This remote village on the northeast border of Lebanon houses a Roman temple (Qalaat Bargis) and a Byzantine church dedicated to Mar Shamshoum Al Jabbar, in addition to other ruins including water cisterns and tombs.
Ancient Tell of Aarqa
One of the most important archaeological sites in the Akkar region. Many important structures were discovered here, mainly mud brick houses from the Bronze Age (3rd millenium BC). Much evidence has also revealed the significance of Arqa in the Roman period (64 BC-330 AD). Because of its strategic location, the Crusaders built a fortress here.
Castle of Akkar
Requiring a small hike to reach the castle, this highly esteemed fortress takes its name from Muhriz ibn Akkar, who scholars believe had the fortress constructed. The castle remained in the possession of the Akkar family until 1019 when it was taken by the Fatimid caliphs of Egypt and then the Seljuk Turks. The castle later passed through the hands of the Frankish Crusaders who took Tripoli in 1109 and then the Mamluks following a siege in 1271. The castle met its end in 1627 when Fakhreddine destroyed it, supposedly in a revenge attack on an Ottoman ruler.
Church of St. Shallita
A medieval church built on the ruins of a Roman temple. Some carved stone, and the wall that surrounded the temple can still be seen.
The Village of Menjez is located in the far North, Akkar region, of Lebanon, close to the border with Syria. It is home to several interesting historical and religious sites, including Beit Jaalouk (or "Maqam ar-Rabb," an ancient temple dating from the first century AD), crusader castle ruins ("Qalaat Felis"), and the Maronite Monastery of our Lady of the Fort ("Deir Saydet El Qalaa"). In the valley below the village and Beit Jaalouk are the remains of an ancient Roman canal, with supporting walls 5 meters high. It is interesting to hike along this waterway, both to the east and west of the temple.
Monastery of Our Lady of the Fort: Deir Saydet el Qalaa
The black stones of the monastery and its location facing Syria over the valley of the An Nahr El Kabir El Janoubi River make it a very special monument. The remains of a Crusader fortress can be seen here. The church was built in 1890 in the Roman Catholic style and is a Maronite monastery today.
Situated at an altitude ranging from 1,500m to 1,900m, this picturesque region is known for the characteristically Alpine fir forest that used to thrive here, as well as its beautiful streams and rugged mountains. Today, the fir tree plantation of Qammouaa serves as a protected reserve by ministerial decree. It is an excellent area for hiking, picnicking, and photography. The mountains as especially beautiful when covered with snow in winter. There are several ruins sites scattered throughout the region.
Wadi Jhannam: Jhannam Valley
This valley in the north is one of the most beautiful in Lebanon. Here, one finds impressive rocky cliffs, rivers, pristine scenery, and many footpaths leading to the top. The elevation climbs from 650m to 2,000m. Visitors should use the services of a local guide.
Arz Ar Rab Nature Reserve: Cedars of the Lord
The "Cedars of the Lord" reserve constitutes what remains of Lebanons once vast cedar forest mentioned in the Old Testament. Over the centuries, many of the trees were cut down for timber used by the Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Phoenicians and Egyptians. Today, there are approximately 300 cedars in the reserve, a handful of which are many thousands of years old. The area is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
At an elevation of 1,400m, the pristine village of Bcharre commands a prime spot overlooking the Qadisha Valley, just below the Cedars. The red-roofed village is famous for being the hometown of Gibran Khalil Gibran, the Lebanese essayist, poet and painter.
Church of St. Assia: Deir Mar Assia
Any travelers in the 17th and 18th century mentioned this hermitage. Its importance lies in the Ethiopian inscription and paintings discovered on the old church plaster proving the presence of Ethiopian monks in the Qadisha Valley in the 14th century. The hermitage is only accessible on foot (3 hour walk).
A club dedicated to promoting ecological awareness and providing educational ecotourism activities for people of all ages. Packages are available for schools and for families. Organized activities include hiking and trekking, cross-country skiing, agroactivities, planting cedars trees, and cultural activities. Accommodation ranges from camping in tents to rooms in the ecolodge with shared bathrooms. A restaurant is located on the premises.
