Famous for its hilly terrain, Qsarnaba is a town in the Baalbeck District of Lebanon where visitors can witness traditional agricultural practices, including the extraction of rose water. We go on an adventure with Lebanon Stories – احكيلي عن بلدي to discover some of the town’s highlights.
From Beirut, take the Damascus International highway out of the city. You will pass Hazmieh, Baabda, Bhamdoun and Chtaura. When you reach Chtaura, follow the signs towards Zahle. At the end of Zahle road, when you reach Ferzol, drive towards the left. You will see Qsarnaba on your left. The journey takes around an hour and a half.
What to Do
Qsarnaba’s most famous landmark is a Roman temple, which is the origin of the town’s name. It is built on a relatively high platform, so visitors have to climb some stairs to reach it. The temple is still preserved and the impressive pediment, which used to face the rising sun, has been reconstructed. On the top of the pediment, the portrait of the Roman senator Nonianus can be seen.
Qsarnaba is famous for its hilly terrain, and on top of one of its hills you will find the Roman quarry. It is from this quarry that stones were brought to build the temple. It also happens that this point overlooks the central parts of the Bekaa Valley, so you’re guaranteed some pretty magnificent views.
Damask Rose Harvest
Agriculture is very much part of life in Qsarnaba, which is why you’ll find vineyards and large areas dedicated to the production of wild roses. Experience these practices firsthand by joining farmers on their seasonal Damask rose harvest. Don’t be surprised if you are invited into the homes of local residents, where you will find them distilling the petal of the roses in a big pot (karakeh) in order to extract rose water. This fragrant liquid is synonymous with Lebanon and used in many Lebanese dishes, especially desserts.
Where to Eat
One of the region’s traditional delicacies is sfiha, a savory oven-baked pastry with goat meat. Enjoy it with laban to add more authenticity to the experience.
Chtaura’s Lakkis Farm Restaurant (+961 8 542490) is located about an hour from Qsarnaba. It is known for its farm-to-fork approach, offering visitors a menu filled with delicious dairy products, as well as the Bekaa’s famous sfiha.
Where to Stay
Al Haush Agritourism (+961 3 911110) is a sustainable tourism project in the heart of the Bekaa. Providing guests with a range of exciting services, including agricultural activities, it is an ideal retreat for families.