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Rashaya's Castle

In 1943, several prominent nationalist politicians were imprisoned in Rashaya's Castle by the French Mandate administration. Finally yielding to mounting internal and international pressure, France released the prisoners on November 22, 1943; since then, this day has been celebrated as Independence Day.

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Qadisha Profile

Altitude: 1300m
Distance from Beirut: 110km

Getting There

From Beirut, go north toward Nahr El Kalb tunnel, and take the highway to Chekka, south of Tripoli, and then turn up towards Amioun. From there the road passes along the side of the Kadisha Gorge through Kousba, Tourza, Hadeth El Jebbeh, Qadisha.

Qadisha Valley

General Information

Qadisha, one of the deepest and most beautiful valleys in Lebanon, is indeed a world a part. At the bottom of this wild steep-sided gorge runs the Qadisha River whose source is in the Qadisha Grotto at the foot of the Cedars. And above the famous Cedar grove stands Qornet el Sawda, Lebanon's highest peak.

The word Qadisha comes from a Semitic root meaning "holy" and Wadi Qadisha is the "Holy Valley." Filled with caves and rock shelters inhabited from the third millennium B.C. to the Roman period, the valley is scattered with cave chapels, hermitages and monasteries cut from rock. Since the Early Middle Ages generations of monks , hermits, ascetics and anchorites found asylum here. Even Moslem Soufis were found in this valley.

At the town of Tourza the valley divides into two branches, each named for a monastery there: Wadi Qannoubin leading to the Cedars. A path goes along the bottom of the valley through an area called "Bain an-Nahrain" (Between the Two Rivers) where Wadi Qannoubin meets Wadi Qadisha. From here trails lead to the various sites.

 

Qadisha Monastery  

The Qadisha Valley area is surrounded by many important sites and villages like:

Bqaa Kafra highest village of Lebanon (1750 m), Qornet Es Sawda; the highest peak in Lebanon (3088 m), Hasroun; one of the last villages in Lebanon to preserve its traditional red-roofed houses; Qadisha grotto located between Bsharreh and the Cedars;

Deir Mar Elishaa (Monastery of St. Elieus); Deir Qannoubin built into the rock, Deir Mar Antonios Qozhaya (Monastery of St. Anthony Qozhaya), Our Lady of Hawqa's chapel, etc... and the nice village of Ehden.

 

Magharet Qadisha was discovered by the priest John Jacob, a monk of Monastry of St. Joseph, in 1923. He was looking for the sources of Qadisha river. He followed the river up to the spring and entered the cave, but he soon ended his first cave exploration because of the low temperature in the cave. He repeated his exploration tour soon after with warmer clothes and discovered the cave.

But although he told about his discovery and the inhabitants of Bsharre knew about the cave, it took until after his death to make another exploration. Later the cave was well developed and has now easy paths and electric light.

The cave is the spring of Qadisha river, which means it is a river cave.

Qadisha cave is beautiful, but small. Unlike Jeita it is rarely mentioned in guidebooks and so there are very little visitors. But it is not the only cave in Ouadi Qadisha, there are numerous caves which were used over centuries for cave churches and monasteries. The cave churches of Mar Sarkis, Mar Bohana and Mart Shmouna show 13th century paintings. The whole valley with its cave churches is inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage List.


 


 

 

   

 

                              

 

 

 

Information From the Ministry of Tourism

Lebanese Ministry of Tourism

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