Roumieh

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Photograph of Roumieh showing houses and trees [1]
Roumieh
Roumie
City
Map showing the location of Roumieh within Lebanon
Map showing the location of Roumieh within Lebanon
Roumieh
Location within Lebanon
Coordinates: 33°52′28″N 35°39′00″E / 33.87450°N 35.6500°E / 33.87450; 35.6500Coordinates: 33°52′28″N 35°39′00″E / 33.87450°N 35.6500°E / 33.87450; 35.6500
Country  Lebanon
Governorate Mount Lebanon Governorate
District Matn District
Highest elevation 700 m (2,300 ft)
Lowest elevation 550 m (1,800 ft)
Time zone EET (UTC+2)
 • Summer (DST) EEST (UTC+3)
Dialing code +961

Roumieh is a village north-east of Beirut in Lebanon. Surrounded by pine-forested hills, Roumieh is a 5/10-minute drive from the coast. Roumieh is known as a pleasant, picturesque small mountain town with many gardens.

Public institutions[edit]

  • "Dahr el-Beche'" hospital (It was established for the treatment of people diagnosed with Tuberculosis)It was founded in 1909, primarily destined as a place where habitants of the city could come to have a breath of fresh air and rest. In 1931, the first pieces of hospital equipment were added.[2]
  • Roumieh prison, Lebanon's largest prison located at a lower elevation at the western entrance of the town. It is severely overcrowded, holding up to 5,500 prisoners. It violates basic UN standards for safety and hygiene. It is the site of frequent inmates' uprising, the most recent one occurring on Feb 15 2013 when a group of Islamist prisoners rioted in response to a decision to transfer one of their members to another cell.[3]
  • The Catholic School: Saint Doumit school for the Antonine Sisters(Trilingual School)
  • 7 Nains Nursery
  • Deir Al Rahmeh (Retirement Home / Senior citizens)
  • The barracks of the Lebanese Army special forces

Agriculture[edit]

In addition to pine forests; vineyards, fig orchards, olive trees and thyme grow in abundance. The village is well known for the Arak it produces; to the extent that some of the local residents claim that it is some of the best made in the country. A well known producer is the legendary Doumit who is the son of the late Hanna Doumit, the beloved shopkeeper.

Climate[edit]

Roumieh is characterized by a temperate climate, including dry summers, rainy winters, and transitional fall and winters seasons. It is located 550 meters above sea level.

Demographics[edit]

The village's community is mainly constituted of Maronite Catholics and Greek Catholic, but also Greek Orthodox and Armenian Orthodox. It is populated by 5000 residents.

Topography[edit]

The word "Roumieh" comes from Aramaic, meaning "hills" and refers to this characterising feature of the local terrain. This is understandable when one sees the "bumpy" pinetree-ridden hills in the pastures of the village.

Like all Lebanese mountain villages, Roumieh is marked with very beautiful terraces (Jleleh), designed to optimise the use of its land for agriculture and horticulture. Indeed, as cited above, some of the crops grown in Roumieh are exceptionally good given that the community had ceased to be an agrarian one nearly half a century ago.

There used to be several natural streams (Ain) that surfaced in the village which was a good source of water for the village community. However, due to disorganised and sporadic construction in some of the marginal parts of town, most of these have disappeared; and there is only one that remains properly functional, at the fountain in the centre of the village. The square surrounding the fountain has always been very pretty but has now been somewhat damaged by political slogan graffiti and the sticking of political propaganda posters on its premises.

One can find some very pretty traditional Lebanese houses (pyramidal red brick roofs, white or sand stone walls with overlooking balconies and verandas shaped with arches in the old Levantine style) in Roumieh. Examples of this are some surrounding the Saydeh Church, but also others in the Naas and Haret el Tahta and Fawka neighbourhoods.

History and People[edit]

Whilst the village itself is quite old (founded circa 1500), the 20th Century saw the village coming to a more prominent role in the area. With the diaspora towards the West and Latin America ongoing, the village acquired wealth, and relatively to other similar villages, its inhabitants became increasingly educated (partially thanks to the proximity of both the Capital and its institutions). Lebanon has been plagued by sectarian violence since the 19th century, when Maronite and Druze communities where fighting in the mountains. More recently, the civil war that erupted in 1975 was the scene of severe sectarian tensions. [4]

Although Roumieh is known for its people quarrelling over politics and even fighting from time to time, it is a tight-knit community that has survived the most divisive horrors of the Lebanese Civil War and the ongoing political turmoil. The village's diversity of opinions underlines its development that outdoes by far other villages in the area. The villagers may strongly disagree with each other on matters of politics, and given how seriously they take this, they may even go as far as being hostile to each other; however, it remains the community that its forefathers built and will remain so thanks to some outstanding members who have been known to put family and village before anything else. Lebanese villages have always been collectivistic societies. Lebanese villagers have always put the family in the first place, followed by the individual. The family, the church and the community at large dictate group patterns in Lebanese villages.[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Beirut Municipality, 2010. Retrieved on 2013-02-25.
  2. ^ Dahr El Bacheck Government University Hospital, 2009. Retrieved on 2013-02-25.
  3. ^ The Daily Star, 2013. Retrieved on 2013-02-25.
  4. ^ Makdissi, Ussama. "Understanding Sectarianism, ISIM Newsletter, 2001. Retrieved on 2013-02-25.
  5. ^ Tannous, Afif, The University of Chicago Press, 1948. Retrieved on 2013-02-25.