The town is located 45 kilometers southeast of Beirut, and near the town of Deir el-Qamar from which it is separated by a steep valley.
Beiteddine (House of Faith) is the name of both the village and the magnificent palace complex that lies within. The palace, perched on a steep elevation, rises from the surrounding landscape like a fairytale vision, a Scheherazadean delight rendered with Italianate flair (in fact, the architects were Italian).
Work began on the palace in 1788 but wasn't completed for another thirty years, during which time Emir Bashir, the Ottoman-appointed governor, oversaw the building of a monument that would reflect the power and glory of his reign.
Visitors to Beitddine have to be grateful for the Ottoman's streak of egomania. The result is one of the finest remaining examples of 19th-century Lebanese architecture, one even the Israeli invasion could not destroy (although it is estimated that ninety percent of the palace's rare and precious contents were lost). Its grand dimensions encompass three main courtyards, huge vaulted stables, small museums, guest apartments, water fountains, marble portals and marquetry, and luxuriously decorated and domed hammams (bathhouses).
It also has a collection of beautiful Byzantine mosaics. Many were excavated from the ancient city of Porphyrion and kept for safe-keeping at Beitddine throughout the war. It is thought to be one of the most spectacular mosaic collections in the eastern Mediterranean, if not the world.