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 History

Tourza lies on the entrance of the sacred valley of Kadisha .It is one of the first villages in Casa Becharri , far from the capital , by 85 km and far from Tripolie by 20 km , and Becharri , the casa center , by 25 km . It is 700 meters above sea level . The village's area is about 430 hecters or 4,300,000 meters squares.                           

Borders:
From the east both Serel and Arbit kozhayya,Zgarta.
From the west Mogor El Ahwal and Richdibbin, Koura.
From the south abbdine and Boulla, Bcharri.
Fron the north Kadisha river, also known as Abou Ali.

The origins of the name:
Tourza is an " ARAMIAN " name which has three possible meanings:
1- TUR-ARZO which means the Arz mountain , maybe because it lies at the entrance of the Arz mountain.
2- TUR-ZAITO which means the dive mountain , may be because there is as abundance of dive trees on its lands.
3- TUR-ZAYO which means the beautiful mountain, due to the picturesque views that the village has.
 

Number of inhabitants:
Nowadays, only 500 people live in Tourza , in about 250 houses, and the rest of the houses are totally deserted because of high rate of immigration.
In 1975 , before the Lebanese war , about 1200 people used to live in Tourza , and although many of the immigrants have not registered their children in the Lebanese official sit was noticeable that the number of the people who participated in the elections for the year 2000 reached up to 1922 person .
It has also been estimated according to some statistics that in Canada and in the U.S.A there are about 14,000 immigrants from Tourza , 6,000 immigrants in Venezuela, and more in other countries like Australia , Argentine , Brazil , and other European and Arab countries.

Families in Tourza:
 It has been mentioned in one of the reports to his Excellency , the Lebanese Maronite patriarch, that the origin of the families in Tourza goes back to the following names : Abi Elias and Zakariyya (origin from Kfirsgab), Abi Hanna(origines from Yammouni) , EK-Khoury (origin from ban), El-Khoury Bchara(origin from Kehhali), Abi Saad and El Rahib (origin from Akkar), Greish and Kyrlus ( origin from Barsa) .
 Today , in Torza the following family names still exist : Najem ,Boutros , Maksoud , Naim , Kasbar , Francis , Leba , El-Raheb , Gasibe , Saad , Rachid , El-Khoury , Sarkis , Mikael , Gerges , Youssef ,Moawad,yaakoub, Greige , Lotfallah , Khalil , El-barish , Bou-sleiman , El-Tabbagi , Nohra , Semaan , Aaziz , El-nakhl , Raffoul,Estphan, Merhi , Philip , Amin , Mansour , Wehbe , Ibrahim , Nassif , Sassine , Issa , Daoud , Abbas , saad , Dib , Yaghi , Bou-nassif , Kyrlus , Zoghbi , Saba , Bou-saab ,sleiman , Elias ...
 It is worthy mentioning , however, that a big number of the families mentioned above do not exist anymore in Tourza since they have all immigrated for good , like Mahfoud and Badawi .
 

Old history:
   

1-The Phoenician age:Torza was inhibited by different people and mainly thre Phoenicians who've left many traces ; the most important of these traces Phoenician kings . These traces is the SABEH GROTTO which was graveyard for Phoenician kings . These caves lie at the western side of the village According to historians , Tourza was a Phoenician kingdom in itself which dates back to the year 3000 B.C.

2-The Roman's age:There is a rock in the woods of Tourza which goes back to the Roman period and it shows that the empire's road passed through this village which means that Tourza was inhibited in that days . More over , the story of St. Marina , which most probably took place during the 4th and 5th centuries , mentions Tourza as a prosperous and inhibited city.

3-The Crusader's age: During the Crusades , it seems that Tourza played an important role . the crusaders for example turned the DELMAZ GROTTO into a fortress . Then , the same DELMAZ GROTTO was made a monastery and a shelter for many monks known as AL-AHBAASH . they appeared as priests , and at night they formed a gang which robbed , kidnapped and killed . Up till now AL DELMAZ and the traces around it prove that.

Modern history :  

It has been known that different families have come to Tourza due to its fertile land and abundant waters . However , after the crusades new invaders ruled the village and suppressed the Maronites not only in power but also in number , and they brought a new sect AL-SHIAA to inhibit the village . it is said that at that time only one family was able to live and socialize with the new sect and they are the Mahfoud family .
 During that period , AL HAMADA one of the Shiaa families and others became very powerful and kept suppressing the Maronites and their patriarchs until one day a revolution started under the leadership of Youssef el Shahabi and Saad El- Khoury and the Shiaa were totally expelled from Bcharri and Ehden towards Baalbeck in 1777.

In 1767 Prince Youssef gave the village of Tourza , as a reward , to Saad El-Khoury , and his life and his heirs later . Since then , different families started coming to the village seeking work as there were plenty of fertile land and fresh streams of which AL MSHOUR has been and still is the most famous. And so Tourza remained on this way up to about 50 years. Then people started immigrating to transville in south Africa , and South America , especially Saint selvador , Brasil , Argentina and Mexico , leaving behing them their families in the village to which they retuned years later carrying with them huge sums of money to buy some land from Saad El-Khoury or his descendents in order to build houses , and this went on until nearly the whole village belonged to the people in Tourza .
 In 1886 , a great dispute took place between "Ghandour saad beik el Khoury and the people in Tourza , and this dispute wasn't resolved except when Al Sheikh Raji Zaiter Elias intervened with some Turkish responsibles and got a sentence against Ghandour Beik which ordered him to leave the village and take with him 4000 gold Liras , and that was his remaining right from the village .

But since the people didn't have this amount of money they had to put under mortgage the northern part of the village to the reverend , the late Youssef Najem and when they got the 4000 Liras of gold , they now had to travel again , look for work , and come back to pay the amount of the mortgage to get their lands back . During the first world war , Tourza like every other village or city wad deeply affected by famine , suppression and military service , (1914-1918) .
 After the war , immigration to the USA and Canada was at its peak , and so a great number of the people and the families left for no return . Tourza has given its country , church and society important figures and names who have been a source of pride . There were the lawyers , doctors , military , officers , engineers, clergymen , nuns and monks , and all of whom have reached to the highest positions not only in their homeland but also else where .
 

              Prepared by :Youssef Saad
photos : Bernard Saad
translating : Lisa Gaspard

Tourza church

 

The place

 

Old house (Kirkhana)

 

Tourza roads

 

Sabeh grotto

 

Dilmaz grotto

 

Near Dilmaz grotto

 

Old oil factory

 

Nature of Tourza

 



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