Facts and Data
Unesco World heritage since: 1998
Size of heritage:
The Qadisha valley is one of the most important early Christian monastic settlements in the world. Its monasteries, many of which are of a great age, stand in dramatic positions in a rugged landscape. Nearby are the remains of the great forest of cedars of Lebanon, highly prized in antiquity for the construction of great religious buildings.
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Ouadi Qadisha (the Holy Valley) and the Forest of the Cedars of God (Horsh Arz el-Rab)
Ouadi Qadisha, also known as the Holy Valley, and the Forest of the Cedars of God, Horsh Arz el-Rab, is a UNESCO World Heritage site located in the Qadisha Valley, Becharre District, in the Governorate of North Lebanon. This site holds immense historical, cultural, and natural significance, making it a must-visit destination for travelers and a source of pride for the Lebanese people.
The history of Ouadi Qadisha and the Forest of the Cedars of God dates back thousands of years. The Qadisha Valley has been inhabited since the Paleolithic era, and it has served as a refuge for Christian monastic communities since the early centuries of Christianity. The valley is home to numerous monasteries, hermitages, and churches, some of which are still active today.
During the medieval period, the Qadisha Valley became a center for Maronite Christian monasticism. The Maronite Church, an Eastern Catholic Church, traces its origins to this region. The monastic communities in the valley played a crucial role in preserving the Maronite identity and faith during times of persecution.
The Forest of the Cedars of God, located within the Qadisha Valley, is a symbol of Lebanon's rich natural heritage. The cedar tree, known as the Cedrus libani, has been revered since ancient times for its beauty, strength, and longevity. These majestic trees once covered vast areas of the Eastern Mediterranean, but deforestation and human activities have significantly reduced their numbers.
Ouadi Qadisha and the Forest of the Cedars of God are carefully preserved and protected by the Lebanese government and UNESCO. The site is managed by the Directorate General of Antiquities, which ensures the conservation of the monastic structures, churches, and natural environment.
Visitors to Ouadi Qadisha can explore the numerous monasteries and hermitages that dot the valley. The monasteries of Qozhaya, Mar Lishaa, and Mar Elisha are particularly notable for their historical and architectural significance. These monastic complexes offer a glimpse into the lives of the monks who sought solitude and spiritual enlightenment in this sacred valley.
The Forest of the Cedars of God is a protected area within the Qadisha Valley. Visitors can marvel at the ancient cedar trees, some of which are estimated to be over 1,000 years old. The forest provides a serene and peaceful atmosphere, allowing visitors to connect with nature and appreciate the beauty of these magnificent trees.
Efforts are ongoing to promote sustainable tourism in the area while preserving its natural and cultural heritage. The Lebanese government, in collaboration with local communities and international organizations, is working to raise awareness about the importance of conservation and responsible tourism practices.
Ouadi Qadisha and the Forest of the Cedars of God are not only a testament to Lebanon's rich history and natural beauty but also a place of spiritual significance for many. This UNESCO World Heritage site continues to inspire awe and reverence, attracting visitors from around the world who seek to explore its historical and natural wonders.
Hotels and places to stay
Videos from the area
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Large airport - 43 mi (70 km) Damascus International Airport
Large airport - 63 mi (103 km) Kiryat Shmona Airport
Small airport - 75 mi (122 km) Bassel Al-Assad International Airport
Large airport - 80 mi (130 km) Ben Ya'akov Airport
Medium airport - 91 mi (148 km) Haifa International Airport
Medium airport - 115 mi (185 km) King Hussein Air College
Small airport - 131 mi (211 km) Hatay Airport
Medium airport - 147 mi (237 km)
Bigger and popular cities in the wider vicinity are these:
- Al Hamidiyah
- Al Hawash
- Al Karimah
- Al Qusayr
- An Nasirah
- As Safsafah
- As Sisniyah
- Az Zabadani
- El Hermel
- Jdaidet el Matn
- Khirbat al Ma`azzah
- Ra's al Khashufah
- Sir ed Danniye
- `Assal al Ward
These are some smaller cities that might be interesting. They are all rather close.
- Aayoun Orghoush
- Beit Choulit
- Bqaa Kafra
- Darjet el Qarn
- Ej Jisr
- El Aaiara
- El Arz
- El Balouaa
- El Barake
- El Faqrat
- El Ouadi
- Es Souaqi
- Haret Aarida
- Haret Chaaya
- Kfar Sghab
- Maqial el Qalaa
- Saidet en Najat