The “Holy” Valley

There is not a place in Levant that would not bear holiness … from Jewish and Old Testament trees, rocks and memorable valley through the tombs of Muslim imams to Christ and places where he performed miracles … all of them are holy, some even duplicated, so you can have your preference. So it is not a surprise that there is a valley which actually bears the name of being Holy, and the locals call it Qadisha.

Qadisha is first of all the name of a river which springs in the Lebanese mountains and flows towards the Mediterranean. Then, it is the name of the valley which the river chose for its path. Wadi Qadisha is tucked away underneath the city of Bcharré and the surrounding villages, creating a unique environment for wildlife and flora, but also for the people who long ago decided to remain on its slopes and devote their life to prayer. Qadisha is the valley of Maronite Christian (for most part) monasteries and convents, and its soaked with prayer.

There are many paths that can be taken to explore the Qadisha valley, and I know well only one of them. So our trail goes like this: We start at Bcharré where we descend to the valley, go past the Mar Elisha monastery towards the bottom of the Qadisha valley, onward to Qannoubin monastery, and then to the hermitage of Hawqá. After Hawqá, we ascent one more and find ourselves at the Hawqá village, from where we take the vehicle on. It takes most of the day (about 8 hours) in a slow pace with the aim of enjoying the views and the monuments. The distance has been measured at 13 kilometers with about 250 meters of altitude changes (final ascent). Click on the pictures to see description.

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