Explore / Around Bsharre and Wadi Qadisha
Deir Mar Elishaa (Monastery of St. Elisha)

A visitor can reach this Monastery from Bsharreh by taking a narrow, uneven, winding road.

It is built inside a rocky cave that comprises a number of cells and the tomb of Father François de Chasteu, the Capuchin father who rested in saintly peace in 1644. The church was made up of four small rocky hermitages. There are no documents concerning the date of the monastery where a Maronite bishop lived in the 14th century.This monastery witnessed the foundation of the Lebanese Maronite Order (in 1695).


Deir Qannoubin (The Monastery of Qannoubin)

It was built by Emperor Theodosius the Great during the fourth century A.D. It can be reached from Blawza. It was the Maronite patriarchal seat from the 15th to the 19th century. Its church, partly built into the rocks, contains painted murals that date back to the beginning of the 18th century. Near the entrance, there is a crypt where the embalmed body of the Maronite patriarch, Youssef Taian lies. Near the Monastery there is the church of Saydet Marina (Our Lady of Marina) which comprises the remains of a number of Maronite patriarchs.


Saydet ed Darr (Our Lady of Abundant Milk)

It is located at the Midway between Bsharreh and Hadchit a path leads to a rocky sanctuary venerated by nursing women in the district. Its rocky walls are covered with painted murals that go back to the 14th century. The best one preserved depicts the Baptism of Christ.

 

Hadchit

The shrine of Mar Shmouni lies at the meeting point of Wadi Hawla and Wadi Qannoubin. It can be reached on foot by a narrow, uneven path. It takes 30 minutes walk to get there. It was built during the Middle Ages under a rocky sanctuary and it contains frescoes that date back to the 13th century. These frescoes were covered with line upon the demand of a donator. On the right side of the valley, there are the remains of Deir Es Salib (Monastery of the Cross): a double chapel and hermitages in the Cliffside. The walls of the church were carved with frescoes in the Byzantine style that date back to the 12th and 14th centuries. A hermit left inscriptions in Arabic that serve as evidence of his residence in this place.


Bekaa Kafra

It is the highest village in Lebanon (1750 meters above sea level). It is distinguished for its rustic houses and old roads. It is the village of St. Charbel. His father's house was turned into a church that attracts the pilgrims on the third Sunday of July, i.e. St. Charbel feast day.


Bqerqacha

According to local tradition, the hermitage of Mar Semaan was founded by Takla, the daughter of a priest from Bsharreh called Basil. It contains four rooms built in natural caves in the Cliffside. Here are remains of cisterns and traces of frescoes. This site overlooks the valley and stands as an exemplary rocky hermitage in which the hermits of Wadi Qadisha used to live.


Hawqa

The hermitage and church of Mar Hawqa (St. Hawqa) can be reached through a narrow, uneven path that takes 30 minutes to be crossed. It is built in a rocky sanctuary 20 meters high. The site dates back to the third century and contains remains of a cistern and rock-cut tunnels. Stairs lead to the first floor. The site becomes a pilgrimage on August 14, the Eve of Ascension Day. The history of the monastery is associated with the invasion of the Mamluks against Qalaat Hawqa, a natural fortress which is located in a cave above the monastery and that can be reached only by experienced mountain climbers. In this cave there are some paintings and a long Arabic text that dates back to 1193.


Qozhaya

Deir Mar Antonios Qozhaya (the Monastery of St. Anthony Qozhaya) dates back to the 11th and 12th centuries. It can be reached from Tourza. It is one of the largest monasteries in the valley and it dates back to the Middle Ages. Monastic life began there in the mid 12th century.

In 1585, the first printing press in the Arab world was set up there. It printed in Syriac letters. The present printing press was purchased in 1871. The monastery took its present shape in 1926. As for the church, partly carved in the rock, it was renovated in 1864. Near the monastery there is a cave or the sanctuary of Mar Antonios known as the "Cave of the Lunatics" because lunatics and possessed people used to be chained there.


The Cedars

From Bsharreh, a winding road leads to a flat area that is called the Cedars. The Cedar Wood is beyond the ski stations and it contains around 300 cedar trees. It is a relic and a rare witness of woods that Lebanon was well known for in ancient times. The Canaanites, Egyptians and Phoenicians used cedar wood to build their temples and ships. King Hiram sent cedar wood to King Solomon to build the temple in Jerusalem. It was also used to build the Phoenician fleet. In this great cedar grove there is a path where the visitor can walk and watch the cedar trees that are 35 meters high and with a circumference of 14 meters. 12 thousand of those trees date back to more than a thousand year.


Hasroun

It is one of the rare villages in Lebanon that still preserves the Lebanese architectural design. Its houses are still roofed with red bricks. From Hasroun, there is a path that leads to Wadi Qadisha, past Mar Mikhail Church (St. Michael) and the monastery of Mar Yaaqoub (Monastery of Saint James).


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