Noah Passed by the Bekaa


In the vil­lage of Karak Nuh, just on the edge of Zahle, there’s a very, very long mosque that con­tains the tomb of Noah. Yes, Noah. You know, the one with the ark? Fourty-two me­ters long and around four me­ters wide, the low, Toblerone-shaped tomb is draped in an ag­ing green cloth cover and one of the room’s por­ti­cos is painted with what ap­pears to be a 17th Cen­tury Clip­per ship, that de­tails Noah’s de­scent from Adam.

As the tomb at­tests, Noah was a large man. Ap­par­ently so large that he had to be buried with his knees bent. Ac­cord­ing to another story, Noah was so tall, he could strad­dle the Beka’a Val­ley, stand­ing with one leg on Mount Le­banon and the other on the Anti-le­banon and the tomb in Karak Nuh – the first city he built af­ter the flood­wa­ters re­ceded - only con­tains one of his legs. Bent dou­ble, of course.

But if you are won­der­ing how Noah got to the Beka’a from Mt. Ararat – the moun­tain on the Turk­ishar­me­nian border, where tra­di­tion has it that his ark landed - he didn’t. Al­though, for a man who could strad­dle the Beka’a, the trip from Ararat would prob­a­bly only have been a ten a minute stroll, tops.

But Noah didn’t come to the Beka’a from Ararat be­cause his ark didn’t land De­cem­ber 2016 on Ararat. At least not ac­cord­ing to the in­hab­i­tants of Tib­nin, who in­sist it landed near their vil­lage. Or up on the Zabadani plateau. Or pos­si­bly in Azer­bai­jan, Jor­dan, or Iraq. Mr. von Ark is claimed by quite a num­ber of dif­fer­ent coun­tries. Tur­key, for ex­am­ple, claims him twice. Once for his ark, which is ap­par­ently vis­i­ble near the top of Ararat’s Turk­ish side and once for his mor­tal re­mains, which they claim are buried in Cizre. Ob­vi­ously, the Turks haven’t met any­one from Karak Nuh, oth­er­wise they wouldn’t go around mak­ing such wild claims.

Why favour the Beka’a over Tur­key? Sim­ply be­cause Noah isn’t the only mem­ber of the world’s first fam­ily to be buried there. His in­cred­i­bly longlived great-great grand­fa­ther’s great great-grand­fa­ther, Seth, who was the third son of Adam and Eve and who ap­par­ently knew Noah as a young man – giv­ing the man who built the world’s big­gest ship one de­gree of sep­a­ra­tion from the Gar­den of Eden - is buried in the vil­lage mosque over in Nabi Shith. And yes, his tomb is even longer than Noah’s.

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