If you live somewhere in the West, you’ve probably only heard bad things about Lebanon.
You’ve heard it’s dangerous, full of Muslim extremists waiting to kidnap you, that it’s way too radical, and that an European solo female traveler should never ever go there, because there is no reason to anyway.
If you live somewhere in the West, you’ve probably been lied to about Lebanon a lot.
I’m not any kind of expert, but I went to Lebanon by myself and loved it a lot. It wasn’t the easiest of my trips – the traffic is insane and there is no infrastructure for tourists, so you need to research and plan a lot. All that said, there are two things you don’t need to be worried about – your safety as a tourist (as long as you stick to common sense) and the sights to head to.
One of the rather interesting spots to visit on a half day trip from Beirut is Harissa. It’s located just 27 kilometres from the capital. You can get there by either public transport or a taxi.
You might be a little disappointed if you are expecting minarets and mosques here. On the contrary, Harissa is a very important Christian pilgrimage site dedicated to Our Lady of Lebanon.
This shrine indicates the ethnic and religious melange of the place which is already a reason to go there on your Middle Eastern trips. Lebanon can be portrayed as a state of incredible diversity and it’s our work as to travel bloggers to contribute to this refreshed image of this country.
The statue of Our Lady of Lebanon aka Notre Dame du Liban is a 13 meter-high monument of Virgin Mary made of bronze and painted white (and brought all they way from France, too). It was erected in 1907 and stands on a top of a hill overlooking the coast and outskirts of Beirut.
There is no need to climb up, pilgrims and tourists can just take a cable car and enjoy scenic views of the city’s skyline and the sea as they go up.
I’ve accidentally ended up in Harissa right before the sunset, which was one of the best things that happened to me on my Lebanese trip.
I’m not the person who overshares all these sweet pictures of the sun going down, but I can make an exception for you, Lebanon, because why not.
And because you deserve more tourists.
And because you treated me well.
And because I didn’t expect to encounter an oversized statue of Virgin Mary in the Middle East.
And the list goes on.
Now, it’s time for a little checklist. Have you ever heard about Harissa? Have you been to Lebanon? Would you like to go? Why or why not? Is there anything you would like to know traveling in the country?