Born in Bcharre in 1883, Gibran is a famous Lebanese philosophical essayist, novelist, mystic poet and artist. His best known work is The Prophet, a book of 26 poetic essays, which has been translated into 20 languages. Gibran lived most of his life in Boston and New York, but intended to retire to Bcharre and specified in his will that he wanted to be buried there when he died in 1931. The museum was formerly a hermitage and monastery purchased by Gibran. He is entombed there, and the museum houses many of his paintings and drawings and personal effects.
Grotto of Aassi El Hadath
Mentioned in many chronicles, this fortified cave witnessed some important military events in 1283. You can reach the cave on foot and by climbing rocks to reach the entrance, which is about 40m above the ground. In 1989, a group of speleologists made a spectacular discovery here, naturally mummified bodies buried with their belongings (clothes, manuscripts, pottery wares, arrows, etc.).
Grotto of Ed Dolmas
Built inside a cave overlooking the old caravan roads that used to link Tripoli to Baalbeck, this fortified citadel dates from the 13th century.
Grotto of Qadisha
The grotto is the source of the Qadisha River. Discovered in 1903, thus far 778m of the cave has been explored. Part of the cave is open to visitors, but you should probably go with an experienced guide. See Tour Operators section of the website.
A lovely village with red-roofed houses and lots of traditions, the village highlights include the old part of the village, the low door entrances meant to prevent invaders from entering on horseback, the 13th century Church of St. Jude (Mar Laba), the 16th century Church of Our Lady, the statue of the historian, Al Semaany, the pathway to the Qadisha Valley, and the troglodyte monastery of St Jacob (Aassi St Jacob). The local farmers welcome school groups for educational agro-tourism purposes.
Monastery of Qannoubin: Deir Qannoubin
The fortress palace and monastery of the Maronite patriarchs from the 15th to 19th century, following the transfer of the patriarchal seat from Byblos. The monastery is built into a cave and is very well preserved, decorated with 18th century frescoes. Recent excavation has revealed a naturally mummified body thought to be the body of Patriarch Yousef Tyan. The present-day convent is reached only on foot (1 hour from the nearest village, Blaouza).
Monastery of St. Eliseus: Deir Mar Elisha
Built into the side of a cliff, this beautiful monastery is best known for being the site where the monastic order of the Lebanese Maronites was founded in 1695. Pilgrims and travelers in the 17th and the 18th century knew it also. It can be reached by car from Bsharreh (20 min drive).
Monastery of St. Simon: Deir Mar Semaan
A good example of a rock-cut hermitage, the site was founded in 1112 by the daughter of a Bcharre-born priest. Visitors must squeeze through narrow doorways in the caves to explore its four rooms.
Monastery of the Cross: Deir Es Salib
Built inside a cave, this site is famous for its mud brick architecture and for its frescoes dating from the 13th century. The paintings portray the apostles, church fathers and angels, as well as the annunciation and crucifixion. The monastery is only accessible on foot (30 min walk).
Qadisha Valley: Wadi Qadisha
In the heart of northern Lebanon, below red-roofed villages which dot the mountainside, lies the Qadisha Valley, or “Holy Valley.” Classified as a World Heritage site, the valley offers a glimpse of unspoiled natural beauty and steep mountainous rock which houses some of the most important Christian monastic settlements in the world. Hiking and trekking the 650m to 1,550m terrain, as well as exploration the rock-cut sanctuaries and monasteries carved into the mountainside are at their apex here. Many footpaths lead visitors from the villages surrounding the Qadisha (e.g., Bcharre, Blaouza, Hasroun, Hadchit) to the valley bottom. At the town of Tourza the valley divides into two branches, each named after a monastery: Wadi Qozhaya leads to Ehden and Wadi Qannoubin leading to the Cedars. If you feel too tired to hike back to one of the villages in the evening, ecotour operators know local guesthouses in the valley where you can spend the night.
Qornet es-Sawda: Mount Makmel
Located at an altitude of 3,088m, about 6km from the Cedars, this is the highest peak in Lebanon. Hiking to the top and back is an all-day affair, but not too difficult. However, in winter the snow can be deep. Upon reaching the top, one gets a great view that extends to the sea on a clear day.
