Munjez claimed as a New Hima

SPNL has started collaborating with the Munjez local authorities and community in its mission to protect the environment by promoting the Hima system.

The revival of the Hima system is empowering communities to take responsibility for managing local resources. This approach is being championed by the Society for Protection of Nature in Lebanon (BirdLife in Lebanon) as part of their Important Bird Areas programme, and is helping to build capacity for local economic enterprises, linked to the wildlife and landscape.

Five main economic sectors have been identified in Munjez namely: hunting, grazing, ecotourism, water, and agriculture. Further, importance of the protection of natural and cultural sites has been stressed.

Munjez village is situated in Akkar few kilometers to the west of Andqit. The new autostrade that starts between the Lebanese and Syrian border at Abboudiyeh offers beautiful landscapes of bright green views on sandy hills mixed with basaltic stones. The road exhibits at distant intervals lizards of mainly Agama agama and Lacerta trilineata.

The Monastery of Our Lady of the Citadel (Saydet al-Qalaa) at Munjez, in the Akkar district of North Lebanon, was originally an ancient sanctuary situated on a hill overlooking a wide plain extending south from Nahr al-Kabir. Its story goes back to 1128, at the time of the Crusades, as mentioned in The History of the Knights of Saint John (Mar Yuhanna). Proof of this is to be found in the old citadel constructed on the western side of the sanctuary, that of Faix (as-Saeed), which gave its narre to the monastery, Our Lady of the Citadel. This has been several times put to the flames and demolished, but every time restored.

According to Dr. Ghassan Ramaddan-Jaradi who visited the site, at every stop, about 8-10 different bird species are found singing with dominance of warblers, mainly Blackcap Sylvia atricapilla (Khoury and Shammas).

Several important sites and species were spotted in Munjez:

  1. The graves which date back to thousands of years. The are in form of big stones erected in a circle around a corpus.
  2. Nahr El Kabir that forms the border between Syria and Lebanon.
  3. The Aquaculture beside Nahr El Kabir and a kingfisher installed there.
  4. Old houses constructed with basaltic stones
  5. Bluish bodied-yellow-headed Agama
  6. Skink/ Mabuya sp.
  7. Temple of Nemsis from the time of Seleucides that is unique of its kind as a temple in Lebanon and as a temple made from basaltic stones.

The recorded birds in Munjez are:

  1. Chaffinch
  1. White throat Warbler
  1. Blackcap
  1. Cuckoo
  1. Graceful Warbler
  1. Quail
  1. Great Tit
  1. Yellow Wagtail مرطيزة صفرا
  1. Coal Tit
  1. Common Crane
  1. Greenfinch
  1. Oriole
  1. Corn Bunting
  1. Hoopoe
  1. Bulbul
  1. Lesser toad Lark طبيبة
  1. Black bird
  1. Hooded Crow
  1. Dipper
  1. Common Buzzard
  1. Cetti’s Warbler
  1. Calandra Lark

The bird species that are mentioned by the local community are:

  1. Turtle Dove
5. Thrush 9. Willow Warbler صفرون
  1. Stone Pigeon
6. Lapwing طرطبيس – طيبط 10. Corncrake
  1. Woodpigeon
7. European Roller 11. Crested Lark
  1. Black-bellied Sandgrouse
8. Bee-eater 12. Honey Buzzard



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