Bekaa Valley is known for its famous agriculture and rich land, UNESCO world heritage such as Baalbek and Anjar, world class wineries, El-Assi river and Qaraoun lake, and many other attractions besides its famous local Lebanese dishes
Baalbek was a premier post for Roman and was named Heliopolis- “The city of the sun”. Three temples Jupiter, Bachus, and Venus were built since more than two centuries, and became one of the most celebrated sanctuaries. Up until 150 BC, the temple was dedicated to the Phoenician Astrate and Baal and then to Venus during the Roman time. The magnitude and the stones size is still a puzzle for architects on how they could have been built in such age. The temple of Jupiter is surrounded by 54 columns which stand at nearly 23 meter high and are considered some of the largest in the world. Today, besides its historical value it hosts some of the main concerts during summer festival season. Not far from the ruins, you can snap a photo next to the largest man-made stone in the world named “The stone of the pregnant woman”. The stone was intended to be used in the Jupiter temple but did not make it up due to its massive size and weight . The old souks nearby make it a perfect spots for tourists to stroll, buy a souvenir, or taste some of the delicious local food.
Anjar was a modern city built by the Umayyads, around 705 A.C. The full city ruins were uncovered in 1943. This city reveals a substantial information about the Umayyad dynasty that spans from the Indus Valley to southern France. The city was at that time a major hub between east and west and hosted more than 600 shops at that time. The unique architecture, sculptures, and Arcades is visible across the remains of the city makes you appreciate the Umayyad’s construction taste. Nearby the old city, old Roman temples are found on a hilltop in Majdal Anjar and in Kfar Zabad. Not far from the city, tourists can enjoy a walk in the traditional old souks, buy souvenirs, and enjoy some traditional Lebanese and Armenian dishes.
Zahle is the capital city of Bekaa district, it is called the “Bride of the Beqaa” and “The City of Wine and Poetry”. It is famous throughout Lebanon and the region for its pleasant climate, numerous riverside restaurants and quality arak and wine. At the center of this beautiful city flows the Bardouni river where restaurants are spread on both sides offering traditional Lebanon’s famous mezze and delights. The top of Tel Chiha hill is crowned by a 10m bronze statue for the Virgin Marry standing at 50m high and overlooking Zahle and the Bekaa Valley.
Château Ksara is Lebanon’s oldest and largest winery and the one of the most visited tourist attractions in Lebanon. Developed the first dry wine in 1857 and spread into the world collecting best and top awards and recognition in the wine industry. Its wine is famous for its unique character of “rare balance of dry fruitiness, of delicacy and coarseness, and of freshness and vigour”. The iconic caves of Ksara, 2000 years old, are remarkable structures and stretches more than one and half mile underground where temperature and humidity are naturally set to produce such fine wine quality. Visitors certainly enjoys a tour of the old caves, ornamented vineyards, and sample tasting.
Chateau Kefraya is the second biggest winery in the Beqaa Valley. The guided tour starts on board a small train that takes you through the ornamented vineyards reaching the splendid viewpoint. Explore the winery underground Roman tomb that goes back to 3rd Century. Learn the history about the winery and then take a tour in the cellars and lean abou the whole process of wine production. The Arak tasters also could enjoy a glimpse on the process and range . The delicious meal at the Le Relais Dionysos cannot be missed with some wine tasting.
Hermel and Assi
Hermel is know for its famous el-Assi river destination for white water rafting and kayaking.Also famous for its spread out restaurants across the river offering traditional Lebanese meals and Mezzeh. Kamouh El Hermel or (House of God) is ancient Greek pyramid that goes back to second Centruy BC which sits on top of a hill overlooking the area. Just 200m from the Assi river source, lays the caves where a Syriac monk (Saint Maron) inhabited them in the 4th century A.D., and became known as “the monk’s cave”. St Maroun, was joined by many student monks, and became the founder of the Maronite sect.
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