Notes On Palestine -- By: TV. M. Thomson

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 012:48 (Oct 1855)
Article: Notes On Palestine
Author: TV. M. Thomson


Notes On Palestine

Rev. TV. M. Thomson

[The following are extracts from a letter written by the Rev. W. M. Thomson of Sidon, dated Nov. 27th, 1854. The letter was written soon after his return from a journey from Hasbeiya to ‘Akka, and a visit to a Protestant community at’ Alma. His route was from Hasbeiya by Mais el-Jebel and Bint Jebeil to Rumeish, which he reached in the morning of Nov. 9th. We give the rest in his own words.]

From Rumeish my route led southwards up Wady Kŭtamôn; and in twenty-five minutes I came to an ancient well of the same name. The water is under a perpendicular ledge of rock, and is reached by steps cut down to it — a very ancient work. On the mountain, fifteen minutes to the north-east and three hundred feet above the ‘Ain, is an old castle and ruined village of the same name. I climbed up to it, and found the ruins rather extensive, and obviously very ancient. The remains of the castle are simply old vaults, with a part of the western wall. The prospect from the top is very extensive, varied, and beautiful. The hills are covered with a dense jungle of oak and other trees and bushes; and the region is all alive with flocks and herds, and abounds in wild hogs, partridges, and other game. I took bearings of various conspicuous points, every one of which has a name, and a ruin on or near it. But as I am not making a chart, or even writing a regular journal, I shall not trouble you with these unhistoric names. It is sufficient to say that Kŭtamôn is two or three miles south-east of Rumeish.

After breakfast we rose out of this Wady Kŭtamôn, and immediately descended into Wady Bukei’a, a branch, as I suppose, of Wady el-Kŭrn>. This, however, needs confirmation; for it may join, farther west, Wady Kerkera, which in turn unites with Wady Benna, and passes into the plain of ‘Akka at Bussah. Rising to the top of the southern ridge, I sent the baggage to Tershîha by Sahmâta, and turned myself, more westwardly, through a noble, park-like country, to visit a place which I had often heard of, called simply ed-Deir, or Deir el-Kâsy, to distinguish it from another Deir east of ‘Akka.

This Deir is in two parts, and is inhabited by Metâwileh. The eastern part was once walled entirely around the Tell on which it stands; and the remnants of this fortification are quite extensive. But it has been so often patched and repaired, that its original character can scarcely be made out. It is, however, no doubt ancient; and the evidences of antiquity are still more manifest in the western part of the village. From this place Harfish is about four miles east by south. Rumeish is about the same distance to the north. Fesûtah lies west of it, and Tershiha south-we...

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