Perched on a leafy hill and dotted with charming well-preserved heritage homes, Marjeyoun is the undisputed jewel of the South.
Its strategic location, facing Mount Hermon to the east and overlooking Mount Amel to the west, affords stunning sceneries of the lush surroundings. The town owes its name, “meadow of the spring,” to a large number of water sources, which make the area exceptionally fertile.
Marjeyoun is located 90km south of Beirut. Take the highway out of Beirut towards Saida, continue to Nabatiyeh then go through Kfar Tebnite, near Qlayaa, and you’ll eventually reach Marjeyoun.
What to Do
This is the place where monks once practiced their asceticism. The old monastery of Saint Anne is now in ruins but still worth a visit for the panoramic views of Marjeyoun.
The 1,000-year-old Crusader fortress situated in nearby Nabatiyeh is not to be missed. The Phoenicians, Babylonians, Assyrians, Romans and Crusaders have all commanded posts at some point in time. Walking through its entire labyrinth of passages, narrow staircases, terraces and countless rooms over several floors can take you well over an hour. There is also a reception room for visitors to read about its fascinating history and restoration work carried out in recent years. It is open daily from 8 am until 7:30 pm.
Ebl El Saqi Nature Reserve
Take a languid walk and admire the thousand-year-old olive trees and the majestic pine tree forests of this natural reserve area (219 hectares), which is home to globally threatened species and serves as a habitat for migratory birds, such as raptors and various species of soaring birds. This green patch, which is also ideal for hiking is between Marjeyoun village and Hasbaya, west of the Hasbani River.
Hill of Marjeyoun
This is an archeological site located two kilometres north of Marjeyoun in El Marj. It dates back to the Neolithic era (12,000 years) at least. The inhabitants of that period were skilled in pottery and farming, and today, one can witness ancient tombs.
Take a walk through the cobblestone market square, which has served as the town center since Ottoman times. You will also find many well-preserved heritage homes scattered around this picturesque town reflecting traditional Lebanese architecture: large central living rooms, arcades and traditional tiles. You can go on a discovery tour of Marjeyoun using the interactive map developed by the Marjeyoun Heritage Preservation Program.
Where to Eat
Rached Restaurant (+961 7 830544) is a cozy café that offers great sandwiches and a variety of popular dishes. Open on Saturdays, Shawarma Wissam (+961 70 961580) is a small kiosk on Marjeyoun Boulevard serving the amazing shawarma sandwiches.
Where to Sleep
Located a 10-minute drive from Marjeyoun, Hotel Dana (danahotel.com) is ideal for families; it has two swimming pools, a basketball court, a large garden and several restaurants. Alternatively, stay at Sol Laguna (sollaguna.org), a cozy hotel with a pool and a garden.