|• Body||Maghdouche municipality|
|Highest elevation||230 m (755 ft)|
|Time zone||UTC+2 (EET)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC+3 (EEST)|
|Dialing code||00961 (7) Landline|
Maghdouché (Arabic: مغدوشة, English: Maghdoushe, French: Maghdouché) is a town in the South Governorate of Lebanon. It is located 50 km south of Beirut and 8 km southeast of Sidon. The village lies 3 km inland from the Mediterranean, occupying a hill with elevation ranging between 200 and 229 meters above sea level.
Maghdouché has a permanent population of 8,000 inhabitants, the majority of whom are Melkite Greek Catholics and few Maronite Catholics. The population of the town doubles when the expatriates return to spend their summer vacations in their ancestral home. The village and some adjacent villages and others in the south, were previously full or partially owned by a Greek family that chose to reside and integrate in Lebanon since over a century. Maghdouche and adjacent Christian villages are currently facing political/religious complexes and challenge that mistakenly enforced building/zoning restrictions on Christian land owners, thinking that it would fight demographic changes, while it is actually pooring[check spelling] the community and limiting area development.
Maghdouché's main industry is agriculture. The town produces grapes and citrus fruits, especially oranges. The town is famous for its best quality orange-blossom water. On April 2006, USAID funded a $195,000 cooperative of flower blossom and rose water production center, which will serve more than 950 farmers in Maghdouche area.
The name, Maghdouché, originates from the Syriac word, which means "crop collectors." It is also derived from the Syriac word Kidsh and its derivatives (Kadisho, Kadishat, Makdosho). In Hebrew, it means "holy" or "saintly." According to Christian belief, when Jesus came to Sidon, the Virgin Mary who accompanied him, waited for him at the top of the hill where Maghdouché is located today. She spent the night in a cave that came to be known as Mantara, or the "Awaiting." Emperor Constantine the Great responded to St. Hélène's request and transformed the cave into a sanctuary for the Virgin. He erected a tower in honor of the Virgin. The tower collapsed during the earthquake of 550. Later, King Louis IX erected a watching tower in the same location. The Mantara cave was once again discovered accidentally by a shepherd in 1726. An icon of the Virgin was also discovered, and it was of Byzantine style, dating back to the 7th or to the 8th century. Since then, the cave has been transformed into a place of pilgrimage for all the Lebanese confessions. In 1860, the Greek Catholic Church became the owner, and transformed the cave into a sanctuary in 1880.
At the beginning of the sixties, under the auspices of Mgr Basile Khoury, renowned architect Varoujan Zaven designed and executed a beautiful hexagonal chapel topped by a 28-meter tower in a conical shape to support an 8.5-meter one-piece bronze statue of the Virgin Mary holding Jesus in her arms, of his own design as well, realized by Italian artist Pierrotti in Pietra Santa. The design and supervision of the project were both a donation on behalf of the architect. Our Lady of Mantara is considered the protectress of children, and many baptisms are celebrated at the sanctuary.
On November 22nd 1986, the armed conflict between Amal (Shi'a Muslim militias) and the PLO (The Palestine Liberation Organization) spread to Maghdouché. Ferocious combats took place in this Christian strategic town. Ultimately, it fell partially in the hands of the Palestinians and its residents were forced to flee from their homes. Maghdouché was destroyed. In 1990, after four years, the residents of Maghdouché returned to the ruins of their village and began rebuilding what was destroyed in the war.
Maghdouché's most famous landmark is the tower of Our Lady of Mantara, which is a Marian shrine built (May 16, 1963), above the cave that is believed to have been the resting place of the Virgin Mary as she waited for Jesus while he preached in Sidon. The tower height is 28 m, Statue height: 8.5 m, width: 3.5 m and the weight is 6 Tons
A tribute to the town was sung by Lebanese singer Diana Haddad on her 2000 album Jarh AL Habib titled Maghdouche or Mishtaqit Laki Ya Maghdouche ("I miss you Maghdouche"). In September 2009 Haddad performed the same song in honour of the village while participating in their annual music festival held in the town, the singer's ancestral home.
- maghdouche.pipop.org[dead link]
- Discussion: 2. Al-Mountara ?. Christusrex.org (2000-12-19). Retrieved on 2013-04-11.
- Usaid: Lebanon: Welcome To Usaid | Lebanon Archived 2007-02-20 at the Wayback Machine. Lebanon.usaid.gov. Retrieved on 2013-04-11.
- Renan, 1864, pp. 518-519
- Guérin, 1880, p. 486
- history. Web.archive.org (2009-10-27). Retrieved on 2013-04-11.
- Bishop Maksimos Constantine (1963) Notre Dame de Mantara
- Diana in “Maghdosheh” for the first time. albawaba.com, September 10, 2009.
- Guérin, Victor (1880). Description Géographique Historique et Archéologique de la Palestine (in French). 3: Galilee, pt. 2. Paris: L'Imprimerie Nationale.
- Renan, Ernest (1864). Mission de Phénicie (in French). Paris: Imprimerie impériale.