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Map showing the location of Amioun within Lebanon
Map showing the location of Amioun within Lebanon
Location within Lebanon
Coordinates: 34°18′0″N 35°48′0″E / 34.30000°N 35.80000°E / 34.30000; 35.80000
Country Lebanon
GovernorateNorth Lebanon Governorate
DistrictKoura District
Founded byPhoenicians
 • TypeMunicipality
 • MayorMalek Fares
 • Total11.4 km2 (4.4 sq mi)
 along the "Cedars' way"
Highest elevation
330 m (1,080 ft)
Lowest elevation
298 m (978 ft)
 • Total10,658[1]
 • Religion
99.5% Eastern Orthodox
Time zoneUTC+2 (EET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+3 (EEST)
Dialing code+961 6

Amioun (Arabic: أميون, romanizedAmyūn; Greek: Αμιούν) is the capital of the predominantly Greek Orthodox Koura District (i.e. χώρα, "country" in Greek) in North Lebanon.[2]


The town of Amioun derives its name from the Aramaic language, meaning "'am Yawan" "place of the Greeks", with a possible alternative root fortified town with roman temples. Amioun is located on the top of an ancient hill dating back to before the 2nd millennium B.C., and the town was called "Amia" during this period.[3] The word Amia was cited in the letters of Tell el Amarna, which were sent in the 14th century B.C. by local governors to their overlords, the pharaohs of Egypt. In his etymological study of the names of Lebanon's towns and villages, historian Anis Freiha asserted that Amia is in turn derived from the Semitic word emun, meaning "invincible fort".


Amioun had a population of 2,673 in 1953.[4] Amioun has a population of 10,658.[1] Almost all the residents are followers of the Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch. Amioun is the largest Greek Orthodox town in Lebanon, and 4th-largest in all of the Levant after Mhardeh, Al-Suqaylabiyah and Kafr Buhum (all in Syria).


Amioun has eleven Greek Orthodox churches: The Dormition of the Theotokos (Al Sayydeh), St. George el Dahleez, St. John al Sheer, St. Sergios and Bacchus, St. Barbara, St. Domitios, St. Marina, St. Phocas, St. Simon the Stylite, St. George Al-Kafr and Our Lady of Breastfeeding (Mar-Gala).


There are three public and two private schools. The University of Balamand is located nearby, 12 kilometers (7.5 miles) north. There is a public library and a private hospital.


Amioun highway

Located in the heart of Northern Lebanon, Amioun is the administrative center of Koura District. Amioun is about 370 meters (1,210 feet) above sea level and approximately 78 kilometers away (48.5 miles) north-northeast of Beirut. It is about 42 kilometers (26 miles) away from the Cedars of God and 18 kilometers (11 miles) away from Tripoli, capital of the North Governorate.

Situated between the sea and the mountains, on a chain of beautiful hills that stretch from east to west, Amioun has a distinctive location and a scenic view. Surrounding the hills on which Amioun is situated are olive fields in the north and vineyards, almond orchards, and olive trees in the south. Paved roads, including the Beirut-Cedars main highway, run through those hills. Long ago, when the houses that stretched on those hills were few, Amioun was called “the town of beautiful hills”. Amioun can be reached via the highway that passes through Byblos, Batroun, Chekka, and Kfarhazir. It can also be reached from Tripoli by way of Bohssas, Dahr-al-Ain, Aaba, and Bishmizzine.

Amioun is also known for its olive trees, which are possibly the oldest in the world,[5] and high grade olive oil.


The 28 man-made crypts in the cliff

Amioun is a very old settlement whose history can be traced back to the Paleolithic period. This is supported by the number of small caves built in the old city's rocks. In the past years, a number of French and German orientalists – foremost of whom was the Frenchman Ernest Renan – visited it, studied its archaeological sites and wrote about them. The ancient Semitic peoples are thought to have arrived in the region around 4000 B.C.

In his book “The Monuments of Lebanon”, Father Lamens mentions a number of towns, one of which is “Amia” (p. 76). If this connection is correct, Amioun may be considered as the oldest town in the interior of Lebanon.

Amioun's past has left its mark on different historical periods, whether ancient, medieval, or modern. Some of its monuments can be traced back to a period when different pagan religions prevailed. With the advent of Christianity, the roman pagan temples in Amioun were eventually transformed into churches.

The town -when grew in huge importance during the centuries of the Roman Phoenicia- used to be the site of a Roman temple, which was later converted into a church, dedicated to Saint George (The remains of the temple platform are still visible under a medieval monastery).