Saydet Ed Dorr
A small painted chapel built inside a cave. It is famous for housing a unique fresco representing the Baptism of Christ. Can be reached on foot (15 min walk).
Built inside a cliff overlooking the lower part of the Qadisha, this fortification was used in the 13th century by villages to escape from the Mameluks. Some vestiges relatively preserved can be seen at the site (water cistern, wall foundations, and old plaster). An Arabic Christian inscription was discovered there by a group of scientific speleologist along with mural paintings (GERSL) dating to 1193. Not far from this site you can reach the monastery of Saydet Haoqa built in 1283. Both site can be only reached on foot (1 hour walk).
The Cedars Ski Resort
Arguably Lebanon’s most scenic resort and one that tops out at an altitude of 3,000m, the Cedars is located in the north near the village of Bcharre. Although it has fewer slopes than Faraya Mzaar, both the runs and the length of the season are longer. Naturally, any trip to the cedars must combine a visit to the iconic stand of cedar trees on the slopes of Jebel Makmel, as well as to the strikingly beautiful Qadisha Valley far below.
|Castle of Mseilha|
An impressive 250m sinkhole with a naturally occurring three-level rock bridge spanning the gorge. The entrance is located at the foot of Mount Jaj (east face).
A coastal town and fishing village with ancient remains from the Hellenistic and Roman eras (e.g., a rock-cut theatre and quarry), when it was known as "Botrys." One can also see medieval churches, a crusader castle, and souks.
Castle of Mseilha
A small citadel built upon a massive rock, it overlooks the old caravan road linking Batroun to Triopoli. Its exact origins are unknown, but ideas range from a Crusader castle later used and reinforced by the Arabs to a fortress constructed by a local governor to protect the caravan route. It is believed to date from the 15th or 16th century.
Cathedral of St. Stephan (Maronite)
The 100 year-old Maronite cathedral was built in 1900 to replace the smaller Crusader church. The columns inside the church were formerly part of the Roman temple of Deir el-Qalaa. Big festivities are held annually on the 2nd of August.
Church of St. Nohra: Mar Nohra
The village of Smar Jbeil contains the remains of a Crusader castle and the Church of St Nohra. The old part of the church incorporates a medieval window and temple columns. St. Nohra, a Persian Christian missionary, whose name translates as “daylight,” is buried in the church. Pilgrims come to venerate him and pray for the recovery of their eyes.
Nestled in the Mount Lebanon range, Douma is spotted by the scorpion-like configuration of its red-roofed houses. Village highlights include the traditional red roof houses, wonderful scenery of the Kfar Hilda Valley, 4th century engraved sarcophagus, old churches, troglodyte monastery, Orthodox monastery of St. John, and ancient oil presses.
Home to one of the most impressive waterfalls in Lebanon. The waterfall is best visited in the spring when the snow is melting. Can be reached on foot (20 min walk). The remnants of several churches and monastaries are also located here, such as Mar Butros.
LMTA: Lebanon Mountain Trail Association
The LMT is the first long-distance hiking trail in Lebanon. It extends from Al- Qbaiyat in the north of Lebanon to Marjaayoun in the south, a 440-km (275 miles) path that transects more than 75 towns and villages at altitude ranging from 600 meters to 2,000 meters (about 1,800-6,000 feet) above sea level. The LMT showcases the natural beauty and cultural wealth of Lebanon's mountains and demonstrates the determination of the people of Lebanon to conserve this unique heritage. The trail brings communities closer together and expands economic opportunities in rural areas through environmentally- and socially-responsible tourism.
Monastery of Our Lady of The Light: Deir Saydet en-Nouryé
Set upon a high promontory, Ras esh Chaqaa, the Orthodox monastery of Our Lady of the Light has a breathtaking view of north Lebanon. A popular place for pilgrimages, the monastery dates back to the 17th century. Behind the monastery, a footpath leads to a troglodyte chapel facing the sea. It is this cave and the legend surrounding it that gives rise to the name of the monastery. According to the legend, two fishermen were rescued by the Virgin Mary, when she guided them towards the light of this cave.
