Smar Jbail is a village located in the Batroun District in the North of Lebanon. It is located on a hill facing the Mediterenean sea at 500 m elevation. It is one of the oldest villages in Lebanon. In the Middle Ages, the Maronites took it as a refuge from their enemy’s attacks.
Smar Jbail is one of the oldest villages in Lebanon. It has a very old castle at the western entrance of the village built on a strategic hill, showing from its western side, the Mediterranean coast from Jbail to Tripoli, and from its eastern side the mountains of Lebanon specially the famous Cedars of God mountain near Bsharri. The origin of the castle could be Phoenician.
The Castle was built in the center of the village, on a hill showing the entire neighborhood. Most of the historians recognize that the castle was built by the Phoenicians, and was under the Persian Empire control in 555 B.C.
It passed to the hands of Alexander of Macedon’s (the Great) in 331 B.C. In the Middle Ages, the Maronites and their army the Maradaites took the castle as a refuge and it was the See of the First Maronite Catholic Patriarch Saint John Maron before he moved to Kfarhay.
The Mardaites counterattacked their enemies from Smar Jbail and they won the battle in Amyoun (30 km north) while defending their Patriarch.
The Castle had a main tower showing the entire Mediterranean coast from Jounieh to Tripoli. In his book Tarikh Al Azminah, the Patriarch Estephan ElDouayhi (1670–1704) explains how the main castle tower was demolished: Sunday, November 25th 1630, at 3:00AM a huge earthquake hit the castle and demolished the center tower from its four corners. It demolished also all what was in the lower basement.
The castle has many wells built in the rocks. It has also many tunnels connecting the castle to the neighboring valleys.