From the Blog “ notes of a traveler” www.notesofatraveler.com
By : Krystel Riachi Beirut-based travel blogger
Wadi Qadisha was another weekend escape in the beautiful Lebanese mountains that made me realize the historical wealth and universal value of our country. One of the deepest and most stunning valleys in Lebanon, Qadisha lies between the Bsharreh and Zgharta districts in North Lebanon, West of the Forest of the Cedars of God (Horsh Arz el Rab) and traversed by the Qadisha River or Holy River.
Why is Qadisha Valley named the Holy Valley?
“Qadisha” comes from a Semitic root meaning “holy” and was attributed to the valley for bearing unique witness to the first Christian monasteries in the world. Filled with cave chapels, hermitages and monasteries cut from the rock, the Valley has offered shelter for generations of monks and monastic communities since Early Middle ages and the beginnings of Christianity. Classified as a Unesco World Heritage site, Qadisha counts over 100 caves, many monasteries, and is home to the Maronite Order of Lebanese Monks founded in 1695.
What are the main landmarks to visit in Qadisha?
I personally hired a guide to show me the best of Qadisha and Annoubine, and here’s my advice to you:
1- Start with Deir Lichaa دير مار ليشع
Take the car and head down to this monastery in the Valley dedicated to Father Antonio Tarabay. Here, the Abouna spent 32 years of his hermitic life and his body was buried in a grotto adjacent to the monastery. Take your time to soak in the beauty of the monastery with its naturally carved rock ceiling, its small chapel, and the amazing view it has over the valley.