- Updated On:
- September 3, 2019
- Year Built: 1900
Jezzine is a town in South Lebanon that you should definitely visit whenever you have the chance. It has always had a special place in my heart because I spent three unforgettable years of my childhood there. I was not only walking in its narrow streets, running between its old houses and riding my bicycle (the famous old Chopper), I was also making memories. These memories will ever be engraved upon my heart, a heart that grew up on the love of this fairy town. Jezzine is a dream place surrounded by mountains and located on the edge of an impressive cliff overlooking the green scenery stretched as far as the eye can see.
1- The waterfalls
This mountainous town has a lot to offer from its location between the mountains and valleys, situated in the middle of the biggest pine trees forest in the country. Jezzine welcomes locals all year long with nice weather and its breathtaking waterfalls. Going in winter or spring gives you the chance to see the waterfalls at their best. Some can be as high as 74m (the highest in Lebanon) going down the ‘chir’ (cliff). From that Jezzine got the title of “Arousit El Chellel” (Bride of the Fall)
2- Fakhreddine grotto
Fakhreddine Grotto is only 10 minutes far from the main waterfall. In the 17th century, Prince Fakhreddine took refuge in this grotto to escape the Ottoman soldiers. He was later captured. In order to visit the cave, you can contact Habib El Helou (+961 3 720 774), one of the locals who knows the area and is well prepared to enter the place.
3- Haret Kanaan
You simply cannot miss the ‘Hara’ (mansion) located near the municipality. The place dates from the 19th century. I could write pages about it, especially that its walls have lot of stories to tell. While I was taking pictures of the building, a guy approached me and introduced himself; this young man is Karim Kanaan, a direct descendant of Soleiman Bey Kanaan, the ‘Beik’ who built the place and started the Kanaan legacy. Karim turned out to be an old scout friend and we had coffee in his beautiful mansion. I hope someday soon I will be able to tell you more about this place and the people behind it; but now I can only say that during my 72 hours stay in Jezzine in order to write this article, I did not meet anybody who does not express admiration for this family and everybody speaks well about what they did to the region.
4- Religious tourism
In Jezzine there are churches built more than 200 years ago, for example Saint-Maron (Mar Maroun) which was built in the 18th century. At the main entrance of the town stands ‘Saydet El Maabour’ (Our Lady of Jezzine) shrine. You also should not miss the chance to visit Saint-Joseph (Mar Youssef), Saint-Antoine (Mar Mtanous El Bedweneh), Virgin Mary (El Saydeh) and Church of the mill (Knisset El Mathaneh).
Jezzine is known for handmade colored cutlery with phoenix shaped handles and daggers made from gold and other precious metals, decorated with pearls and precious stones. This cutlery dates back to 1770 and gives the town its reputation.
The Haddad family (among others), entered this business around the time of World War One. This was a very difficult period for the whole country, during the widespread famine. The story goes that one of the Haddad family, while in the forest, saw a bird removing the meat from its chest in order to feed its babies. The sight fascinated him so much that he drew the bird’s shape into daggers handles. This industry is now passed from one generation to another up to the present day and their shop is in Souk El Sedd, located in the heart of Jezzine. In fact, whenever the President of the Lebanese Republic wants to honor a foreign leader, he presents him/her with a box of these handmade utensils.
6- ‘Mooneh' - food for the winter
Jezzine is also known for its homemade ‘mooneh’ (food for the winter) such as jams, olive oil, arak and pine nuts.
While wandering in the ‘souk’ (market) I met a lady, Yvette (+ 961 70 126 484), who is well known for her homemade cuisine. People from all over the country call her to order the stuff she prepares such as ‘warak arish’ (stuffed vine leaves), all kinds of kebbeh and other traditional Lebanese food. Her store is called ‘Al Sed.’
7- Dine and Wine
When you visit Jezzine, start your day with a ‘mankoucheh’ from ‘Furn Zahka’ (Zahka Bakery).
‘El Chalouf’ restaurant offers you the perfect lunch; there you can enjoy the Lebanese cuisine as well as the nice view on the waterfall overlooking the pine forest. Tabbouleh, fattouche, hummus, chankliche (spicy cheese), batata harra (spicy potatoes), and many others, should be on your menu.
If you were to ask me about my favorite restaurant, I would recommend Al Rayyan Restaurant in the ‘souk’. You should not miss the ‘plat du jour’ made by the owner’s wife.
If you are a wine lover, you should try Karam winery, the only winery in the south. I would recommend their ‘Cloud Nine’.
8- Camping and Outdoor Activities
I have tried several camping sites in the Jezzine region where I had fantastic moments.
- The fire pit located in the middle of Ain Zaarour campsite adds to the charm and magic of the place. You can also go horse riding and take part in other activities. The staff was very helpful.
- Pinea campsite has a great location.
- La Maison de la Foret is another place to visit. Located within Bkassine Pine forest, it offers cozy wood cabins to spend the night, tasty food, and a variety of outdoor activities.
- Green Lake Hotel is also one of Jezzine’s unique attractions.
- In Jezzine, one can also stay in wooden lodges built in the field of apple trees, and have food under the shade of the grapes. This can be done in ‘El Souwan Jezzine’, where visitors can bring their own food if they want. The owner of the place, Jihad (+ 961 3 493259), is a very welcoming person.
- For any outdoor activity, check “Jezzine Extreme Adventures” – Elias + 961 71 817369. You can enjoy with them this lovely region while hiking, camping and even canyoning.
Hiking is a must-do activity in this beautiful area (Wikiloc App – Account: tonyaoun – track 21: Bisri). You can ask at the camp sites for a guide or just go explore on your own. Habib is one of the best guides, not only for caving but also for hiking and biking.
A minimum of two or three days are required in order to fully enjoy the beauty of Jezzine and its numerous attractions.
Once I start talking about this Southern town, I find it very hard to stop.
I’ve always believed that Lebanese people are very friendly and helpful, but Jezzine’s residents will amaze you with their kindness, caring character and hospitality.
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