Kasab

A Mountain Resort Hugging the Sea

Kasab can be considered resort no.1 among tourist sites along the coast of Syria. It is as old as human existence in the region. It was well known since Ugarit‘s period when people, at that time ,discovered that Ba‘al, the God of Gods, lived in Mt. (Aron), a volcanic mountain still guarding Kasab.

To reach Kasab you have to go through several groves and forests of pine, oak, and laurel trees. In midway between Kasab and Qastal AL-Ma‘af, a town near Kasab, once stood the late Egyptian President Jamal Abdul Nasser to utter his famous sentence: “This is paradise regained on earth.” Really, it is so.

When we arrived Kasab early morning, it was still sleeping at the shoulder of the mountain, facing series of rain washed greenery, while some patches of white snow still ornamenting the peaks and low grooves of the surrounding chain of mountains.

Wondering? A summer resort in winter! Yes, no wonder, since millions of Arabs and foreigners know how Kasab seems in summer and how it looks in winter. We met visitors who prefer to spend winter vacations in Kasab. Among them, an Iraqi, who roamed most parts of the world, to find the remedy of his chronic asthma in Kasab, where there is fresh and dry air all-round the year.

I asked him why? The town is not so high above sea level“he answered. “So it doesn’t cause hypertension. Nor it is so low to keep the air humid. It is really a moderate place I advise for all asthma and lungs patients. That‘s why I spend most of the year in here. Now I‘m considered a native of Kasab, enjoying all the privileges its inhabitants enjoy.”

That is, then, the reason that many people, since old times, had been building homes of stones and mud in Kasab. Few of these houses are still used till now. The church of Kasab, overlooking the main square, is 150 years old.

The name Kasab, “Casabella“, the beautiful residence, or “Kasba?, the center of the region, originated at the Roman period. Kasab‘s inhabitants in summer double in number to become 60000 people. They dwell in groups of villas and houses of elegant architecture, spreading all over the plateaus and the slopes of the mountain. There are 23 tourist hotels, restaurants, and 300 rent apartments. The people of Kasab are very well known for their generosity, gentle manners and spontaneous hospitality. They excel in preparing certain kinds of foods, specialties of Kasab‘s gourmets.

Once you are in Kasab, you leave behind the sense of isolation to melt among its simple hearted people and be one of them.

In Kasab there are several natural springs and sources of water that flow from the mountains around, and from the winter snows, and run in a ceremonial way among the contours of the town. Kasab is 15 minutes drive from Al- Basit, a neighbouring sea resort.

This short distance enables any visitor to spend the first half of his day enjoying the cool weather of Kasab, then to go down, in the afternoon, to the “Samra“, sea side, just 5 km away, on foot, to practice jogging. It is called “Samra“, in Arabic the brunette, after the color of the rocks that stand like a brunette young woman, with her black hair flying down her shoulders. It is like a portrait of a genius artist. Samra is a valley between two mountains that cuts down its way gradually into the rocks to reach the golden sandy beach of the Mediterranean.

In Samra there is a church built in 1896. It had been renovated in 1908. It has a large main hall with one alter and a converted cross on one of its walls. It seemed that soldiers of Alexander the Great, passed by Kasab and left behind them coins, with Alexander’s head struck on them.

As we mentioned at the beginning. There are large orchards of fruit trees, particularly apple trees. Kasab is widely known for its distinguished products of fruit. In the season of collecting apples, the town turns into a carnival with many visitors coming to participate in collecting apples, grapes and cherries. Kasab is very famous for its laurel trees from which laurel oil is produced to make the most healthy soap in the world. Kasab soap bars are free of any chemical irritants and rich of natural laurel odor which lasts for days after use.

Tourists in Kasab come to enjoy fresh air, magic scenery and complete serenity and greenery. They find everything they want here for moderate prices. A visitor of Kasab feels at home, among friends who believe that their duty is to make him happy, a privilege that motivates newlywed people to spend their first marital days (honeymoons) in this enchanting resort.

 

Haifaa Mafalani

 

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