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

Lebanon Traveler - - CONTENT -

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.

Pho­tos: Ge­orge Salameh

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