Day 10~ February 10~ Lebanon

By ( 31 )

valley of the saints

“Kadisha”, the name given to this valley and to the river that runs in its belly. Kadisha is ancient Aramaic for ‘holy’. This gorge has been used for burials and shelter as far back as the Paleolithic time. In its walls are thousands of caves that house monasteries, churches, thousands of meters high up in the cliffs and extremely difficult to reach. These served as a place of hiding for early Christian communities like the Jacobites, Melchites, Maronites, Armenians, Nestorians and Ethiopans who were escaping campaigns aiming to persecute and destroy them in the 13th Century by the Mameluks and other Sultans. Later it even became a place of meditation to the Sufis, historians, artists and clergy who settled in the valley. On its shoulders lies the village of Gibran Khalil Gibran.

One of my favorite churches as a child was a in the middle of a cliff facing our village in the valley and I remember the excitement every time a pilgrimage was planned to the church with family members and friends. The journey involved a very long walk down one side of the valley, pausing to have a meal at the cold fresh river to then hike up the other side on a tiny, steep, red soil track with the occasional olive tree, all the way up to the church, now a monastery. We all believed as children that the church was a place of miracles and we swore to seeing lights, visions and all sorts of magical things along the way.

The valley was and still is an enchanting memory that has a special place in the archives of my heart. I try to pass this to my daughter by taking her there whenever we can and telling her stories of what was, hoping that the spirit of the holy valley will choose to live with her too.

Categories: lebanon, life, PhotographyTags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

31 comments

  1. The man at the center of the story is Monte Wildhorn (Morgan Freeman).
    Act with confidence and maintain a laid-back attitude.

  2. Hi, Cool post. I’ll be your regular visitor.

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  5. Hello there! This article couldn’t be written any better!

    Going through this article reminds me of my previous roommate!

    He always kept preaching about this. I will send this post to him.
    Pretty sure he will have a great read. Thanks for sharing!

  6. Wow! As always your narrative is incredible. And this image soooooo makes me want to travel here. Beautiful image. To me the image itself suggests a celebration of spirit.

  7. the Christian-Jewish sects not adhering to Byzantium Empire orthodox Church were fleeing from the persecutions of their own other Christian sects starting in 350 and culminating in the year 1,000. All these “heretic” Christian sects fled to Iraq (under Persia Empire) and beyond all the way to China, and to the Arabic Peninsula and the mountain chains in north Lebanon…And not from the Mameluks…

    • The Maronites who fled to the mountains, had to hold back both, the Arabs and the forces of the Byzantine Empire.

      • It was not the Mameluks who drove the “Maronite” to settle in northern mount Lebanon. The Mameluks forced the Maronite back to their mountains in order to secure the seashore from further Cruisading campaigns as the Maronite (allied to the Pope of Rome) eased their ways to the coastal regions during the Cruisade period…A correction so that we dismiss this religious ideological trend between Christians and Moslems in Lebanon: we should strive to be citizens, and erect a central power and not 18 officially recognized self-autonomous sects defining our civil status and our identity… Enjoying your blog.

      • Dear Adonis, there are absolutely no political insinuations behind my writings, especially where religion in concerned. The text and information behind my photos is mean to give a canvas of location no more no less. Thank you for your great comments and obvious rich stock of historical and factual references, and thank you for caring enough to correct me 🙂

  8. Excellent photo and text, Mimo – and what beautiful country! Adrian

  9. Very beautiful image….and perfect for the subject/words of the post..

  10. What a neat photo full of the magic that you experienced as a child. I love reading your words about your homeland as it means so much to you. A very special quality.

  11. very interesting post Mimo – thanks for sharing.

  12. This is so wonderful, that I returned to this page today to look and read again.

  13. So much history going back so many centuries. We just don’t have that here in Australia being such a ‘new’ country. Incredible image.

  14. I stared at this image this morning for a long time. So amazing. Thank you!

  15. Beautiful pic and land … and someday sharing stories with your daughter will be meaningful … and in time, he will understand.

  16. So beautiful, Mimo.

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