Monastery of St. Joseph (Tomb of St. Rafqa): Deir Mar Youssef Ad Daher
This Maronite monastery/convent was founded in 1897 as a “maison de repos” for elderly sisters and nuns. St. Rafqa was one of six nuns who marked the beginning of cloistered life in this convent. She endured great suffering during her life here, because of her many illnesses and pains. Remaining in the convent until her death in 1914, St. Rafqa is buried in the cemetery of the cloister. She was beatified in 1985. The convent is one of the most important Maronite pilgrimage sites in Lebanon.
Monastery of St. Naamtallah El Hardini (St. Cyprian)
The church and monastery of St. Cyprian in Kfifane became a place of pilgrimage after the beatification of St. Naamtallah El Hardini, who lived here in the 19th century. His tomb is visited by the pilgrims. The convent was a patriarchal chair in the early 18th century. A new shop for products produced by the monastery has been opened recently. It sells good local wine among other things.
Roman Temple of Mercury
Partially preserved, this temple is located on the peak of Qarn Hardine overlooking the cedars mountains and the coastal area of Tripoli.
Saydet El Bzaz
Fortification from the middle ages built inside a huge cliff overlooking the village of Maad (The church of Mar Charbel) and the village of Smar Jbeil (The crusader castle). It was explored by scientific cavers (GERSL) revealing the presence of old inscription. It is reached on foot (10 min walk)
A rock-cut tomb transformed into a chapel in the middle ages. The walls are plastered and painted: representing the Christ and a rare figure of the Virgin Mary breast-feeding the infant Jesus.
This village near Batroun is known for the ruins of a Crusader castle located upon a hill overlooking the coastal area and for the Church of St. Nohra. In the Middle Ages, Smar Jbail was part of the Crusader fief of Saint Montagne of the Lords of Batroun. However, the history of the village extends well before this period. As the construction of the base of the Crusader castle and the trenches chiseled in rock indicate, some of the original structures are likely to date back to the Greco-Roman and Phoenician periods. Some of the tomb stones in the ancient cemeteries of Smar Jbeil are also interesting for their Greek inscriptions.
Highlights: Traditional houses, old churches, troglodyte monasteries, big nature reserve: the Cedars of Tannourine, great valleys for hiking, many restaurants by the rivers, monastery of St Anthony, cross country skiing.
Tannourine Cedars Nature Reserve
The cedar forest of Tannourine was declared a national nature reserve in 1999. Covering 6,000 square km, the reserve is one of the largest cedar forests in Lebanon. The reserve harbors pure breed trees of the Cedrus libani species, as well as many other rare flora and fauna. Outdoor activities include hikes through the forest and treks to visit rock-cut monasteries, as well as cross-country skiing and snow shoeing in the winter.
|Las Salina beach resort|
Cathedral of St. George: El Dahleez
This is a distinctive cathedral built upon the ruins of a Phoenician pagan temple and Roman temple. Four columns remain from the Roman period, with the rest of the temple believed to be destroyed by a 4th century earthquake. The cathedral was rebuilt in the 15th century under the Crusaders.
Church of St. Catherine
This sandstone church was constructed in the 12th century by the Crusaders. Its façade is noteworthy for having the largest of the Crusader roses in Lebanon. Its location facing the see is very romantic. Today, it is a Greek Orthodox church.
Church of St. John
Built in the 13th century atop a 25m rocky wall, the church can be seen from the main road going from Amioun to Kousba. The rocky wall is riddled with a multitude of funerary caves dating from the Phoenician and Greco-Roman periods.
Church of St. Phocas
A 12th century medieval church decorated with frescoes depicting the apostles and saints.
Church of St. Simeon: Mar Semaan
The 17th century sandstone church of St. Simeon is located near the church of St. Catherine on the rocky seashore. It has two altars, one dedicated to St. Simeon the Stylite, and the other dedicated to St. Michael.
Koura is a region in northern Lebanon known for its green fields of olives. It includes more than 50 towns, most famous among them are Amioun, Kosba and Kfar Hazir. Koura’s landscape is renown for its views of the snow-topped mountains and the sea from the numerous old churches and monasteries perched on the hillsides. Visitors to Koura will enjoy the area’s restaurants and the traditional charm of its towns, as well as the opportunity for horseback riding. Well-known crafts from this area include homemade olive oil soap and preserves, such as jam, tomato paste, olive oil and pickles.
