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Tanya Maalouf 29 May 2020

9 Historic Spots Every Lebanese Person Should Visit

Even if you’ve lived in Lebanon your whole life, you might not have seen all of the following cultural and historical sites. So fill up that tank, get your camera and your group of friends, and get ready to play tourist for a day in one of these stunning sites.

1. Temple of Echmoun – Saida

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A house of worshipping for the cult of Echmoun, the revered healing god of Saida during the Phoenician Epoch, this site has undergone many changes and additions between the end of the 7th century BC and the 8th century AD – and while you’re in Saida, be sure to visit the unmissable Soap museum.

Neighboring restaurants:

Zawat Restaurant, Palamera, and Rest House Saida

2. Nahr el Kalb Valley

An underrated remarkable area with monuments dating from the 12th century BC belonging to the passage of different conquerors and cultures. This area also has various temples, including Qalaat Faqra Temple, dating back to 2nd century AD, and 18th and 19th century convents of Mar Abda de Mouchamar, Notre Dame de Lou-zei and Tamish, which are built on the ruins of a temple dedicated to Artemis. There are also remains of a small Byzantine town which include a small basilica (chapel) with three naves.

Neighboring restaurants:

Al Saray, Chez Sami, and Saniour

3. Chouf

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If we’re talking about Chouf, then Deir el Qamar has got to be mentioned. This historical city contains the most stunning spots like Beiteddine, the palace of Emir Bechir and his sons, and several others.

Neighboring restaurants:

Beit el Qamar

4. Anjar

Once an inland commercial center to the Umayyads, this gorgeous city was founded by Caliph Walid I at the beginning of the 8th century. The ruins reveal a layout reminiscent of the palace-cities of ancient times, and are a unique testimony to city planning under the Umayyads.

Neighboring restaurants:

Restaurant al Shams

5. Baalbeck

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You really thought you were going to read a list of cultural sites and not hear this one? A thrilling Phoenician city that was once of religious function where a triad of deities were worshipped, Baalbeck is one of the best examples of Imperial Roman architecture in Lebanon.

Neighboring restaurants:

Raymond Restaurant in Riyaq and/or go to any butcher shop and indulge in their famous sfee7a.

6. Nahr Ibrahim

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Afqa Grotto, from which the river of Adonis takes its source, is a huge cave open on a peak of 200m and is reported to be one of the most beautiful places in the world by many international visitors. Many religious sties are also present around including a temple dedicated to Astarte, Mar Giorgis el Azrak temple, temple of Machnaka, and many more.

Neighboring restaurants:

Abou Walid Restaurant and Encore Seaview – E Resto

7. Qadisha Valley and the Cedars of God

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One of the most important early Christian monastic settlements in the world is here in our own Lebanon, the Qadisha Valley. The monasteries, still standing tall, are of great age, and compliment the stunning forests of the Cedar trees of Lebanon.

Neighboring restaurants:

Le Pichet in Le Cedrus Suites Hotel and Al-Ferdaws Restaurant

8. Batroun

Where do we begin here? From the old port, to the remains of a Roman amphitheater, to the medieval castle of Mseilha, Batroun is one of the most alluring and charming coastal towns in Lebanon and stands out as an important witness to our country’s history.

Neighboring restaurants: Nicolas Audi A La Maison D’Ixsir, Chez Maguy, and Pierre and Friends

9. Tyre

This legendary Phoenician city once ruled the seas and founded prosperous colonies such as Cadiz and Carthage, it also contains key archaeological Roman remains.

Neighboring restaurants:

Le Phenicien, Dar Alma, and Sicilia

And if you want to take this tourist thing one step further, check out this list of historical castles in Lebanon.