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    Saturday, April 4, 2020

    5 Places to Visit in Lebanon 2020

    Foreword

    As I own this Architectural Blog, I always have my readers asking me why don’t write something classic and popular like listing some interesting places to visit, as other bloggers do?

    In fact, and especially that discussing these kinds of topics matches perfectly my blog’s niche, so no excuses for me to present at all and here we go now!
    On the other hand, maybe this is not the ideal timing for publishing this kind of post, am I right? But unfortunately, and the truth been told, it is the reality somehow, and life should continue somewhere.
    However, as we can always say, it can be saved for later use and hopefully…

    Anyway, my places-to-visit list is composed of five beautiful places, located all in Lebanon.
    I cannot pretend to be a top 5 or the-best-of, but at least in my opinion, it is recommended to visit at any time of the year, as we are close to the summer season.
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    5 Places to Visit in 2020- Photo arranged by101architechprojectsandblogs.com Archive

    So and without waiting, let us start with our list by checking what it includes, and hopefully you will admire it!

    Please review those 2 notes before proceeding with your reading:
    Note #1: As I said before, the sorting of the list is randomly arranged and without reason at all.
    Note #2: Because of the distance between each location and the other, every place mentioned below is scheduled to be visited only in one single day or less.

    5 Places to Visit in Lebanon 2020

    Religious sites are nowadays the most visited places in the world, and there is no exception for Lebanon as well.

    Lebanon as a small country on the Mediterranean sea has a big reputation for being the home-land of many decent saints such as Saint Charbel Makhlouf, Saint Rafqa, and others...

    Since the old times, the normal place for the monks to be was being alone isolated with God's spirit inside small cabins or huts over the hills of our beloved nation.
    And the ideal zone or area to have this mission achieved is the valley of Qadisha in the Nothern of Lebanon District, also known as the Holly-Valley, which is from where we will start.
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    Magnificent views from a walk in the Holly-Valley, the home-land of Saints

    However, the places that we are planning to highlight today, are two actually, even if both of them are within the same sector called Qannoubine Valley.

    So, and after this geographical intro if we can say, here are the destinations in a glance:

    1- The Monastery of Qozhaya the Saint | دير مار انطونيوس قزحيا

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    Before entering the Monastery, an amazing church graved in the rocks with wonderful bell towers welcoming you, located over an entrance porch noticeably beautiful with its four columns and doubled recessed arch.
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    The monastery entrance, with the church, in the photo below, graved in the rocks

    Do not miss the echo of the resonating and glorious sound of the multiple bells heard over the whole valley once it is knocked in the silence of the morning. A truly magical sound!

    Not to forget that it was the home of the first printing press in the Middle East and still reside there for those interested in reviving and discovering this important part of our History.

    The Monastery itself composed of several architectural elements such as windows arches and multi-slab stairs with circular shapes, mixed together in a wonderful relationship, is a piece of art.
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    The Entrance of the Monastery. (Notice the nicely curved shape stairs)

    The whole is integrated within a rocky mountain which makes a strong remembrance of how hard life was for those monks within a specific period of time where the persecution was at its peak.
    What we have to see:
    - The Grotto of Saint Anthony the Great
    - The Church
    - The Museum (which includes the first Printing press)
    - The Library
    - The Hermitage of Mar Boula

    2- The Patriarchs' Garden | حديقة البطاركة

    Located in the same Holly-Valley but in the Northern zone of it, in the area called Al-Diman, in the Besharreh district, which is the summer residency of the Maronite Patriarch, due to its moderate atmosphere during the hot season of the year.

    It was first inaugurated around the year 2003 by the Maronite Patriarch Mar-Nesrallah Boutros Sfeir, which includes a wide plot containing various sorts of wild trees, some of it very rare in its species.
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    The stone label indicating the name of the Patriarch

    What makes this evergreen garden special, is that there is a green cedar tree planted and labeled by the name of each Patriarch, that succeeded to this position since the date of its foundation.