Enfe is a lovely seaside town south of Tripoli. Highlights include its traditional houses, several old churches, the monastery of Saydet an-Natour (12th c), Phoenician and Crusader castle ruins, salt pans, olive fields, the old harbour and ancient Paleolithic caves. Accommodation facilities include a local guesthouse.
A Greek Orthodox convent partially built into a cliff, it is named after the Virgin Mary (Saydet Bkeftine). It houses one of the oldest icons in Lebanon in addition to the remains of a Crusdader chapel.
Las Salinas is a beach resort located 65km north of Beirut on the Mediterranean Sea. Resort facilities include a manmade beach, beach volleyball, two Olympic-size pools, scuba diving club, health club, two kids pools and aqua slide.
Monastery of Balamand
The monastic order of the Cisterians first founded the monastery in 1157. In the 18th century, the monastery came under the authority of the Greek Orthodox Church. It is known for its library which houses many important manuscripts, as well as for its seminary and university. The two churches dedicated to St. George and Our Lady house authentic Byzantine icons.
Monastery of Our Lady of Hamatoura: Deir Saydet Hamatoura
Hamatoura means “the protector of the tower” or “the mountain” in Syriac. This monastery is a troglodyte monastery carved out of a mountain, located 200m off the ground. It is the only Orthodox monastery in the Qadisha Valley. One must walk about 45 minutes on a steep footpath to reach it. An accidental fire which took place in the 1990s revealed the remains of medieval paintings. The altar in use dates from early pagan times.
Monastery of Our Lady of the Guard: Deir Saydet an–Natour
This is a solitary monastery standing on the rocky beaches of Enfé, near the salt lakes. Built by the Crusaders in the 12th century, it is a Greek Orthodox monastery today. The church was damaged during the civil war, but it was repainted with pure Byzantine frescos in 2000.
Nizar (Haské, Pedalo)
Palace of Naos
Two roman temples built on a hill overlooking the plateau of Koura. A wall surrounded each temple.
Roman Temple of Bziza
A well preserved Roman temple transformed into a church during the Byzantine era.
Mosque and Shrine of Nabi Yosha
On the western base of Mount Terbol overlooking Menieh, is a 15m long and 1.5m high cave in which the shrine of Nabi Yosha is found. The shrine is visited by both Muslims and Christians. In 1763, the Ottoman governor Muhammed Basha El Kerji had a shrine constructed around the tomb of Nabi Yosha. A mosque was built above the cave during this same period.
|Al Muallaq Mosque|
Al Attar Mosque
The mosque is named after a prosperous perfume merchant, Badr al Din ibn al Attar, who donated money for the construction of the mosque in the mid-14th century. Located in the souk area of Tripoli, the Al Attar Mosque is one of the most important mosques in the city. Its sandstone minaret is a distinguished landmark of Mamluk Tripoli. Note: According to Islamic tradition, non-Muslims are typically not allowed to enter mosques or sacred sites. However, non-Muslim visitors may be able to visit the courtyard gardens and may find someone they can ask for permission to enter. Visitors should be appropriately attired and remove their shoes before entering. Entry is not permitted during prayer hours and not permitted any time during the month of Ramadan.
Al Bahr Mosque
According to legend, this sandstone mosque just south of Tripoli was built over 800 years ago during the reign of the Crusaders. Evidence in the form of three lines engraved on a stone painting in the mosque support this legend. The mosque was renovated in 1778 by Sheikh Ali Mouna Allah Al Baghdadi. Note: According to Islamic tradition, non-Muslims are typically not allowed to enter mosques or sacred sites. However, non-Muslim visitors may be able to visit the courtyard gardens and may find someone they can ask for permission to enter. Visitors should be appropriately attired and remove their shoes before entering. Entry is not permitted during prayer hours and not permitted at any time during the month of Ramadan.
