5 things to do in Hadath El Jebbeh
Located in the Nor th of Lebanon, the village of Hadath el Jebbeh stands at 1,500m altitude in an area of outstanding natural beauty, overlooking the dramatic Qadisha Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage site. From mountains and valleys to cultural and religio
1 Outdoor activities in and around the mountains
New trails have been created around Hadath el Jebbeh, of fering an exceptional experience hiking or snowshoeing through the Cedar Forest. For high mountain enthusiasts, the trail towards Mar Semaan is a must. There, from the Makmel mountain and at the peak of Mar Semaan, you can visit the shrine of Mar Semaan and enjoy the panoramic view of the surrounding mountains. If you are lucky enough and if the weather is clear, you can see as far as Tripoli and the Palm Islands. And if you still want a fur ther thr ill, the trail continues to the Church of God, (Kanisset el Rabb), locally said to be “the highest church in the Near East,” which stands at 2,350m altitude.
2 Traditional architecture
The beautiful St. Daniel church, dating back to the 12th Centur y AD, stands at the center of Hadath el Jebbeh. The church was built on the ruins of an old monaster y dedicated to the Prophet Elijah, which, according to popular tradition, was built on the ruins of a pagan temple. Af terwards, stroll around the old souk and admire traditional 18th Centur y stone houses. Don’t miss the ancient sarcophagus, said to belong to Queen Diya, the daughter of Naboukadnasar, King of Persia.
3 Religious discoveries in the Qannoubine Valley
Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site, the Qannoubine Valley is the most dramatic valley in Lebanon and is, according to UNESCO, “one of the most important early Chr istian monastic settlements in the world.” Here caves and shelters were turned into churches and monasteries for monks and hermits. A few of the monasteries are accessible by car, but the best way to discover them remains on foot. You can see the Assi el Hadath Grotto from afar; it was a refuge for local inhabitants dur ing the Mamluk’s siege in 1283. The discover ies made in the grotto represent a major stepping-stone for medieval archaeology and Maronite histor y in Lebanon and helped enlist the valley on the UNESCO World Heritage list.
4 Mushroom harvesting
The cedar forest is home to more than 40 species of wild mushrooms, which range in color from white, black and grey to yellow and blue. The locals eat mushrooms locally named “boulbes” and the “aafess;” both are edible. In the fall season, especially in November, you can exper ience wild mushroom picking and later learn to cook and taste them at Auberge Hadath el Jebbeh
(71 680222, hadatheljebbeh.com.)
5 The monumental cedars
Above the village is one of the most important highdensity cedar forests in Lebanon; it includes around 300,000 Cedrus Libani trees, some of them over a thousand years old. The forest sheltered Pr ince Bachir II dur ing the Ottoman persecution; now hikers can walk along the trails between the tall trees and learn about the r ich fauna and flora of the area. Go with a local guide (71 680222) to explore the forest, and organize your cultural and adventure tours including mountain biking, climbing and snowshoeing.