Tourism in Lebanon - Religious Tourism

Religious Tourism

Located in the heart of the two major world religions, Christianity and Islam, Lebanon has an old and rich religious background with diverse traditions. This is evident in the religious and multicultural blend that can be seen till present times and which gives a unique identity to the Lebanese society. Lebanon has been a refuge for persecuted religious groups from thousands of years, and thus adding a vast amount of religious heritage to the country in both Christian and Islamic sanctuaries and holy places.

  • The town of Harissa, Lebanon hosts the Our Lady of Lebanon, also known as Notre Dame du Liban, Marian shrine and pilgrimage site, honoring the patron saint of Lebanon. The village is located 20 km north of Beirut, and accessible from the coastal city of Jounieh either by road or by a nine-minute journey by a gondola lift, known as the "Téléférique". It attracts both pilgrims and tourists who want to enjoy views of the bay of Jounieh. The pilgrimage site is a huge 15-ton bronze (and painted white) statue of Virgin Mary, known as Our Lady of Lebanon or Notre Dame du Liban, with her arms outstretched. The statue was made at the end of the 19th century and inaugurated in 1908. Inside the statue's base there is a small chapel. A huge modernistic Maronite cathedral built of concrete and glass stands right beside the statue. It was made up of seven sections that were assembled on top of the stone base, which had a bottom perimeter of 64m, an upper perimeter of 12m and with an overall height of 20m. The height of the statue is 8.50m while its perimeter is 5.50m. The statue and the shrine were inaugurated in 1908, and since then it has been a major pilgrimage destination in Lebanon. The shrine is erected on top of a 650 meters high wooded hill, and is equipped with a wide observation deck. The shrine was visited by Pope John Paul II in 1997 and Pope Benedict XVI in 2012.
  • Our Lady of Mantara, in Maghdouché, Lebanon, is also known in English as Our Lady of Awaiting, is a holy Christian site and a Marian shrine. The shrine consists of a tower crowned with the statue of the Virgin and Child, a cathedral, a cemetery and a sacred cave believed to be the one where the Virgin Mary rested while she waited for Jesus. Ever since the rediscovery, the cave of Our Lady of Mantara has been open to the public. It has become a major pilgrimage site in the Lebanon. The adjacent hilltop where Jesus and Mary had once stood is now Sidon's Greek Catholic cemetery. Grand festivities are held each year on September 8 to commemorate the rediscovery of the sacred cave. Near the sacred cave, the people of Magdhdouché built a cathedral and a modern tower crowned with a bronze statue of the Virgin and Child. The tower offers pilgrims panoramic views of Sidon, the Mediterranean, and the lush hills, valleys and citrus groves of South Lebanon.
  • Our Lady of Bekaa (also spelled Beqaa), is a Marian shrine located in the city of Zahlé in the Beqaa Valley. In 1958, Bishop Euthym, a man of great devotion to Our Lady, decided to build a shrine in honor of the Virgin Mary on the top of a hill overlooking Zahle and the Bekaa Valley. A ten-meter-high bronze statue of the Virgin Mary, the work of the Italian artist, Pierroti, rests on a 54 meter high tower, crowning a hill known by the name of Tel Chiha. An elevator takes pilgrims and tourists up to a viewing platform overlooking the red-roofed city and offering panoramic views of the valley. The base of the tower houses a small chapel that seats about 100 people.
  • Mar Sarkis, Ehden is a monastery located in the Zgharta District in the North Governorate of Lebanon. It is situated in the Qozhaya valley, the northern branch of the valley of Qadisha, to the east of Ehden. It overlooks Ehden, Kfarsghab, Bane and Hadath El Jebbeh. Given its exceptional location commanding the valley at 1500 meters altitude, the monastery is called the Watchful Eye of Qadisha. It is dedicated to Saints Sarkis and Bakhos (Saints Sergius and Bacchus). The name Ras Al Nahr means the top of the river as it is in the vicinity of the Mar Sarkis Source, the main contributor to the river Qlaynsieh which, after joining the Qannoubine river, will form near Tripoli the river Abou Ali. The Monastery belongs to the Lebanese Antonin Maronite Order, a Monastic Order founded on August 15, 1700 by the Maronite Patriarch Gabriel Al Blouzani from Blaouza (1704-1705). The first church of Saints Sarkis and Bakhos was built in the mid 8th Century A.D. on the ruins of a Canaanite temple dedicated to a divinity of agriculture. Next to it, another church dedicated to Our Lady was constructed in 1198 A.D. Several buildings were added from 1404 till 1690, when Patriarch Estephan El Douaihy restored part of the buildings.
  • Monastery of Qozhaya, also transliterated Qazahya is located in the Zgharta District in the North Governorate of Lebanon. It belongs to the Lebanese Maronite Order, known as Baladites. It is dedicated to Saint Anthony the Great. It is commonly called Qozhaya, in reference to the valley in which it is located. The valley of Qozhaya, along with the valley of Qannoubine to which it is connected to the west, form what is called the valley of Qadisha . Qozhaya is considered to be one of the oldest monasteries of the valley of Qadisha. Several hermitages are attached to it and at a certain period (probably the 12th Century AD), it has been the See of the Maronite Patriarch. In 1584, the first printing press of the Middle East was installed in this monastery. In 1708, it was handed down to the newly-formed Lebanese Maronite Order. It still belongs to this important Order. Qozhaya was at its pinnacle in the first part of the 19th Century with more than 300 monks belonging to it. With its large properties in the valley, in Ain-Baqra and in Jedaydeh, Qozhaya is one of the richest monasteries of the Order. It contributes financially to the maintenance of the less fortunate monasteries of the Order.

Read more about this topic:  Tourism In Lebanon

Famous quotes containing the words tourism and/or religious:

    In the middle ages people were tourists because of their religion, whereas now they are tourists because tourism is their religion.
    Robert Runcie (b. 1921)

    In an age robbed of religious symbols, going to the shops replaces going to the church.... We have a free choice, but at a price. We can win experience, but never achieve innocence. Marx knew that the epic activities of the modern world involve not lance and sword but dry goods.
    Stephen Bayley (b. 1951)