North of Lebanon
The North of Lebanon claims Lebanon’s highest peak, Qornat Al Sawda at 3088 meters above sea level.
The North of Lebanon is where the famous Lebanese Cedars is located, and other two important agricultural areas Al Koura : famous for its olives, and Akkar : famous for citrus fruits.
Descending down to the sea lies Lebanon’s second largest city and important trading port, Tripoli, a historical legend in its own right.
The climate in the North differs widely from ice capped mountains in the winter to hot humid summers at the sea shore. The North also enjoys some of the most famous summer resorts in Lebanon such as Ehden, ski resorts such as the Cedars, and a luxurious collections of first class holiday beach resorts scattered along the Mediterranean shore.
Batroun, a Phoenician town, mentioned in ancient Egyptian tablets, claims to be a pirates’ hideout in ancient times. A visit to its cathedral will prove to be rewarding for party-goers and achaeologists alike. A few kilometers away is the Museilha Castle, a fairy tale fortress from the 16th century.
Amyoun, the largest town in Al Koura, and famous for its olives and olive oil, has many interesting churches. One of which is built on the foundations of a Roman Temple, and another has Byzantine frescoes. On the city’s cliffs are the unique rock cut Tombs from Roman and Byzantine periods. Balamand Abbey in Koura was built in 1157 during the second crusade, and sharing its grounds is the modern Balamand University.
Tripoli was founded by the Phoenicians 800 BC. Modern day Tripoli combines the past and present with many historical structures dating back to the Crusade and Islam periods, standing proud and inhabited. Tripoli is also known for the old Souks or “Khans”, where tradesmen still trade today since thousands of years ago. Tripoli is particularly famous for its oriental sweets and desserts.
Places of most interest are:
- The Great Mosque, previously a crusader cathedral of St. Mary
- The Teynol Mosque built in 1336, Mamluk example of military architecture
- The Tower of the Lions at Al Mina
- The crusader castle of St.Gilles started in 1100 AD and built upon and enlarged by the Mamluks and later by the Turks
- Mamluk Turkish baths that are still open for business as usual.
- Bsharreh, the birthplace and resting place of the Lebanese literary prophet,Gibran Khalil Gibran.
Ehden, a beautiful mountainous town and summer resort famous for its restaurants serving the best kebbeh (a delicious meaty dish) in Lebanon.
The Cedars is a winter ski resort full of life and activity day and night with hotels, restaurants and discos. It has a grove of 400 Cedar trees, the symbol on the Lebanese flag. These are the remains of the once rich forests of cedars mentioned in the bible, and used by all ancient civilizations for construction and ship building. Today the cedars are protected by law to preserve their existence.
Qornat Al Sawda An easy ascent from the Cedars to the highest point in Lebanon.
Qadisha valley the most picturesque descent from the Cedars plunging straight to the coast, where nature has had a hand in sculpturing the mountain sides and rocky cliffs with a grotto and ancient monasteries built on the over-hanging crags to complete the picture.