Unique Places in Lebanon

  • Street in the refugee camp
    Street in the refugee camp
    by mikey_e
  • Political posters
    Political posters
    by mikey_e
  • Main street in the camp
    Main street in the camp
    by mikey_e

Most Viewed Off The Beaten Path in Lebanon

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    Les Cèdre (El Arz)

    by MM212 Updated Jul 30, 2011

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    Located at 2000 metres above sea level, but only 45 minutes by car from the coast, Les Cèdres, or El Arz in Arabic, is a small village a short distance above Bcharré. The village is famous for being the highest ski resort in Lebanon and also for containing one of the few surviving cedar groves. The ski resort is not Lebanon's fanciest, but is the country's oldest and is said to contain the best snow, being the highest. For non-skiers, the attraction is seeing the Cedars of Lebanon. These majestic trees, which originate in these mountains and are the symbol of the country, once covered its entire mountain range. However, cedar wood had been highly valued since antiquity (in fact, Pharaonic monuments of ancient Egypt, such as the pyramids of Saqqara, still contain surviving cedar wood from Lebanon). This resulted in the gradual deforestation of the mountains and degradation of the soil so that these very slow-growing cedars could grow no more. The few cedar groves that have survived are thus highly protected by the Lebanese and have earned the name "Cedars of the Lord".

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    The American University in Beirut

    by intelligentsia Updated Apr 4, 2011

    Intensive Summer Course in Arabic at AUB. (CAMES)

    Most of the students are Americans of Lebanese descent in their 20s, however there are a few Europeans, and US expats in their 30s-40s here too. The majority of the crowd is young, hip and single. The strict "no Englidh" policy is rarely enforced. I wouldn't come here expecting to increase much in fluency, but I would still recommend the program.

    Related to:
    • Study Abroad

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    Moussaylha Castle

    by MM212 Updated Feb 18, 2010

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    On the way to Tripoli from Beirut, off the main motorway in a green plain surrounded by wooded hills lies the abandoned castle of Moussaylha. It was built in 1624 by the rebellious Emir Fakhreddine to protect the north-south road. The fort's site on a protruding rock along the road was quite strategic and is thought to have been used to protect the road for centuries. Although there may have been a castle or another structure on the site previously, archeologists are certain that the existing fortress is entirely from the 17th century construction. The relatively small castle is quite striking as it appears to have been carved out of the rock, and from one angle the castle blends in with the mountain behind. If you are travelling by car from Beirut to Tripoli, then it is definitely worth stopping for a quick look at this castle and its picturesque surroundings. It is located in the Liban-Nord province, a few kilometres past the town of Batroun, about 40 minutes north of Beirut, or 20 minutes south of Tripoli. However, due to its position east of the motorway, it is best seen when driving from Beirut to Tripoli.

    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Historical Travel
    • Castles and Palaces

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    Ski Lebanon!

    by MM212 Updated Jan 31, 2010

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    Lebanon's mountains receive a tremendous amount of snow in winter, a fact unknown to many who have not visited the country. Only on a trip to Lebanon, especially in the winter months, does one realise that these mountains are covered in lots of white stuff! Despite the amount of snow, Lebanon's ski resorts cannot claim to be as extensive as the Alps or the Rockies, but nonetheless offer decent skiing, and certainly the only ski resorts in the region. The facilities may also be less state-of-the-art than at more modern resorts in Europe & the US. The highest skiable area is not the most accessible and does not have the best facilities. It is located above the Cedars town, or El Arz in Arabic. Click on El Arz to learn a little more. Other areas closer to Beirut (e.g., Faraya Mzaar) are the trendy spots with good facilities.

    Related to:
    • Skiing and Boarding

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    The Temple of Echmoun

    by MM212 Updated Jan 15, 2010

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    About 3km north of Sidon, on the banks of a river called Nahr el-Awali, lie the ruins of the the Temple of Echmoun. It was dedicated to the Phoenician god of medicine and healing, the most revered in Sidon at the time and one that was later equated with the Graeco-Roman god Asclepius. The temple was an imporant pilgrimage site for over a millennium, from its construction in the 7th century BC until the early Byzantine period. This is one of the few sites in Lebanon where significant Phoenician-period structures have survived intact, along with Greek, Roman and Byzantine ruins, including stunning mosaics. Note that this temple is on the tentative list of UNESCO awaiting its addition to the list of World Heritage Sites.

    For more, check out the Sidon page.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Archeology
    • Architecture

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    Deir Nouriyeh & Ras Chekka

    by MM212 Updated Jan 12, 2010

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    One of countless monasteries of various Christian sects around Lebanon, the Greek Orthodox monastery of Deir Nouriyeh is located in the Liban-Nord province about 50 km north of Beirut. It is built on the edge of a 200 metre cliff overlooking the Mediterranean Sea in Ras Chekka, a limestone promontory that contains a forest of olive and oak trees and is important for bird migration routes. Although the monastery dates back to the 6th century AD, what we see today was built in mediaeval times and restored in recent years. The monastery is also thought to have been built over a pagan temple. Right below it, on the side of a cliff, is another tiny ancient monastery and a cave chapel that date from the 4th century AD. Legend has it, the Virgin Mary appeared during a rough storm to a group travelling by sea near this site. When they were saved, they decided to build this chapel and monastery to commemorate the event. Deir Nouriyeh and the cave chapel below are very "off the beaten track", but make a very pleasant a stop for those with more time and private transportation.

