Home Ouadi Qadisha and the Forest of the Cedars of God, Lebanon

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Kadisha Valley, Lebanon
Kadisha Valley, Lebanon
Brian Dell

Ouadi Qadisha and the Forest of the Cedars of God is a World Heritage Site in Lebanon. Also called Kadisha Valley or Qadisha Valley, the Ouadi Qadisha (translated as Holy Valley) is a deep gorge in the districts of Becharre and Zgharta in the North Governorate of Lebanon. It is located at the foot of Mount al-Makmal. The valley is carved by the Kadisha River (also written Nahr Qadisha), which starts in a cave or grotto, and passes through the Forest of the Cedar of God.

Qadisha Valley, Lebanon
Qadisha Valley, Lebanon
Francesco Mazzucotelli

The significance of Ouadi Qadisha lies in its historical use as shelter for Christian monasteries in centuries past. In fact, the grottos have been in use since Paleolithic times. The Aassi Hauqqa cave near Hawqa has yielded evidence of human habitation in the Paleolithic period as well as during later times, including the Roman and medieval periods. Christian monastic communities have also used the cave since the earliest years of Christianity.

In 1991, archaeologists uncovered eight well-preserved mummies in the Qadisha Valley. These mummies are of Maronite villagers. They date back to 1283 AD and were buried with a wealth of funerary items.

Forest of the Cedars of God, Lebanon
Forest of the Cedars of God, Lebanon

The Forest of the Cedar of God is a remnant of the ancient Cedars of Lebanon forest. Within this forest are 375 trees, two of which are said to be over 3,000 years old, and ten over 1,000 years old. They are some of the oldest trees to have been described in ancient manuscripts. The Israelites are believed to have used the hard wood of the cedar from this forest when they built the First and Second temples in Jerusalem.

Ouadi Qadisha and the Forest of the Cedars of God was inscribed as a World Heritage Site during the 22nd session of the World Heritage Committee in Kyoto, Japan, 30 November - 5 December, 1998.

World Heritage Site Inscription Details

Location: N34 14 35.988 E36 2 56.004
Inscription Year: 1998
Type of Site: Cultural
Inscription Criteria: III, IV

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