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Location: Bsharri  and Zgharta Districts   Map

Kadisha Valley aka Qadisha Valley, Wadi Qadisha, Ouadi Qadisha (وادي قاديشا )

Kadisha Valley aka Qadisha Valley, Wadi Qadisha, Ouadi Qadisha (وادي قاديشا )







Description of Kadisha Valley


Kadisha Valley is a massive geologic formation in the Bsharri  and Zgharta Districts of Lebanon. Kadisha Valley is famous for numerous ancient Christian monasteries and dwellings that were carved by early Christians who escaped persecutions of the Ancient Roman officials. The name of the valley comes from the Aramaic language and literally means "Holy", so another name for the area is a Holy Valley. With the arrival of the Muslims it became a place of solitude for Sufi sect of Islam who came here to pray. The valley is designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for a large concentration of ancient and medieval monasteries perched on vertical cliffs of the valley.

Monasteries of the Kadisha Valley

Kadisha Valley 


The Wadi Qadisha is located at the foot of the Al-Makmal mountain in northern Lebanon. It was formed by the Qadisha River, which rises in a cave just below the cedar of the Lord. The total length of the valley is 35 km.

The Wadi Qadisha was settled very early. In addition to the beautiful nature, the valley is known for its numerous monasteries. Because the wadi is relatively isolated, it has been used for centuries as a retreat for devout Christians who have often suffered persecution. In 1998 it was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List due to its long Christian tradition. The most important place in the valley is Bischarri.

The monasteries of Wadi Qadisha
The Qannubin Monastery
The Qannubin Monastery is considered the most important in Wadi Qadisha. It is located in the northeast of the valley and is the oldest Maronite monastery. The word Qanubin comes from the Greek word Kenobion, which means monastery. According to legend, the complex was founded by a student of the Byzantine emperor Theodosius I (347–395). From 15th to 19th Century the monastery was the seat of the Maronite patriarch of the Qadisha valley. The monks' cells, accommodation for travelers and the church were carved into the rock. The latter is decorated with frescoes from the 18th century.

The Quzhaya monastery
Antonius Monastery Quzhaya Monastery is opposite the Qanubin Monastery. It is one of the largest monasteries in the valley and was probably founded in the 4th century. According to legend, this was done by St. Hilarius, who built the monastery in honor of the Egyptian saint St. Antonius the Great. However, the oldest evidence dates from the 12th century. The main rooms are a meeting room and a chapel. An ethnographic museum is now housed on the premises. Among other things, a printing press from 1871 is exhibited. There is a mill and hermit caves near the monastery. These were used by religious hermits who had withdrawn to loneliness to serve God.

Sayyidat Hawqa Monastery
Sayyidat Hawqa Monastery (to Our Lady of Hawqa) was founded in the 13th century. It is located at a height of 1150 m on a rocky plateau between the Quzhaya and Qannubin monasteries. The monastery was partly built into an existing 47 m deep cave above the plateau. This part can only be reached via a ladder. Archaeological traces from the Stone Age to the Middle Ages have been found in the cave. A Christian inscription in Arabic characters from 1193 can be seen in the chapel itself.

The Mar Sarkis Monastery
The Mar Sarkis Monastery is located at an altitude of 1500 m above the village of Ehden. It is also called "the watchful eye of Qadisha". The first monastery church was built around 750 on the ruins of a Canaanite temple. In 1198 an additional church was built. Other buildings were built between 1404 and 1690. The monastery was dedicated to Saints Sergius and Bacchus.

Mar Alisha Monastery
The Mar-Alisha 'monastery was first mentioned in the 14th century. The building consists of four monk cells, a refectory and a church that was carved into the rock. The monastery shares a Maronite order with the Barefoot Order of the Carmelites.

The Lord's Cedars
Above the Wadi Qadisha lies the grove "the cedars of the Lord", (Arabic أرز الربّ). Some of these Lebanon cedar trees are considered the oldest in the region. They survived deforestation from the Phoenician and Roman times. Cedarwood was a very popular building material among the Pharaohs, Assyrians and Israelites. Overexploitation caused the cedar forests to disappear more and more. Only a few cedar groves were disregarded by the loggers and were not cut down. The group of trees "Cedars of the Lord" near Bisharri consists of 375 trees. Age is controversial. Two of them are said to be 3000 years old, ten more trees to be over 1000 years old. On clear days, the cedars offer a view of the Mediterranean to Cyprus. The area is a popular ski area in winter and a popular destination for Lebanese and tourists in summer.




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