Keserwan is a beautiful region known for its rich cultural heritage, including several significant religious sites. As USAID’s Trade and Investment Facilitation (TIF) project is working to raise the profile of the district and improve its tourism offering, we explore some of the most religious landmarks in Keserwan.
Our Lady of Lebanon Shrine (Harissa)
The iconic shrine of Our Lady of Lebanon is one of the most famous religious sites in Keserwan. Located in the town of Harissa, it overlooks the Bay of Jounieh and offers breathtaking views of the Mediterranean Sea. The shrine is dedicated to the Virgin Mary and attracts religious pilgrims and tourists alike.
Saint Paul’s Basilica (Harissa)
Another notable religious site in Harissa is the St. Paul’s Basilica. This beautiful basilica is dedicated to the Apostle Paul and features stunning architecture and intricate stained-glass windows that depict scenes from Saint Paul’s life.
Mar Challita Monastery (Hrajel)
Mar Challita Monastery, located in the village of Hrajel, is a Maronite Catholic monastery known for its religious and historical significance. The monastery dates back to the 17th century and houses the relics of Saint Charbel’s uncle, Saint Nimatullah Hardini. It attracts many pilgrims.
Ain Warka Monastery
An ancient site of great historical significance can be found in the town of Ain Warka, approximately 20 kilometers northeast of Beirut. Constructed by Maronite monks in the 13th century, the Ain Warka Monastery served as a hub of knowledge and spirituality in the past. Nowadays, it has become a popular spot for religious tourism and history enthusiasts, attracting visitors who wish to explore its rich heritage.
Saint Charbel statue (Faraya)
Crafted from bronze, the Saint Charbel statue in Faraya is 23 meters high and can be seen from a considerable distance. It is possible to hike the steep trail leading to the base of this remarkable monument, from where an outstanding view of the surrounding landscape, including the Chabrouh Dam, can be admired.
The Patriarchate Church
The seat of the Maronite Patriarch is located in Bkerke, Keserwan. Serving as a significant religious institution for the Maronite Catholic Church, it is an architectural blend of traditional Lebanese and Byzantine influences and houses the patriarchal residence, administrative offices, a seminary and a cathedral.
Armenian Monastery in Bzommar
The Bzommar Monastery, situated in Keserwan, is a significant cultural and spiritual center for Armenian heritage. Built in 1749, it houses a museum displaying eastern profane and religious art, especially Armenian pieces, along with reading and exhibition rooms, archives, and photographs. The monastery’s grounds boast well-maintained vineyards producing renowned wine, and there is a special section dedicated to Byzantine mosaics. The site also holds historical souvenirs of Emir Bashir, who entrusted his belongings and wealth to the monastery during his travels.
Saydet el Kalaa – Chahtoul
Saydet el Kalaa, or Our Lady of the Castle, is a significant religious site in the village of Chahtoul. Dedicated to the Virgin Mary, it holds historical and cultural importance. The sanctuary attracts pilgrims and visitors seeking spiritual connection and offers a peaceful ambiance for prayer and reflection.
As the region is steeped in religious history, the aforementioned sites are just a few examples of those that can be found in Keserwan.
For further information regarding religious tourism in Keserwan, contact Josephine Zgheib on +961 3 214 871.
This article is part of a joint project to promote tourism destinations across Lebanon, launched by the Trade and Investment Facilitation (TIF) activity, funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and Hospitality Services. The content of this article is the sole responsibility of Hospitality Services, and does not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.