Al Burtasiyat Madrassa-Mosque
This is one of the most beautiful mosques and Islamic schools, or madrassas, from Tripoli’s Mamluk period. Designed by an Andalusian architect, Prince Issa Bin Omar Al Bertasi Al Kerdi had the mosque and school constructed in the early 14th century. It is located in the Bab El Hadid area of Tripoli on the west bank of the river. The mosque is a 5 minute walk from the Citadel of Raymond de Saint-Gilles. Note: According to Islamic tradition, non-Muslims are typically not allowed to enter mosques or sacred sites. However, non-Muslim visitors may be able to visit the courtyard gardens and may find someone they can ask for permission to enter. Visitors should be appropriately attired and remove their shoes before entering. Entry is not permitted during prayer hours and not permitted at any time during the month of Ramadan.
Al Kabir Al Aali Mosque
Located in the center of the Al Mina part of Tripoli, the mosque was built above a number of small shops dating back to the Mamluk era. Al Kabir al Aali is a very small mosque and derives its name, Al Aali means "the tall," because you must climb stairs to reach it. It was renovated in the 18th century by Abi Bakr Bin Mohamed Agha. Note: According to Islamic tradition, non-Muslims are typically not allowed to enter mosques or sacred sites. However, non-Muslim visitors may be able to visit the courtyard gardens and may find someone they can ask for permission to enter. Visitors should be appropriately attired and remove their shoes before entering. Entry is not permitted during prayer hours and not permitted at any time during the month of Ramadan.
Al Muallaq Mosque
The Al Muallaq Mosque is translated as “the Hanging Mosque,” named so because of its location on the second floor. It was established in the 16th century by the Ottoman governor of Tripoli, Mahmud ibn Lufti, during the reign of Suleiman the Magnificent. Note: According to Islamic tradition, non-Muslims are typically not allowed to enter mosques or sacred sites. However, non-Muslim visitors may be able to visit the courtyard gardens and may find someone they can ask for permission to enter. Visitors should be appropriately attired and remove their shoes before entering. Entry is not permitted during prayer hours and not permitted at any time during the month of Ramadan.
This town, the first south of Tripoli, became a center for copper and brass production after artisans from Tripoli’s Souk an-Nahhassin moved here several decades ago. Small workshops showcase brass bowls, candlesticks and other objects hammered out in the old tradition. The town is also known for its olive oil products, fruit syrups and juices.
Citadel of Raymond de Saint Gilles
A massive and impressive fortress, 140m long and 70m wide, which began as a much smaller fort and encampment used by Raymond and the Crusaders to lay siege to Tripoli beginning in 1101. Following the reconquest of Tripoli by the Mamluks in 1289, the fortress was destroyed. In 1308, Esendemir al-Kurji, then governor of Tripoli, constructed a citadel to house troops on this site. Under Ottoman rule, significant restoration work and additions were made to the citadel. The present state of the citadel is largely the result of work undertaken by Mustafa Barbar Agha, governor of Tripoli at the beginning of the 19th century.
Great Mosque: Al Mansouri Mosque (Tripoli)
Built between 1294 and 1315, the mosque is named after Al Mansouri Qala’un who liberated Tripoli from the Crusaders in 1289. This was the first monument built in the new Mamluk Tripoli. The mosque was erected on the site of a former Crusader church, St. Mary’s of the Tower. The church’s Lombard-style tower was incorporated into the minaret of the mosque as were other Romanesque elements of the church. Outside of these elements, it is a traditional Mamluk-style mosque. Note: According to Islamic tradition, non-Muslims are typically not allowed to enter mosques or sacred sites. However, non-Muslim visitors may be able to visit the courtyard gardens and may find someone they can ask for permission to enter. Visitors should be appropriately attired and remove their shoes before entering. Entry is not permitted during prayer hours and not permitted at any time during the month of Ramadan.
Grotto of St. Marina
A small rock-cut chapel decorated with frescoes from the 13th century. The chapel is dedicated to Saint Marina, who, according to the legend, disguised herself as a man to become a monk in the Qannoubine Monastery in the Qadisha Valley.
Mosque of Al Sanjaq
Located in the Bab Al Tabbaneh district of Tripoli, the mosque was built by Sanjaq Mahmoud Beik, an Ottoman ruler, in 1619. Its minaret is characteristic of the Ottoman-styled minarets found in Istanbul. Note: According to Islamic tradition, non-Muslims are typically not allowed to enter mosques or sacred sites. However, non-Muslim visitors may be able to visit the courtyard gardens and may find someone they can ask for permission to enter. Visitors should be appropriately attired and remove their shoes before entering. Entry is not permitted during prayer hours and not permitted at any time during the month of Ramadan.
