Moussa Abdel Karim Al Maamari, the creative genius behind Moussa Castle, passed away on the 31st of January 2018.
Moussa built the iconic Moussa Castle with his own two hands.
If you ever visited Beiteddine or Deir El Qamar, you might have seen or even stopped at Moussa Castle.
And there’s a beautiful story behind this renowned Lebanese landmark.
At the age of 14, Moussa fell in love with a girl. However, since she had been in a wealthy family, she told him that he could only talk to her when he owns a palace.
One day during art class, instead of drawing a bird and tree as assigned by the art teacher, he drew the castle in which he and his high school crush would live. The teacher was scornful and tore up the drawing (and beat him).
Moussa later dropped out of school and left Tartous to Saida on foot without telling a soul. He started working with his uncle restoring castles and other archaeological works (you can find them at the National Museum of Beirut). This earned him some funds to buy land in the Chouf mountains several years later.
Several years later, Moussa started building his lifelong project with the help of his wife, Maria. Moussa Castle has taken his life’s work, demanding about 60 years of dedication and hard work to complete. If I were his wife, I would be rather jealous of my man building a castle for his highschool crush – but that’s me.
Moussa Castle officially opened its doors to visitors in 1967.
Every stone of this three-story medieval castle was individually hand-crafted by Moussa himself.
Cross the drawbridge and pay the toll to enter.
Inside Moussa Castle
Inspired by the Middle Ages, Moussa Castle exhibits artifacts, clothing, antique weapons, wax sculptures, pottery and more.
Witness lifelike wax sculptures act out scenes from a 19th-century Lebanese village life. There are a total of 75 sculptures featuring members of his family as well as local farmers who supported him with his project.
The classroom scene is a heartbreaking memory of Moussa’s childhood.
Note that you can’t go backwards in Moussa Castle, so relish every scene without rushing.
Discover Moussa’s own massive gun collection, daggers, and swords towards the end of the tour.
Moussa even wrote a book titled “The Dream of My Life”, which is about – you guessed it – building Moussa castle.
This iconic Lebanese landmark in the Chouf Mountains should definitely be on your list if you haven’t already visited! It’s really one of my favourite museums in Lebanon.
By the way, Sayyidah (Moussa’s highschool crush) came to Lebanon and paid a visit to Moussa Castle in 2009.
In memory of Moussa Abdel Karim Al Maamari (July 27, 1931 – January 31, 2018, age 87)
Address: Beit-Eddine, Shouf, Lebanon
Contact: +961-5-500106 / + 961-3-273750
Opening Hours: Moussa Castle opens 7 days a week / May-Oct 9am-6pm / Nov-Apr 9am-5pm
Entrance Fee: 15,000 LBP / 7,500 LBP for children
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Non-watermaked photos from Al Akhbar English (Moussa portrait) and Youtube (Castle Exterior).
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