Tucked away on the highest hill in Lebanon and the Middle East, Bekaakafra is a small town whose streets are always scented with the aroma of the holy valley of Qanoubine, where the sound of canticles and prayers echo constantly…It is an exemplary town blessed by his holiness Saint Charbel Makhlouf, for his countless miracles and healings…
This village that failed to acknowledge urban life is a breath of fresh air, a haven of peace, of quiet and safety!
Visiting Bekaakafra is an opportunity to admire the chef-d’oeuvre of the Creator, the magical unspoiled landscape. It is as though this village, perched between heaven and earth, still bears the fingerprints of God…
The locals of Bkaakafra live their Christian life to the fullest and they are known for their generosity and hospitality, but also for their courage and vigor rooted in the land and history.
These people have also been famous for their kindness, sincerity, spontaneity and deep faith.
Whoever visits this town feels that he is the son of nature and feel the desire to live in simplicity.
Houses in Bekaakafra still preserve their authenticity due to their ancient and modest architecture.
Customs, traditions and ancient folklore hang around in this village, especially during evenings and anniversaries. During the week of Saint Charbel’s anniversary festivities, an exhibition of homemade products prepared by the locals takes place along the street leading to the house of the Saint. A traditional marriage is also celebrated in the fashion of the nineteenth century.
This isolated village, of 1,800 meters’ altitude in Becharreh, is inhabited by villagers who consider themselves the relatives of the Saint known in the four corners of the earth. Bekaakafra’s history dates back to the tenth century according to historian Fouad Boustany Ephram, and two thousand years according to another study.
Neighbors with the Cedars of God and mentioned several times in the Bible, this village overlooks the holy valley of Qannoubine, which hosted, from 1440 to 1823, 24 Maronite patriarchs as well as hermits, monks and saints.
As for the etymology of Bekaakafra, it is of Syriac origin, composed of “Bekaa” as ground and “Kafra” as rich (rich soil).
Many roads lead to Bekaakafra: Shekka – Amioune – Hadath el Jebbeh – Bekaakafra or Tripoli – Koura – Hadath el Jebbeh – Bekaakafra or Ehden – Bcharre – Deir el Ahmar or Bekaakafra – Aynata – Cedars – Bcharre – Bekaakafra.
Tourism in Bekaakafra is religious par excellence, and the places to visit are the Church where Saint Charbel had been baptized (which was built between the seventh and thirteenth centuries), the Notre-Dame Church built in 1925, the convent of Saint Eusebius, the Saint Charbel house and the grotto where Saint Charbel used to pray.
Written by Antoinette Shallita