    In that means, a number of seventy-seven cedar trees were planted inside the preserved area, where all sorts of animals and birds hunt are prohibited to keep the natural balance maintained.
    A breathtaking view overwhelming the Holly Valley

    The garden is well managed with landscaped paths and rocky stairs due to the difference in natural levels.

    In addition, the area benefits from a wonderful view around, overwhelming the rocky environment that surrounds the location that makes the whole scene a glory to God's creation.

    We can note also the various openings in the rocks that served before as bunkers for the monks to escape from the Ottoman authorities in the period of Christian persecution.


    Some of those bunkers are connected together with secret corridors and paths graved in the rocks.

    3- Our Lady of Fortress Basilica, Ehden | كنيسة سيدة الحصن

    The number three in our listing is the famous church of Ehden: Our Lady of Fortress.
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    It is located over the highest hills overwhelming all the town of Ehden and extends to Syria from some point of view.

    The Church with its pyramidal original shape shared the highest mountain summit of the town with an old existing chapel, made of natural stone.

    The new Church is a monumental construction and it is distinguished by the white statue of Saint Mary, which was made in Italy and positioned on a platform on the top of the Basilica.

    Its architectural concept makes it one of the most beautiful and original designs ever in religious buildings.

    Designed by the AAA Group (Atelier des Architectes Associés), its construction is not at all traditional but more than postmodernism: it consists of a large circular church surmounted by a pyramidal shape and finally crowned by a huge white statue of Virgin Mary with open arms (made in Italy as mentioned above). 

    The date of its inauguration was around the year 1989 (Not sure)

    4- Our Lady of Lebanon, Harissa | مزار سيدة لبنان في حريصا

    The next destination is the well-known Our Lady of Lebanon, which became a worldwide site since the visit of Pope John-Paul the Second in the year 1997 and was devoted as a forum for the union of religions.

    The statue of Sainte Mary overwhelming the Harissa mountain summit and benefits from the breathtaking view over the Jounieh Bay.

    The platform on which the sculpture stands, home the old chapel before inaugurating the new cathedral in the same area, next to the giant statue.
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    The prestigious Jounieh Bay at evening from Harissa

    The sanctuary can be reached via téléférique or cable car active all the day from the station in Jounieh to the summit of the Harissa mountain carrying the passengers.

    It is really a unique and passionate experience all the way up to the sanctuary through the evergreen wild pine trees that cover the holy mountain and watching the city from up.

    Sometimes the friction of the trees hits the bottom of the wagon making the adventure more exciting.

    You can benefit from a restaurant with the same view over the bay, the ideal place for the kids' enjoyment with a lot of playgrounds, outdoor games, and green areas.

    5- Hamra Street, Beirut

    As we reached the last destination on our listing, you might be surprised but it is really worth it!
    5 Places to Visit
    Hamra, the Main Street- Photo by tripadvisor.com
    If you are a city life lover like me, you will surely like this choice of mine: the Hamra District in Beirut to spend a really great time.
    Related- I recommend reading the article Hamra Str. on that early Monday Morning! where you can find more details concerning the place and where to find the right property to spend your journey there. Likewise, the article Beirut Has a New Skyline! might help you find a clearer idea for that matter. 
    Anyway, good luck with your choice!
    What we have to see:
    - Have some restaurants to try in your food seeker itinerary.
    - Do some shopping; you have a lot of options and choices between various famous international clothes' brands.
    - Have a night walk in the main street and don't miss to lead your steps as well to Bliss Street, next to the AUB. Another suburb to the Hamra District, not to miss its various restaurants and coffee shops always full of clients and students.
    - You can as well have a short tour of the famous Beirut cornice, which is not so far from the AUB facilities.
    Anyway, you will never get enough from this part of the city where you can always find something for entertainment.

    At the end of this review, I hope that you did enjoy the selected package and that I've been useful in your choices.

    Waiting for your suggestions and comments.

    References:

    - Wikipedia, The Internet Encyclopedia
    - Photos: from 101architechprojectsandblogs.com archive, ©Copyrights reserved.




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