|Courage, determination, firmness. |
Patience, endurance, perseverance.
Dream, work, truth. Faith in God, satisfaction of parents.That is what characterized the personality of the man who built a castle on a hill between Deir El Kamar and Beiteddine, and engraved on its stones his ideas and beliefs.Moussa Abdel Karim Al Maamari was born in July 27, 1931 A.D, ( 12 Rabih Al Awal 1349 anno hegira) in the village of Harat Al Saraya.close to Al Hosn fortress. Al-Zahir Baybars granted the title of "engineers" to his ancestors in 1271 A.D, 669 anno hegira, after they had restored Qala't Al Hosn.His dream was born when he was only 14 years old, inspired by the Middle Ages that had conquered his mind. He dreamt of building a great castle with his own hands, turning sand into gold (as his mother had predicted).Beaten by his teacher Anwar and mocked at by his classmates, especially by his pretty sweetheart Saideh, his life totally changed. He escaped from school and went to Sida on foot where he worked with his uncle in restoring Sida's fortress. Then he was assigned by the Emir Maurice Chehab to renovate the castles and the archeological discoveries found in Lebanon to be exposed in the National Museum of Beirut in 1947. He was also assigned to install ancient colons discovered within the land of Beirut's Municipality in 1949 in front of the National Museum's building where an Honorable Monument of the Unknown Soldier was established. He continued working in the same field after gaining enough experience from his work in restoring Castles as his Ancestors did before him proving that legacy has a mojor role in creativity. He was then transferred, thanks to his competence, to Beiteddine palace, where he restored the museum of Emir Bashir Chehabi II; He supervised as well the placing of the Emir's weapons, clothes, the jewelry of his wife and the sword offered to him by Napoleon in the in the museum that was inaugurated under the rule of late president Beshara Khalil Al Khoury in september 1951. He was paid back then fifteen thousand Lebanese pounds. It was then that he started to accomplish his dream. He bought, not much easily a suitable land then he started planning and getting legal permits to build his long life dream castle and this stage was so complicated that it took long years to be done. Then the foundation stone was laid and the real task has begun in 1962 with the help of his virtuous wife from mornings till late nights. He required somtimes the help of his neighboring peasants or one single vigorous worker when needed. He worked hard for more than half of a century; He wasn’t able to rest until his castle of the twentieth century became visible.
Moussa Al Maamari received numerous badges of honor, such as:
- Chevalier de l'Ordre du Cèdre (September 7, 1999)
- Commander of the Medal of the Vatican
- Patriarchal Order of the Holy Cross of Jerusalem (July 23, 1994)
- A diploma from the Radio and TV Office in the Soviet Embassy in Beirut Many presidents and other national and international celebrities visited the castle. And many others congratulated Al Maamari. He is still congratulated every day, by many of the visitors who never hesitated in to show their admiration.
Moussa wishes that one day some filmmakers would turn his story into a movie. It would be a winning card. He wishes also to be considered by the guinness book committee of world records as the establisher of the first touristic site to be built by one man single hands and that did cost him 60 years of his life (21900 days and 394200 hours of work)with no bore nor complain armed with the help of god and the blessing of his parents. Moussa worked alone all his life and the sweat of his forehead fermented all his work and the dream came true.
"The dream of my life" is a book written by Moussa. It summarizes his journey that took half a century of struggle and it's avaible with a CD-R in the castle and in antoine library.