Historical Heritage

Barbar Agha arbitration (1)
During Barbar Agha’s ruling in Tripoli and its outskirts (1768-1835), there was a feud between
the two neighbouring villages of Bterram and Beshmezzine. The inhabitants of Beshmezzine
used to claim that the water source, located between the two villages –outside of Bterram of
course- belonged to them. They took their complaint to Barbar Agha - who used to be a servant
of Cheikh Moussa Malek, one of the families of Bterram before he became ruler –
Bterram's water
source (El-Ayn)
in a
contemporary
picture (left) and
old version
(right, shared by
Michel G. Serhan)
so, he sent a few of his soldiers to investigate the matter. In the evening, when the women from
Beshmezzine would go to the said source to get water, the soldiers would stop each woman and
ask her, "Where are you getting the water from ma’am?" The woman would answer innocently
and truthfully: "From Bterram’s source." With each woman, the answer would remain the same!
Barbar Agha understood the situation and ruled that the water source belonged only to the
Bterramians. To this day, this source remains 50 meters from Beshmezzine’s village limits.

(1) Story translated and edited by Sylvie Isaac Serhan (Montreal, Canada)
The old Lebanese house architecture in Bterram (exterior and interior)
by Aksam Merched
Bterram's Cultural Heritage