The Qadisha Valley in Lebanon is renowned for its captivating scenery and enigmatic aura, having served as a muse for numerous writers and a subject of awe for countless photographers. Its unique lighting is said to be unparalleled. However, beyond its picturesque allure, the valley boasts a wealth of other attractions that are worth exploring during your visit. Here are some recommendations for your itinerary.
A Moment of Contemplation in the Cedars Forest
As you step into the cedar forest, you'll be paying homage to trees that have stood for millennia and inspired great minds like Gibran Khalil Gibran and Alphonse de Lamartine. Lamartine's name has been etched onto one of the trees, while a commemorative plaque serves as a reminder of the French poet's visit in 1832. Amidst the beautiful surroundings, you'll discover hidden treasures like a secluded chapel that beckons you to pause and reflect.
Picturesque Villages to Admire
The Bcharre region offers a delightful opportunity to explore charming villages with picturesque red rooftops and stunning traditional architecture. One such village is Hasroun, fondly referred to as the Rose of Mount Lebanon for its striking red-tiled houses. Perched on a hilltop, it offers breathtaking views of the Qannoubine Valley, the southern branch of the Qadisha Valley. Another notable village in the area is Bekaa Kafra, situated at the highest point in Lebanon, 2200m above sea level. This is the birthplace of Saint Charbel and is well-known for its historical and cultural significance.
The Tranquility of Gibran Khalil Gibran's Museum
Gibran Khalil Gibran’s Museum is located in the Hermitage of St. Sarkis in Bcharre. The museum's cozy dimensions, intricate architecture, vaults, and peaceful ambience combine to create a contemplative and intimate atmosphere. Visitors are not only treated to a glimpse of Gibran's artistic genius but also get to immerse themselves in the life and legacy of this remarkable individual.
Traveling Along the Qadisha Valley
Qadisha Valley (also known as Wadi Qadisha) is one of the most beautiful areas in Lebanon. It is located within the Bcharre and Zgharta districts in Northern Lebanon, at the foot of Mount al-Makmal. It is one of the most pictured Lebanese landscapes on social media. However, Qadisha Valley is everything but a cliché. Beyond its breathtaking views, the valley boats many hidden gems waiting to be explored. As visitors journey through, they'll come across magnificent wilderness areas, beautiful monasteries, and a number of other charming sights that leave an indelible impression of tranquility and wonder.
On the Road to Monasteries and Religious Sites
The Qadisha Valley was once considered a place where Christians in the region sought refuge. The cliffs which border the valley have numerous caves, which are difficult to access; they represent ideal hiding places for monks and religious communities who felt threatened by their enemies. The builders ingeniously carved cells directly into the rock, evoking images of troglodyte dwellings. True to its name, the valley exudes an aura of sanctity that visitors can experience by touring these monasteries, or even spending a night in one. Their unparalleled serenity and calmness is an unforgettable experience.
Taking Hiking to Another Level
The spiritual essence of Qadisha Valley is so astonishing that even non-religious individuals cannot help but be moved by it. The stunning natural landscapes here possess a divine quality that leaves a profound impression on visitors, imparting a sense of bearing witness to something greater than themselves. Hiking through this valley is not merely an outdoor excursion; it is a journey of the soul. That said, outdoor enthusiasts will also appreciate the superb hiking trails that the valley has to offer, catering to the pure love of sports.