Beroe… a Nymph, a City

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Extract from the Dionysiaca by NONNUS OF PANOPOLIS (a Greek poet who flourished in Egypt in the 5th century A.D.)

“[The city of Beruit is founded at the dawn of creation:] Here dwelt a people age mates with the dawn, whom Phusis (Nature) by her own breeding, in some unwedded way, begat without bridal, without wedding, fatherless, motherless, unborn: when the atoms were mingled in fourfold combination, and the seedless ooze shaped a clever offspring by comingling water with fiery heat and air [i.e. the four elements–Air, Earth, Fire and Water], and quickened the teeming mud with the breath of life. To these Phusis (Nature) gave perfect shape . . . And these dwelt in the city of Beroe, that primordial seat which Kronos (Cronus) himself built . . .

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The Game of Far Away Land

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The chattering of women flows in the room as the soothing sounds of shells being thrown on a piece of velvet fabric drowns the noises. Children play as women gather around a small piece of hand-embroidered cloth. Barjis although a dying game, yet somehow it has managed to survive so far.

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The Soap Museum

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In the biblical old city souk of Sidon, inhabited since about 5,000 years, stands the old souk from the Mamluk era. Beyond the saffron colored walls of the city souk and its labyrinth aisles, a bit secluded from the hustle and bustle of daily life at the souk, stands a discreet yet elegant white building with green shutters. Guided by the unmistakable scent of sweet soap wafting out well into the alleys, one is led towards the beautiful building of the soap museum situated on El Shakrieh Street. The scent of olive soap embraces the air and perfumes it with the fragrant smell of olives and bay leaves, purifying the air from the harsh sea salt wind that blows from the sea only a few kilometers away.

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