3. GET­AWAY WITH FRIENDS

Lebanon Traveler - - GETAWAYS - Hik­ing the Qadisha Val­ley

Spring is the best sea­son to en­joy hik­ing in Le­banon, par­tic­u­larly the UNESCO World Her­itage Site Qadisha Val­ley. In this holy val­ley, di­vided into Qan­noubine and Qoshaya, find caves and sanc­tu­ar­ies, which were in­hab­ited from the third mil­len­nium B.C. un­til the Ro­man pe­riod. Her­mitages, rocky monas­ter­ies and churches are scat­tered ev­ery­where and Mus­lim sophists also lived here. Con­sid­ered to be one of the most im­por­tant early Chris­tian monas­tic set­tle­ments in the world, its an­cient monas­ter­ies and her­mitages are built in the cliffs of the val­ley. Trails of dif­fer­ent dif­fi­culty lev­els, from vil­lages sur­round­ing the monastery of Our Lady of Qan­noubine, are the best way to ex­plore the val­ley, such as the trail go­ing down from Blowza vil­lage straight to Qan­noubine. Though the more chal­leng­ing hikes of­fer the best views, the eas­i­est is along the road from Mar Elishaa monastery.

SLEEP Our Lady of Qan­noubine Monastery

Ex­pe­ri­ence a mys­tic overnight sleep in (06 645505) in the middle of the val­ley or the hos­tel of the

(06 995504/5, qozhaya.com.)

of Qozhaya

EAT

Eat a pic­nic by the river of Qadisha or un­der pine trees or stop by the renowned

(03 277898) for ex­cel­lent tra­di­tional Le­banese mezze.

Abou Joseph Restau­rant

SEE

The main monas­ter­ies are those of St. An­thony of Qozhaya, Our Lady of Hawqa, Our Lady of Qan­noubine and Mar Lichaa but there are many more hid­den along the val­ley’s walk­ing trails to ex­plore, such as Deir El Salib and Deir Mar Youhanna. Take lo­cal guide

(03 517289) or (03 458435.)

Johnny Nehmé Ab­dal­lah

Monastery of St. An­thony

Aline Bou

Qadisha Val­ley. Pho­tos: Nour Farra-had­dad

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