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The word Qadisha comes from a Semitic root meaning "holy" and Wadi Qadisha is the "Holy Valley". It’s a world apart. The canyon is not far from the cedars forest, and Bsharreh area. Filled with caves and rock shelters inhabited from the third millennium B.C. to the Roman period, the valley is speckled 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 Sufis were found in this valley.

In the 7th century it was settled by Christian monks who established in almost unreachable limestone caves to lead frugal lives. A number of monasteries were built in this area, the most important of which are Deir Qannoubin, an ancient seat of the Maronite Patriarchate; Deir Qouzhayya, site of the first printing press in the Middle East and Deir Mar Elisha, where the Maronite Order of Lebanese Monks was founded in 1695.

The only way to explore the gorge is on foot. A slight vehicular road descends to the bottom, but it is more fun to take one of the paths from the villages of Tourza, Blawza, Hadchit, Hasroun and Diman. The Qadisha River, whose source is the Qadisha Grotto, runs through the valley, continuing down to Tripoli where it becomes the Abu Ali River.

Few years ago, the canyon became under the protection of the UNESCO, classified as international patrimonies for the humanity.

Don’t hesitate to visit the site. Tour guides can be provided upon request.