Jounieh & Byblos
Jounieh and Byblos are Lebanon prime touristic sites due to their rich history, Centuries old ruin sites from old Greek times , nature wonders, world class skiing resorts and winter activities, modern bars, restaurants and as well as house of international concerts. Visitors to this area cannot get enough and feel like they need always more time to enjoy such natural and historical beauty. Visitors always have this feeling as if they have visited multiple countries when visiting only this area. It has plenty to reveal from the white covered mountains of Sannine, Nahr El Kalb, Jeita Grotto, Harissa, Laqlouq, Paradise river of Qartaba (jannet qartaba ), and many others where we can only share in the below articles a brief overview of some of its main attractions beauty.
Nahr El Kalb
Nahr El Kalb or “Dog River”, situated north of Beirut, named after the blowing wind sounds through the mountains passage. More than 22 stelae, inscriptions and carved rocks, at the river were Listed in the UNESCO Memory of The World. This place is said as to be a window to human history. The discovered inscriptions goes back to 13 Century B.C. attributed to king Ramesses II, through to Napoleon III, and goes till the evacuation of Israeli forces from South Lebanon in 2000. This is a must stop to this rich and rare site for all tourists to Lebanon, as it is a mirror to human history and reflection of the strategic importance of Lebanon despite its small geographical area. For further reading I recommend visiting this URL: https://www.livius.org/articles/place/lykos-nahr-al-kalb/
Jeita Grotto, discovered in 1836, is a Limestone caves where most stalactites and stalagmites are found. It is a masterpiece drawn by drops of water over million years forming amazing shapes from ceiling and ground. Runner of the Seven nature wonders of the world. Visitors are astounded by this magnificent rare natural beauty. The Upper Gallery has around 700m walking track of the total 2km length where visitors discover various stones in the form of curtains, mushroom, columns, and draperies. it is house of One of the longest stalactites in the world measuring 8.2 m. The Lower Gallery has around 400m of the total 8km length a short rowboat cruise in the crystal clear water while admiring the stones formation as chandeliers hang out form ceiling. Visitors can reach the caves on a scenic ride in Cable cars. There are plenty to do for the whole family at sites besides discovering the Grotto where you can wonder in the small train accessing the mini zoo, or the souvenir shop, or grabbing a nice meal in the restaurant, or even admiring some of the amazing and attractive sculptures, or relaxing and wondering in the Phoenician garden.
Our Lady of Lebanon, Harissa
Harissa is a village in Mount of Lebanon in Kesrwan district. One of the famous attractions is this area is the Shrine of Our Lady of Lebanon, a 15-ton bronze statue of 8.5 meter high elevated on top of the 500m hill overlooking the city of Beirut and Jounieh Bay. The shrine attracts millions of faithful Christians and Muslims visitors from all over the world. Basilica of St. Paul, located south of the statue among other places are considered a major attraction when visiting the area. The most famous ride to reach the site is via the cable cars which starts off from Jounieh and go all the way up steeply above the pine forest on a breathtaking view of Jounieh bay.
Known also as Mzaar Kfardebyan hosts the largest ski resort in the region. Mzaar derives its name from a old Roman temple located on its highest peaks and overlooking the coast and Bekaa. Mzaar is a key tourist attraction during winter that cannot be missed. Visitors enjoys variety of winter activities such as traditional alpine skiing, snowmobiling, snowboard, and many other snow related activities. Children enjoys playing in the snow, making snowman, or even taking some beginners lessons. Adults, can enjoy in the evening a nice toast around the fireplace is some of the famous resorts restaurants.
Byblos is known as one the oldest cities in the world. Byblos Phoenicians are inventors of the first 20 letters alphabet in the world. Discoveries made by world archaeologists uncovered some artifacts and sculptures that were tracked to be of 8000 years old. Byblos transformed from a fisherman village to a a main Phoenician city around 3000 years B.C. Throughout history, it was occupied by various civilizations from Canaanites till Ottoman. Byblos is a major touristic hub in Lebanon due to its rich historical sites and ruins from Phoenician, Romans, and Crusaders. Besides the city history, its pleasant beaches, old souks, restaurants, hotels, and bars make it the most attractive city on the Mediterranean to visit and crowning it for world wide travel awards and recognition.
The temples of Qalaat Faqra is situated at 1,550 meters on the slope of Sannine mountain.The temple was dedicated by Romans to the “Very Great God” in 43 AD by by the Roman Emperor Tiberius Claudius . Nearby the main site, another smaller temple ruins are found, and which is dedicated to the Syrian goddess Astart. The site contains also some centuries old tomb and unique rock limestone formations known as “houses of ghosts”. Visitors to the area cannot miss the natural 38-meter long limestone bridge called “Jisr Al-Hajar”, ideal place to take amazing snaps. Beside the historical richness of the area, Faqra is famous with its 2,000,000 me private skiing resort offering the best in class skiing activities and facilities in the middle east.
Laqlouq is another skiing escape destination in Lebanon situated at around 2000 m high altitude. The skiing slopes are picturesque where you can feel the calm and tranquility while hearing the sound of the crashing snow underneath your ski blades. Visitors also drop by Balou Balaa, one of the most remarkable of Lebanon’s beauty spots with natural arches and a waterfall. Other sites like the 2300m high Kornet Saidat Al-Qarn peak and the village of Annaya which witnesses pilgrims coming to visit the Monastery of Saint Charbel, the museum and the hermitage, in addition to many other landmarks of high attractions for tourists.
Not far from the skiing resort, lays the the legendary cave of Afqa, where according to the Greek mythology is associated with the cult of Aphrodite and Adonis. The myth states that Ares was jealous of Adonis as he was loved by Aphrodite, sent a vicious boar that killed Adonis at Afqa’s fall. Gods and out of pity for the sadness of Aphrodite allowed Adonis to ascend from Hades for a short period each year at Spring. To that myth every year during spring, the melting snow fills the rivers bringing along some red mud and turning the water into deep red symbolizes the death of Adonis.
Baatra, also called “Balou Balaa”, Located near Tannourine, also known as Baatra gorge waterfall, is a 255 meter sink hole cave from the Jurassic Limestone age. The waterfall has three natural stone bridges stacked on top of each others. The spectacular view of the waterfall is during winter and snowing season as the water flow stops during summer season. This is a must stop destination for all tourists touring Lebanon and exploring its nature attractions.
Akoura is a picturesque village in Jbeil, Mount Lebanon. This region is famous for its beautiful circular ponds, delicious juicy apples, and mesmerizing nature. It’s a popular destination among campers and hikers. The name “Akoura” is Syriac for “the cold spring.”. Saydet El Habes is located at the top of a hill. It offers a panoramic view of the village. Cannot be missed for a panoramic views and photos that will crown your profile or social media photos.
The main attraction in Annaya is Saint Charbel tomb and Saint Maroun Monastery. Saint Charbel body was discovered to be intact after more than 100 years following his death in 1989. His miraculous cures spread the world till nowadays healing people of different religions, and sects. Visitors and pilgrims can tour the monastery where they can see the Saint Charbel tomb and witness the relics of thousands of miracles and testimonials . You can pray, honor your vows, or visit the souvenir shop to buy some religious artifacts, books and pictures. Annaya the city, due to high number of visitors to Saint Charbel from around the globe, has developed an abundant hotels, and restaurants nearby to cater for the various travelers and visitors need.
These are other trips.