After Lebanon’s recent accession to the partial agreement of the Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe, Iter Vitis also welcomes Lebanon among its members. An astonishing country with an inestimable heritage linked to viticulture from an archaeological and archaeobotanical point of view, but also productive with the extraordinary companies of the Bekaa Valley.
Lebanon joins Iter Vitis through APJM, the Association for the Protection of Jabal Moussa (APJM), managing organization of Jabal Moussa UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.
APJM has recently surveyed, in collaboration with renowned archaeologists, an archaeological site that was interpreted as an « important pressing installation » for wine processing towards the Roman / Late Roman period, in the town of « Broqta » within Jabal Moussa Biosphere Reserve, located at at high altitude (1,400 m) in Mount Lebanon. Broqta borders the legendary Adonis Valley with its Astarte Temple located in Afqa, described by French Historian Ernest Renan, as « un des sites les plus beaux du monde ».
APJM applied for and acquired the legal designation of protected archaeological site by the Ministry of Culture in March 2022, and a season of detailed excavations is foreseen in August 2022, by Prof Agnes Vokaer. It is also noteworthy to mention that within the same town of Broqta, local farmers continue to grow the ancestral local grape varieties “Obeidi” and “Merwah”.
APJM has supported archaeological research within the landscape of Jabal Moussa Biosphere Reserve and the Valley of Adonis, and organized focused excavation research on the sites of Qornet el Deir and Broqta.
This pioneer research in the mountains of Lebanon led to breakthrough findings, and contributed to the understanding of hinterland archeology in Lebanon, that remains mainly unknown compared to the coast and the Bekaa.
This research is being put to use by APJM, through including the cultural sites in its ecotourism packages, thus enabling the Biosphere Reserve to attract thousands of visitors due to its natural assets, and more recently to its cultural assets.
With APJM – declares Emanuela Panke President of Iter Vitis – our network not only acquires a partner of enormous value, but opens up to new projects related to research in archeology, archaeobotany, enhancement of ancient native vines and has the opportunity to affix another piece of the precious puzzle that allows us to retrace the footsteps of the evolution of viticulture. Pierre Doumet, President of APJM
underlines the great commitment of of APJM to continue archaeological research in Jabal Moussa, and Broqta in particular, for the excavation of Broqta and the will, beyond membership, to cooperate in concrete activities with Iter Vitis that can boost the already flourishing flows of sustainable tourism in the area.
APJM membership will be announced during the EuroMediterranean Intercultural Dialogue Forum an initiative of Lebanese American University – LAU and the Ministry of Tourism – Lebanon coordinated by Doctor Rachid Chamoun, honorary President of The Phoenicians’ Route in collaboration with the Ministry of Culture, Ministry of Agriculture, the European Institute of Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe with the participation of the Ministry of Foreign affairs, and Ministry of Environment