Mosque of Sayedi Abel El Wahid
The smallest of the Mamluk mosques in Tripoli, this mosque is located east of the Al Aatarien Souk (market). Characterized by its short minaret, it was built by Abed El Wahid El Maknasi in 1305. The shrine of Abed El Salam El Meshishi is located to the right of the mosque. Note: According to Islamic tradition, non-Muslims are typically not allowed to enter mosques or sacred sites. However, non-Muslim visitors may be able to visit the courtyard gardens and may find someone they can ask for permission to enter. Visitors should be appropriately attired and remove their shoes before entering. Entry is not permitted during prayer hours and not permitted at any time during the month of Ramadan.
Palm Islands Nature Reserve
Located about a 30 minute boat ride off the coast of Tripoli, the Palm Islands Reserve is composed of three small islands. Established as a national nature reserve in 1992, the site is recognized as an Important Bird Area by Birdlife International. It is also an important egg-laying site for endangered sea turtles.
This is the second most important mosque in Tripoli after the Great Mosque. It was constructed in 1336 under the patronage of Amir Taynal, the governor of Mamluk Tripoli. This beautiful example of Islamic religious architecture is noteworthy for its large size, lavish decoration and architectural peculiarities (elements of a Crusader church incorporated into the mosque architecture). Note: According to Islamic tradition, non-Muslims are typically not allowed to enter mosques or sacred sites. However, non-Muslim visitors may be able to visit the courtyard gardens and may find someone they can ask for permission to enter. Visitors should be appropriately attired and remove their shoes before entering. Entry is not permitted during prayer hours and not permitted at any time during the month of Ramadan.
Tripoli: Old City
Originally established as a Phoenician city, Tripoli has played a major role in the history of the country over the centuries. This historical richness is reflected in the many secular and religious buildings located in the “old city” of Tripoli that date back to the medieval ages. They include old souqs (markets) and khans (caravanserai), hammams (Turkish baths), citadels, great Mamluk mosques and madrassas. A vibrant area of the city, visitors will find an agglomeration of jewelers, perfumers, tanners, soap-makers and tailors within the narrow streets. The city is known for its production of copper and brass trays, engraved wooden boxes and furniture.
Church of St. Mamas: Mar Mema
One of the oldest churches in Lebanon, it is built on the site of an ancient Greek temple. Some stones of the temple have been used in the construction of the church, built in 794. Many Greek and Syriac inscriptions can be found on the walls some dating back to the 5th century. The altar is the old pagan altar used for sacrifices. This church is considered the first Maronite church built with stones in Lebanon.
Convent of St. Simeon of the Peak: Deir Mar Semaan El Qarn
Believed to have been inhabited since the 16th century, this convent was acquired by the Lebanese Maronite order in the 19th century. It recently became famous, following the beatification of St. Rafqa in 1985. She lived within the community from 1871 to 1897.
Horsh Ehden Nature Reserve
The rich biodiversity of this protected forest makes the reserve a unique place to visit. Extending over 4 valleys, the forest harbors many endangered mammals and birds, and most of the tree species found in Lebanon. A mixed forest, the reserve includes conifers, such as cedars, as well as wild pear and wild apple. New, well-planned footpaths of different levels are great for hiking. Ideal place for bird watching, hiking and snowshoeing.
Monastery of St. Anthony Qozhaya: Deir Mar Antonios Qozhaya
According to historical documents this rock-cut monastery in the Qadisha Valley has been in continuous use since the Middle Ages. It is also famous for housing the first printing press in the Middle East, put into use in the year 1585. The hermitage is the largest in the valley and has a museum.
Our Lady of the Citadel: Saydet El Hosn
A modern church built in the shape of a star located on a summit with panoramic view of the Koura and Tripoli regions. The church is built upon the ruins of an old Roman guard tower.
A rock-cut monastery built in 1283, which according to manuscripts was established by a traitor to repent his actions after a military event that took place between the Mameluks and some rebels from the mountains.
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