Located in the West Bekaa, Machghara has known a turbulent history. But, like many other small towns, it has managed to preserve many monuments of its past, and today is rising once again.
Take the Beirut-Damascus International Highway out of the city and head through Dahr El Baydar, then turn right to reach Chtaura. You will cross villages such as Qabb Elias, Kherbet Anafar and Saghbine, before getting to Machghara.
What to Do
By walking its narrow streets or climbing its ubiquitous stairs, visitors to Machghara can easily dream of a time when this village — which offers a breathtaking view of Lake Qaraoun — was a place of passage for Ottoman caravans. In Machghara, a small river burbles in a rhythm that seems unique to the village, creating a dreamy ambience woven by the confluence of around 30 springs, that take the form of everything from small cascades to narrow streams.
Nature and Culture
Machghara boasts a dry and cool climate, and is abundant in fruit trees. It is a pretty haven for those interested in hiking. Another attractive aspect of the village is its cultural and social diversity, perhaps best embodied by the bell towers standing tall alongside the minarets, resonating together harmoniously at the different hours of prayer.
Zaki Nassif Museum
Machghara is also a fertile ground for artists and intellectuals. One of them was the great composer and musician Zaki Nassif, a village native. Nassif’s house has been transformed into a museum that attracts tourists and budding talents. Today, the two-story property consists of two buildings, one built between 1850 and 1860 and the other at the end of the 19th century.
Where to Eat
Having recently opened next to the Zaki Nassif garden, Layali Jdoudna (+961 3 705402) offers visitors traditional Lebanese food. Located in Saghbine, Le Chalet du Lac (+961 8 670022) offers a beautiful view of Lake Qaraoun and is within walking distance of Machghara.
Where to Stay
The Blue Lake Hotel (bluelake-hotel.com) is situated in Saghbine and has all the facilities one would expect for a cozy weekend getaway, including an unparalleled view of Lake Qaraoun.