Perched on a hilltop 800m above the sea, the northern village of Miziara is home to some of the most unusual houses in the country, including one constructed out of an old airplane. The village also boasts incredibly well-maintained and organized streets – something of a rarity in Lebanon!
Miziara is located under two-hours away by car from Beirut . Take the coastal highway northbound towards Tripoli. After passing Hamat, exit the highway onto the Chekka- Amioun Road and follow the road to Miziara.
WHAT TO DO
Our Lady of Miziara, Mother of Mercies
Built in 1979, Our Lady of Miziara is a Marian shrine that stands at the entrance of the villag e. The shrine consists of a statue of the Virgin Mary, and is guarded by two statues of angels made of limestone. Some sculptural representations of Christ’s Baptism, the Wedding at Cana and the Last Supper can also be found in the shrine. A spacious park surrounds the site and is paved with walkways between olive and oak trees. Statuary nooks depict scenes from the Gospels such as the Nativity, the Flight into Egypt, the Baptism of Christ and Christ’s Crucifixion.
Located within a 20-minute drive of Miziara is the Bnachii Lake. Ideal for families thanks to the open space, food and drink options, and variety of activities, the lake offers visitors the opportunity to hire pedalos or take boat rides for just a few dollars. In addition, the path surrounding the lake is perfect for a long walk or a jog, while those after something a little more leisurely can hop on a horse-drawn carriage to take them around.
Built on the banks of the Bnachii Lake is the Wildlife Taxidermy Museum (06 550550). Containing more than 3,000 stuffed animals, the museum comprises five areas including sea life, reptiles, mammals and birds.
Around Christmas time each year, a magical festival takes place by the lake. Drawing in thousands of people, the area comes alive with an elaborately-lit Christmas tree, colorful decorations and a Christmas market.
Horsh Ehden Nature Reserve
Located just 10-minutes away from Miziara is the magnificent Horsh Ehden Nature Reserve. Rich in species
biodiversity, the reserve has recorded more than 1,058 plant species; this accounts for nearly 40 percent of all native plant species in Lebanon. The reserve also houses the iconic cedar of Lebanon as well as other coniferous, deciduous and evergreen broad leaf trees. An impressive variety of wild animals, including the golden jackal and the red fox, can also be spotted on occasion in the dense forest.
WHERE TO EAT
La Crepinette Restaurant
WHERE TO STAY
With 12 rooms and nine suites, Hotel Miziara is an elegant boutique property providing all the modern comforts one would expect. Most of the rooms have a breathtaking view of the mountains and the coast. An array of activities can be enjoyed on site or in the surrounding area including cycling.
Text and photos by Peter Ghanime