In August 2016, the country elected its favorite village of the year: Akkar el Atiqa. The breathtaking landscape, the historical monuments, the beautiful trails, and the hospitality of the locals are an enchanting combination that make this small village truly unique. For a perfect day trip in the mountains, here are five things to do in one of Lebanon’s most beautiful places.
1. CLIMB TO THE ANCIENT FORTRESS HOSN
Elevated on a rocky mountain between the two valleys of Akkar, the citadel of Hosn Akkar is only reachable by goat path, but the breathtaking view makes it worth the climb. It is said that the citadel was built by Mohrez Bin Akkar, who was killed in 864 A.D., and was later seized by the Seljuks, the Crusaders and the Mamluks.
2. DISCOVER THE VILLAGE AND THE HISTORIC VESTIGES
Due to its location on the road between Homs and Baalbek, the village was an important political, social and religious fief for civilizations crossing Akkar. Stroll around to discover remains of arcades and heritage houses and don’t miss the historic mehrab, and its beautiful arcades, the only thing left from an old Mamluk mosque. If you venture to the outskirts of the village, you’ll discover the Ghazarta church from the Byzantine era.
3. TAKE A WALK AROUND THE ZABBOUD NEIGHBORHOOD
Named after the Zabboud spring, the neighborhood on the eastern side of the village is a must-see. Zabboud is known for its abundance of water sources, beautiful lush green hills and walking trails. Don’t miss Mazraat Zabboud, a fertile stretch of land with its farmers’ houses and hospitable inhabitants, who will genuinely greet you with a warm cup of coffee. You can also discover impressive old sarcophagi, said to be from the Canaanite era, meticulously carved into the rocks.
4. TAKE A DETOUR TO WATCH THE WATERFALL AND VISIT THE MILLS
At 160 meters tall, the Akkar el Atiqa waterfall is one of the highest in Akkar. It is located right above the citadel and is worth the detour. If you’re visiting in winter, you will hear the water roaring, especially when snow is melting. It is said that the current waterfall takes its shape from the rock behind it, carved by broken ice. The area is abundant in water and a number of old water mills that are worth visiting.
5. VISIT THE FIR FOREST AND HIKE THE LEBANON MOUNTAIN TRAIL
Hiking and immersing yourself in nature is a must when you are in Akkar el Atiqa. Head for Ghabet el Chouh (the fir forest) and hike the Lebanon Mountain Trail. This section leads to bordering village El Kobayat, and is one of the most picturesque on the trail. The path takes you through Chir el Qammoua’a and under Wadi el Aswad, another superb landscape, where fir, juniper and other perennial trees surround you on the way. At Chir el Nemr, you can catch a superb view of Akkar el Atiqa and take in a breath of fresh air.
Where to Sleep
Les Demeures (06 350991, 76 166877)
Jabalna Ecolodge (03 542935)
, 70 473347)
Where to Eat
Naseem Al Jabal (70 494776)
Nabeh el Chouh restaurant (03 557892)
DATE 10 JAN 2017