The town of Baabda, overlooking Beirut from hills, is the seat of government in Mount Lebanon Governorate, and home to the presidential palace.
The town is named after its church, Mar Abda, and its grandiose Ottoman serail, built in 1887, houses numerous government departments. A large inscribed stone fountain stands in a planted circle at the northern entrance of the town.
Also located in Baabda is Abu Rashid Castle, to the east of the presidential palace; the Monastery of Saint Anthony, which is the oldest monastery in the region, built in 1745; the tomb of Emir Melhem Shihabi; and the Antonin Monastic forest.
Luxurious villas and buildings are found in Baabda amid the pine and oak forest that still covers much of the area.
Nearby, in the secluded river valley between Mansourieh and Hazmieh, are the remains of a little-known Roman aqueduct called Qanater as-Sett Zubaida (the Arches of Mistress Zubaida), built over the Beirut River to supply the expanding metropolis of Beirut with fresh water from a spring in Daychounieh. The aqueduct was built in 273 AD, and much of its foundational arches are still intact.