Top 5 Hidden Gems In Lebanon

1. Historical Tripoli Train Station

The Tripoli railway station is located near El-Mina, Tripoli, Lebanon. It began operating in 1911 and was connected to the Syrian city, Homs, with a single track. It formed the terminus of the Orient Express line in the twenties, thirties and forties of the last century. Tripoli station was connected to the central station of Beirut (Mar Mikael) in 1945.

During World War I, the Ottomans, and for military reasons, damaged the Tripoli/Homs line. Ruined, the station was nationalized in 1920 at the time of the French mandate in Lebanon and Syria. In 1943, after independence, the station became the property of the Lebanese state.

In 1975, the station was abandoned and now contains a number of multipurpose buildings. These buildings were severely damaged during the civil war (1975–1991). A series of ancient multi-purpose wagons, two German G7 class locomotives made in 1895, and four German G8 locomotives, made in 1901 and 1906 remain on the site. The traces of war are visible on the vehicles.

2. Miziara

Miziara (known also as Meziara, Arabic: مزيارة) is a town located in the Zgharta District in the North Governorate of Lebanon. The village is home to Our Lady of Miziara, Mother of Mercies, St Elias Shrines And to Hotel Miziara the village’s first hotel.

The populated area called Miziara is formed of four villages: Miziara, Harf Miziara, Houmeis and Sakhra.

The 18th and 19th Centuries

At the end of the 16th century, and the beginning of the 17th century, the southern Mount Lebanon under the stable rule of the Emir Fakhreddine (1678–1735) attracted many families who were encouraged by the Emir to establish there. An important migration took place from Jebbet Bsharri to the south but also to Aleppo, Syria.

After the fall of the Emir Fakhreddine in 1632, the situation in the southern Mount Lebanon became difficult and there were a reverse migration to North Lebanon. This migration from the Metn and Kesrwan accelerated particularly after the Sheikhs Hamadeh, rulers of Jebbet Bsharri started stabilising their rule around 1680. It is in this context that Naamtallah Néhmé, the ancestor of all the Meziarian families, arrived in North Lebanon, like many others.

When Naamtallah Néhmé left Bikfaya, Metn, to North Lebanon, he first settled in Arbet Kozhaya. He brought up and raised his family there.

Later on, the family moved to Sereel and then to Ejbeh, where they did not stay for long, moving to a small farm beside Sebhel. Rishtaamout was the name of the farm. in Syriac, Rishtaamout means the summit of taste or of pleasure as the farm was famous for its tasty fruits.

3. Chouwen Lake

The Chouwen Lake is part of the famous Ibrahim River where the water gathers and appears as a lake, it’s also part of the Jabal Moussa Biosphere reserve. To get there, head on to Yahchouch, then on the road you will see a sign to Chouwen, from there follow the course of the road for about 15 minutes and be careful the road is small and dangerous, just drive slowly and enjoy nature. If you are lucky enough you might also spot a squirrel on those pine trees (we did spot one, but he was faster than my hand to reach the camera).

Once you get to the entrance, you must pay the entrance fee to Jabal Moussa Biosphere Reserve, which is 8,000LL, and then a moderate hike of almost 3 KM would lead you to the lake and another 3 KM from the lake. The hike contains both ascends and descends, you would think that you will be going all the way down because the lake is at the bottom, but it’s not the case, it’s actually almost 60/40 descending vs ascending.

It took us a little bit more than 1 hour each way, but we were slow because my wife is pregnant and of course, we were stopping taking photos all the time.

4. Chateau Heritage

Most wine history books agree that there is no doubt wine was first made in the Middle East. Noah, Naboth, Christ, St. Paul, the great Roman Temple at Baalbeck, are all but few of the evidence that support this fact.

Theories even exist to suggest that a large number of red and white grape varieties were distributed as far as Europe by the Phoenicians from what is now Lebanon, and are ancestors to many of the grape varieties today.

And so it was that in 1888, the Touma Family established one of the first wineries and distilleries in Lebanon in the small town of Kab-elias of the Bekaa-Valley to produce wine and Arak Touma, the national Lebanese drink.

Continuing in the success, tradition, and experience gained by the Touma family with their Arak Touma, the Heritage Winery was established and released its first modern wines in 1997.

Heritage is a family produced wine that preserves the traditions of wine making while mastering the state-of-the-art technologies in the production of varietal wines.

Heritage is a new class of Lebanese wine that is created from a unique selection of the finest grapes of the Bekaa-Valley. It stands to be the best representation of a true Lebanese wine.

5. Rachana Village

Located about 14 kilometers north from Byblos and 55 kilometers from Beirut, Rachana – meaning “me, the head” in Aramaic – is known as the museum village. Entering the village, you will find sculptures, as well as other art forms, everywhere; on the road, in front of the houses, in the gardens, and on squares. Welcoming sculptors from all over the world for fifteen days every year, the International Park of Sculpture in Rachana displays over 50 sculptures.