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    Qadisha Valley

    by MM212 Updated Jan 10, 2010

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    One of many deep gorges cutting through the Lebanon Mountain range into the Mediterranean, Qadisha Valley is known to be the most picturesque. It is located in the Liban-Nord province (northern Lebanon) and runs from Les Cèdres (El Arz) at over 2000 metres all the way down the coast, with snow-capped mountains surrounding it much of the year. For thousands of years, the isolation of the valley made it a natural refuge for persecuted minorities, but since the 5th century AD, it has been almost exclusively a Maronite Christian stronghold. Maronites, who are the largest Christian sect in Lebanon, fled the Syrian plains in the 5th century, where they had been heavily persecuted by the Romans (Byzantines), to hide in Qadisha Valley and other gorges in Mount Lebanon. The valley is therefore dotted with numerous ancient monasteries while the Maronite villages command views from the cliffs above. Qadisha Valley is also said to contain an excellent hiking trail that passes by cave churches and waterfalls. In 1998, the valley was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A good way to see Qadisha Valley to drive to Bcharré and/or Les Cèdres (El Arz) along a winding steep road.

    Related to:
    • National/State Park
    • Eco-Tourism
    • Road Trip

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    suprises in south lebanon

    by peterocnnor Written Oct 18, 2009

    make sure if u visit south lebanon to take in saida & sour that u make the time 2 c castle beaufort
    ( qala 'at ash - shaqif )a former crusader castle a pearched high on a mountain it a execellent site with breath taking view & very pleasing to photograph & also al khiam prison camp very badly damaged by missiels from isreali warplanes in 2006 . some of its cell blocks are still in tact as most of the surrounds of the prison ie guard towers ,and original red & white fence entrance . their is also a small museum with a scale model of the prison & some other bits & piece's also there is tanks & armoured vechiles and missiels on show .

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Castles and Palaces
    • Museum Visits

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    The Aussies were here

    by TheWanderingCamel Updated Feb 20, 2009

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    Australian troops in Lebaanon during the war built the railway line that runs along the coast. If you leave the main Tripoli-Beirut highway a few kilometres north of Byblos and come right down to the coast you wil see the old line still there. The Rising Sun badge of the Australian Army can be seen on the stone pylons of one of the bridges.

    The Syrian soldiers at the army post by the bridge weren't all that happy to see us taking photographs. The Syrians have withdrawn fromLebanon since we were there, so you shouldn't have any problems these days.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel

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    Baalbek,travel thru Hezzbollah camp

    by riocopa Written Apr 29, 2008

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    without connections i wouldnt have travelled to Baalbek,my girl new the govenor of the becca valley's son thru nightclubbing,so he guided us thru the hezzbollah camp ,and there were check points were they stuck machine guns in the car and asked for papers,but what ever thie gov's son said,we got right thru to the best preserved roman temples in the world

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    Kfarhim Grotto

    by sachara Updated Oct 11, 2007

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    On our way from Beirut to Deir al-Qamar in 1995 we passed the village Kfarhim and saw a sign of a grotto. The Kfarhim Grotto is a small natural cave. They told us it was discovered 80 years ago. The cave has stalagmites and stalactites, but was not very impressive. During our visit we saw that the cave was decorated with multi-colored disco lightning and had a bar.

    The owners of kfarhim Grotto sent me in 2007 the following updates:
    - the kfarhim grotto is discovered in 1974
    - we dont have any bar in our grotto
    - we discovered many areas inside the grotto in the last years after the
    year 2003 which means our grotto now is very big with many impessive stalictites and stalagmites
    - our price for entrance now is changed to 8000 l.l.

    Open from 7am to 7 pm.
    South of Beirut

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    Kahlil Gibran bust

    by jorgejuansanchez Written Oct 16, 2006

    This huge bust is located in a small town called Bsharri, between Tripoli and the famous cedar park, with hundreds of these trees (the cedar is the symbol of Lebanon and it appears in the flag).
    The monument consists in a huge stone head at the entrance of the hilly city where Kahlil Gibran was born. In spite of having lived in USA (he died in New York in 1931) where he was a writer and painter, and wrote his classical works The Prophet or The Fool, he is much admired in Lebanon.

    Related to:
    • Backpacking
    • Budget Travel
    • Arts and Culture

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    Excursion to Baalbek

    by RawdgerDodger Updated Jul 21, 2006

    Baalbek is pretty much just a bunch of ruins but it has great historical significance. It was originally erected as a temple by the Eastern Roman Empire. Then when the Eastern Roman Empire fell, the Turks took it over and converted it into a bath. Since the Turkish rule, this area has fallen into many various country's hands most notably Syria until quite recently. It is a great acropolis-type ruin to wander around on. And if one looks closely, one can still see the artwork on the tile floors.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Archeology
    • Road Trip

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    Beqaa valley

    by uglyscot Written Jun 10, 2005

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    In the Beqaa valley the fruit and vegetables grow to enormous size because the soil is so fertile.
    Extraordinary heavy weights and sizes are quoted for watermelon, potatoes and tomatoes. Seeing is believing, so go to a stall selling greengroceries and admire the 'giant' fruit.

    Related to:
    • Food and Dining
    • Farm Stay
    • Road Trip

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    Baalbeck

    by sarrahh Written May 17, 2005

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    Baalbeck, Lebanon's greatest Roman treasure, can be counted among the wonders of the ancient world. The largest and most noble Roman temples ever built, they are also among the best preserved.
    Towering high above the Beqaa plain, their monumental proportions proclaimed the power and wealth of Imperial Rome. The gods worshipped here, the Triad of Jupiter, Venus and Mercury, were grafted onto the indigenous deities of Hadad, Atargatis and a young male god of fertility. Local influences are also seen in the planning and layout of the temples, which vary from the classic Roman design.

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