The drive from Tripoli up to Bcharre, throught the Kadisha Valley, takes you through some of the most beautiful scenery in Lebanon. In places it reminded me of Montenegro. This is a Maronite Christian area, so it is dotted with mountainside churches.
in Diman at the south side of the Kadisha Valley we saw along the road a large building with a church.
It is the new Maronite Patriarchy, after taking over from Deir Qannoubin, and also the summer residence of the patriarch.
In the building we saw paintings of the Kadisha Valley and some religious scenes as well, made in the 1930s or 1940s by a Lebanese painter.
At the south edge of the Kadisha Valley we visited Deir Mar Semaan.
We walked down along a steep narrow path for 15 minutes. On the steep cliffs we found a bare room carved in the rocks as hermitage. We saw some remains of water cisterns and traces of some frescoes.
What an isolated place in the middle of the rough nature, with a breathtaking view in the valley!
It's an early hermitage founded in 1112 by a daughter of a local priest.
B'qaa Kafra is the highest village in Lebanon. You can reach the village south of the road from Bcharre to Hasroun at the south side of ther Kadisha Valley.
B'qaa Kafra is the birthplace of Sant Charbel Marklouf, monk and hermit of the Maronite Order. In the village is a museum about the life of St Charbel.
They told us that nowadays still uncredible wonders and healings happen in this village. In the village is a new convent namend after Saint Charbel and a Notre Dame church.
Nor far from Ehden near a spring and waterfall are nice garden restaurants, popular for visits in the weekends by local people.
We visited this lovely place on our way to the Nature Reserve Horsh Ehden. This reserve is just above the village Ehden and they told is this must be a nice area of wilderness and natural beauty, perfect for walking.
We had some misunderstanding with our driver. He continued driving and didn't stop, while we came to this area for walking.
He explained, that he thought we would like to "walk with the car" , becauase in arabic language you can also ''walk'' with the car.
At the end we had our walk in a nice green landscape with a lot of wild flowers !!
The village Ehden (1450 M) at the north side of the Kadisha Valley dates back from the Middle Ages. There is an old souk and a nice main square. Nowadays it's a popular summer resort for people from Beirut. During the year the village is nearly inhabited, so we hardly saw any people around. At a hilltop a new concrete church is built and payed by a rich Lebanese with a lot of trading activities in Saudi Arabia.
The Cedars is also the name for the ski resort, a few KMs further than the grove of cedar trees. It's a small village with some hotels and ski lifts.
When we visited this place end April, the snow was melting in the warm temperature and the ski activities were over. From the parking lot at the end of the road we had a nice view at the still snow covered and closed road from here to Baalbek in the Bekaa Valley
Coming from Bcharre and heading east, The Cedars can't be missed. The road from Bcharre just crossed the area of the cedars. The area is signposted "Les cedres''.
Along the road in The Cedars are several stalls, where you can buy souvenirs find information or have a drink or snack.
The cedar trees or arz ar-rab ( god's cedars)in the grove of The Cedars are the remains of the former fast cedar forests on the Mount Lebanon range .
Some trees in The Cedars are very old, maybe even 1500 years, but the most trees in the grove are younger with an age of about more than 200 years.
This old tree looks very impressive with its enormous trunk!!!
The area east above Bcharre is home for the famous cedars. These cedars of Lebanon are mentioned in the Old Testament.
Nowadays only a few of the original groves still exist.
In the antiquity the cedar forests covered large parts of the Mount Lebanon range and provided wealth for the Phoenicians, who exported the durable and fragrant wood to Palestine and Egypt.
The cedar of Lebanon or Cedrus libani is the symbol of Lebanon and a part of the national flag.
The Cedars is the name of the grove of cedars, 4 KM east of Bcharre. This small grove lies at an height of 2000 M at the slopes of Jebel Makmal. The grove of cedars is protected by a fence and we were only allowed to walk on the paths. Walking on the soft ground, while the snow was melting, could destroy the roots.
The cedars can be visited everyday of the year. Entrance LL 1500.