Saint John "al-sheer" church (the Cliff)
  • Saint George Cathedral: erected over a former roman temple at the highest populated spot of the town, as mentioned in a circular written by an instructor of history in the official Lebanese schools Choukrallah Al-Nabbout. (Fig. 1)
  • Saint John "al-sheer" church: Elevated on a rocky cliff over a number of vaults in the southeastern facade of the cliff. A Triple scene of a Crusaders church (1099–1100) panoramic over the 28 man-made crypts in the facade whose carbon-dating suggests 15,000–24,000 years of age.
  • The town of Amioun, is known being a site for the Battle of Amioun in 694 A.D. between the Byzantine troops, under the leadership of Murik and Murikian, and some followers of the Monothelite doctrine, as mentioned in the article below by Chedid Al-Azar.[6]

During the 20th century, major changes touched local population, which was based on agriculture, mainly olive, olive oil and soap production, and modify it into the highest educated society in Lebanon[citation needed]. This resulted in a huge percentage, almost 30%, of highly educated people, mainly in the medical domain.[citation needed]

Notable people


The modern town of Amioun lies on an important archaeological tell. Of major interest are the churches of Mar Jurius (St. George), built on the cellar of a Roman temple, and Mar Fauqa, or St. Phocas, built by local architects during the Crusader period. The entire interior of St. Phocas is covered with Byzantine-style wall paintings of the 12th and 13th centuries. A third church is the modern red-roofed Mar Youhanna (St. John) perched on a rocky cliff with tomb openings on its southeastern facade.[8] Near the old town government building, or "Serail," is the Chapel of Marina, an ancient burial vault converted into a chapel.[8]

Churches and monasteries

There are 13 places of Christian worship in Amioun, including churches and monasteries and shrines.


  • Cathedral of Saint George el Dahleez (Greek Orthodox)


  • Church of Saint John al Sheer (Greek Orthodox)
  • Church of Al Sayydeh (Our Lady) (Greek Orthodox)
  • Church of Saint Sergios (Greek Orthodox)
  • Church of Saint Barbara (Greek Orthodox)
  • Church of Saint Domitios (Greek Orthodox)
  • Church of Saint Margaret of Antioch|Saint Marina (Greek Orthodox)
  • Church of Saint Phocas (Greek Orthodox)
  • Church of Saint Gala (Our Lady) (Greek Orthodox)
  • Church of Simon the Zealot (Greek Orthodox)


  • Monastery of Saint George Al-Kafer (Greek Orthodox), built over former roman temple

Shrines Cave of Saint Marina (Greek Orthodox) Sacred place of Saint George (Demolished Greek Orthodox Church)

Twin towns and sister cities

Amioun is twinned with:

Additional information

Koura Villages
1. Aaba 2. Afsdik 3. Ain Akrine 4. Ali-al-Mouran
5. Amioun 6. Anfeh 7. Badebhoun 8. Barghoun
9. Barsa 10. Bdebba 11. Batroumine 12. Bishmizzine
13. Bhabouch 14. Bishriyata 15. Bkomra 16. Bneyel
17. Bohssas 18. Btourram 19. Btouratige 20. Bkeftine
21. Bnehran 22. Bsarma 23. Btaaboura 24. Bziza
25. Charlita 26. Chira 27. Dahr-al-Ain 28. Darbechtar
29. Darchmezzine 30. Deddeh 31. Fih 32. Ijdebrine
33. Kaftoun 34. Kifraya 35. Kelbata 36. Kelhat
37. Kfaraakka 38. Kfarhata 39. Kfarhazir 40. Kaferkahel
41. Kfarsaroun 42. Kousba 43. Maziriit Toula 44. Mitrit
45. Mijdel 46. Nakhleh 47. Rachedbine 48. Ras Maska
49. Ras Osta 50. Wata Fares 51. Zakroun 52. Zakzouk

See also


  1. ^ a b Amioun.
  2. ^ "Municipal and ikhtiyariah elections in Northern Lebanon" (PDF). The Monthly. March 2010. pp. 22–23. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-06-03. Retrieved 29 October 2016.
  3. ^ North Lebanon. Retrieved on 2016-04-29.
  4. ^ "Household Income And Expenditure In al-Kura, Lebanon" (PDF). 2023-03-24. Archived from the original on 2023-03-24. Retrieved 2023-03-24.((cite web)): CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  5. ^ Drinkwater, Carol (2006). The Olive Route. Weidenfeld & Nicolson. ISBN 978-0-297-84789-2.
  6. ^ "History of the Maronites". 2006-11-03. Archived from the original on 3 November 2006. Retrieved 2022-04-09.
  7. ^ Remarks to the American task force for Lebanon
  8. ^ a b Amyoun Archived 2011-05-21 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved on 2016-04-29.

Additional pictures:

Additional references:

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Additional geographical information:

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