filled with many restaurants like Crepaway, La Gargotte, Burj Al Hammam, Mounir, Fakhreddine...

References[edit]

  1. ^ Community
  2. ^ Brummana Cultural Tradition
  3. ^ Tamari, Salim (2011) Year of the locust: a soldier's diary and the erasure of Palestine's Ottoman past. University of California Press. ISBN 0520259556. p.51
  4. ^ Cobban, Helena (1985) The making of modern Lebanon - (The making of the Middle East). Hutchinson and Co. ISBN 0-09-160791-4. p.55
  5. ^ Antonius, George (1938) The Arab Awakening. The Story of the Arab National Movement. Hamish Hamilton. (1945 edition). p.203
  6. ^ Cortas, Wadad Makdisi (2009) A world I loved: the story of an Arab woman. Nation Books. ISBN 978-1-56858-429-4. p.9
  7. ^ Turtle, H.J. (1975) Quaker Service in the Middle East with a history of Brummana High School. 1876-1975. Friends Service Council. pp.151-161.
  8. ^ Brummana High School