The Palace of Nicolas El Turk
palace of Nicolas El Turk.
was a great poet whose father originated from Istanbul - hence the name
Turk, and was very much liked by the Emir Bechir Chehab II.
In 1798 when Napoleon Bonaparte arrived in Egypt, Bechir II sent El Turk on a spying mission.
Although of a rather debonair appearance he was very perspicacious. He settled with ease in Demiat in the lower Nile Delta area near Port Saïd: an excellent location between Lebanon and Egypt for use as an observation point, and where he remained throughout the French occupation of Egypt until 1804 not only collecting information on the French army but also observing the Mamelouks, the Ottomans and the Arabs who had come to Egypt’s rescue. From the notes he made during his six-year stay in Demiat he later wrote his book entitled “The History of the French Expedition into Egypt and Syria”.
in 1805 by his mentor the Emir Bechir II, this palace was sold on his
death to a prominent Jewish personality called Moussa Chouaa. Later it
became the property of Moussa Saad, but was sold again by his descendents
to Professor Fouad Ephrem Boustany, a native of DeirElQamar. Prof.
Boustany was a former Rector of the Lebanese University and also a
renowned historian. He in turn left it to his children on his death.
The restoration work on this historical home was started in 1955 and completed in 1962. It was based on information given by the poet Nicolas El Turk in his writings found in his Diwan.
This “khan-type” building was constructed on the flank of a steep hill, and has many windows looking out over the valley. There are several small openings on the hill facade of the house for ventilation purposes.
most houses of that period,
one enters into a central tiled courtyard onto which open two “Liwans”,
which although they face each other are slightly asymmetrical in their
The southern Liwan was reserved for the men
while opposite a more attractive one with the addition of a small fountain
was reserved for the female population of the house.
will also see a gallery made up of three arches which links the two parts
of the building.
unusual aspect of this construction is the asymmetrical distribution of
volume, which is commanded by the difference in levels, and the shape of
entire construction blends perfectly into its surroundings with great
refinement and elegance, a characteristic of Lebanese architecture of that
While leaving this palace note on the southern face, the imposing base or foundation together with three beautiful flower-bearing mandalouns.