Sin el Fil

Coordinates: 33°52′N 35°32′E / 33.867°N 35.533°E / 33.867; 35.533
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Sinn al-Fīl
سن الفيل
Map showing the location of Sin el Fil within Lebanon
Map showing the location of Sin el Fil within Lebanon
Sinn al-Fīl
Location within Lebanon
Coordinates: 33°52′N 35°32′E / 33.867°N 35.533°E / 33.867; 35.533
Country Lebanon
GovernorateMount Lebanon Governorate
DistrictMatn District
 • Time ZoneGMT +2 (UTC)
 • – Summer (DST)+3 (UTC)
 • Area Code(s)(+961) 1
Time zoneUTC+2 (EET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+3 (EEST)
Dialing code+961
The former "Metropolitan Hotel", currently a Hilton Hotel

Sin el-Fil (Arabic: سنّ الفيل / ALA-LC: Sinn al-Fīl) is a suburb east of Beirut in the Matn District of the Mount Lebanon Governorate, Lebanon.



The name literally means 'ivory': "tooth" (sinn) of "the elephant" (al-fīl). Being geographically closer to the ancient city of Antioch and far remote from natural elephant habitat, it is believed that the town name may have been a derogation of Saint Theophilus of Antioch.[citation needed]


With a rich red soil and moderate precipitation (but available ground water irrigation) the agricultural land of Sin el Fil in the early 20th century sprawled into a densely populated suburb. The natural landscape of the late century was dominated by stone pine. The Beirut River runs west of Sin el Fil and separates the town from the capital, Beirut.



Collections of archaeological material from this limestone "hogsback" were made from the gullies to the south of the main road on the slopes of forested hills. The recovery areas were described as "ravines sinueuses" by Raoul Describes after making a collection in 1921.[1] Other Jesuits who made collections from the area included Godefroy Zumoffen in 1908, Paul Bovier-Lapierre and Auguste Bergy as well as Mouterde, Gigues, Lorraine Copeland and Peter Wescombe. E. Passemard suggested that two of the trihedral pieces collected by Paul Bovier-Lapierre were Chalossian.[2][3] Describes published some of the material as Acheulean but the bulk of the material was very mixed including many indeterminate Neolithic pieces including Trihedral Neolithic and Heavy Neolithic forms. There was also a Roman occupation on the flat fields above the slopes. Some archaeological material from Sin el Fil is in the National Museum of Beirut and the Museum of Lebanese Prehistory.[4]

On 1 March 1990 Sin el Fin was the scene of heavy fighting between Samir Geagea’s Lebanese Forces (LF) and parts of the Lebanese Army loyal to General Michel Aoun. It was the last offensive in Aoun’s failed attempt to take control of Christian East Beirut and caused extensive damage and many casualties.[5]

Twin towns – sister cities[edit]

References and footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ Describes, Raoul., Quelques ateliers paléolithiques des environs de Beyrouth, Mélanges de l'Université Saint-Joseph: Volume VII, 1921.
  2. ^ Passemard, E., "Syria", Volume 8, 1927
  3. ^ E. Passemard , P. Dubalen , A. Vayson de Pradenne , R. Neuville, La Question Chalossienne, Bulletin de la Société préhistorique française, 1931, Volume 28, Issue 6, pp. 289–293
  4. ^ Lorraine Copeland; P. Wescombe (1965). Inventory of Stone-Age sites in Lebanon, p. 136-137. Imprimerie Catholique. Retrieved 21 July 2011.
  5. ^ Middle East International No 371, 16th March 1990, Publishers Lord Mayhew, Dennis Walters MP; Jim Muir pp.9,10
  6. ^ "Sin el fil Official Web Site". City of Sin el fil. Retrieved 29 March 2012.

External links[edit]