Walk from Mar Lishaa Monastery to Qannoubine Monastery

Since the early centuries of christianity the Holy Valley has served as a refuge for those in search of solitude. Today we started our day with a visit to Mar Lishaa monastery which is one of the most important monasteries in the Holy Valley. Mar Lishaa was first mentioned in the 14th century. It consist of 4 small cells, a refractory and some offices, the communal church includes 4 chapels which are cut into the rock face.

After our visit to Mar Lishaa Monastery we then headed off on our 5.3km walk to reach Qannoubine Monastery. Along the way we witnessed many waterfalls, the birds were singing and the sound of water flowing in the bottom of the valley. Blissful!

After walking for over an hour we then reached the Qannoubine Monastery which is one of the oldest Maronite monasteries located in the Holy Valley.

After Qannoubine you have the option of walking to Our lady of Hawqa Monastery which is 2km on from the Qannoubine Monastery or you can turn around and head back to where you started.

The total walk is 10.6km and it took us around 2.5hours in total to walk to and from.

If you would like any further information on visiting the monasteries please email nicola@explorelebanontours.com or you can visit www.explorelebanontours.com

Baatara Gorge

Discovered to the western world in 1952 by French bio-speleologist Henri Coiffait, The Baatara gorge sinkhole is a waterfall in the Tannourine, North Lebanon. The waterfall drops 255 metres into the Baatara Pothole, a cave of Jurassic limestone.

The best time to visit is from November through to April. This is when you will witness the waterfall. Outside of these months the chances of seeing the waterfall is slim.

If you would like to visit Baatara Gorge, please email nicola@explorelebanontours.com or you can visit www.explorelebanontours.com

Afqa Waterfall

Afqa Waterfall is located in the Jbeil District of the Mount Lebanon, 71 kilometres northeast of Beirut.

Afqa waterfall is one of the finest waterfalls in the mountains of the Middle East, which feeds into the Adonis River (known today as Abraham River or Nahr Ibrahim in Arabic).

The best time to visit the water fall is late winter and early spring.

If you would like to visit Afqa waterfall as part of your tour please email nicola@explorelebanontours or visit www.explorelebanontours.com

Sister Olive Trees of Noah

The Sisters or The Sisters Olive Trees of Noah are a grove of sixteen olive trees in the Lebanese town of Bcheale.

According to the local’s, the trees are at least 5,000 years old, perhaps 6,000 years old or older.

The Sisters as the source of the olive branch returned to Noah's Ark at the waning of the Biblical Flood. The trees still produce olives, and a preservation effort was undertaken by the non-profit organization Sisters Olive Oil, which marketed oil from these olives.

If you would like any further information or would like to visit the Sister trees please email nicola@explorelebanontours.com

Saint Nimatullah of Hardine

Saint Nimatullah was born Youssed Kassab in 1808 and died in 1858. Kassab was a Lebanese Monk, Priest and Scholar of the Maronite church.

After his studies he entered the Monastery of St Anthony, where they gave him the name Nimatullah which means “The Grace of God” .

As a monk, Kassab spent his entire life in prayer and the service of his order. Kassab is believed to have performed many miracles during his life due to his deep spirituality and his high virtues. He is commended for having a radiant soul and is was said that he was deeply united to his creator “The Saint of Kfifan” was stated to have the gift of prophesy and hence became know as “a man of vision”

In 1864 his tomb was opened for re-burial and to the surprise of the monks, his body was found to be intact. His body was exposed to the veneration of the public until 1927.

Kassab was canonized on the 16th May 2004 By Pope John Paul II.

If you would like further information or would like to Visit Saint Nimatullah please email nicola@explorelebanontours.com OR visit www.explorelebanontours.com

Anjar, Lebanon

Anjar is a town of Lebanon located in the Bekaa Valley. The population is 2,400, consisting almost entirely of Armenians.

The ruins reveal a very regular layout, reminiscent of the palace-cities of ancient times, and are a unique testimony to city planning under the Umayyads. The site of this ancient city was only discovered by archaeologists at the end of the 1940s. The ruins are dominated by spectacular vestiges of a monumental tetrapyle, as well as by the walls and colonnades of the Umayyad palace, three levels of which have been preserved. These structures incorporate decorative or architectonical elements of the Roman era, but are also noteworthy for the exceptional plasticity of the contemporary decor within the construction.

If you would like further information or would like to Visit Anjar please email nicola@explorelebanontours.com OR visit www.explorelebanontours.com

Jisr El Hajar (Natural Bridge), Kfardebian

The Natural bridge is one of the greatest in the world with a span of 50m, which over hangs a basin full of stone that have crashed down from the sides.

You can combine seeing the natural bridge with the Ruins in Faqra.

If you would like further information on the natural bridge, email nicola@explorelebanontours.com OR you can visit www.explorelebanontours.com

Nicola Sorensen
Faqra Ruins, Kfardebian

Faqra is an archaeological site in Kfardebian, with Roman and Byzantine ruins with an altitude of 1500m. It is one of the most important sites of the UNESCO listed Nahr Al-Kalb Valley.

The Ruins include a temple to Zaus Beelgalasos a sanctuary of Atargastis dedicated to Agrippa ll and his sister Berenice, two altars and a tower with a 16m square base built in 44 A.D.

If you would like further information on the Ruins in Faqra, you can email nicola@explorelebanontours.com OR visit www.explorelebanontours.com

Tannourine Cedar Forest

The Tannourine Cedars Forest Nature Reserve protects one of the largest and densest cedar forests in Lebanon. Eighty percent of the trees in the forest are cedars.

There are some of 60,000 trees in Tannourine, making it the largest cedar reserve in Lebanon.

If you would like further details on the Cedar Forest in Tannourine or would like to hike the Reserve email nicola@explorelebanontours.com or Visit www.explorelebanontours.com

Baalbek, Lebanon

The Temple of Bacchus at Baalbek, a World Heritage site, is one of the best preserved and grandest Roman temple ruins in the world. It and its ornamentation served as an influential model for Neoclassical architecture.

The temple was commissioned by Roman Emperor Antoninus Pius and designed by an unknown architect and built close to the courtyard in front of the larger temple of the syncretic figure of Jupiter-Baal. The period of construction is generally considered between 150 AD to 250 AD

In 1984, several ruins of Baalbek, including the Temple of Bacchus, were inscribed as a World Heritage Site.

If you would like to know further information on Baalbek, Please email nicola@explorelebanontours.com