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Posts tagged ‘beauty’

Qnat, fille des dieux

Qnat is a small village on the road between Beirut and Cedars, you pass by it after crossing Aabdine and before reaching Hadath el Jebbe. Unfortunately, or fortunately I am not sure, the road never crosses through the village itself, and I got used to watching it from above, while driving up the mountains or down.


Qnat village from above

Qnat became a center-point for me and my family; you know how when you’re driving from one area to another, you keep calling your parents to tell them you reached this area, and now crossing to another; Qnat became one of these on-the-road-points of recognition.

Until recently I never even thought of entering the village in itself, fearing that seeing the view from down there might be different from the beauty I usually see, and decided to keep it that way.

Nearly a year ago signs were added to each village, giving travelers a distance perspective from the point where they are to the point they want to reach (which is a new concept for these villages; and still we Lebanese managed to mix up some of these road signs); on Qnat’s sign a new phrase was added: “Qnat, fille des dieux” (daughter of the Gods); so I decided to research it but found nothing. Google and Wikipedia let me down on this one, there was no mention whatsoever of the name Qnat with any ancient gods.


New sign for qnat on the road side

I guess it’s just a way for the villagers to define their village; and I have to say watching it is quite beautiful; it feels like it just came out of a history book. Needless to say most villages in Lebanon have this effect on us, when looking at it from above, but once we seep through it we see the filth, the desperation, the everyday troubles, and the real face of the area.

I’m still thinking of roaming through it one of these days, but I haven’t got the guts to yet. Any advice on what to do?


On the road to Arez

Having grown up between the Cedars and Beirut, I developed a natural longing for the mountains more than the beach. I’m not introversive, I just enjoy the peace and silence it provides me with, the open panorama and the endless landscapes, the views and the seasons; it is my definition of heaven.

But it is not only the destination that I love, but the road going up as well. Lately small highways are being built passing around the villages, to avoid people getting stuck inside each village, especially on Sundays during “kazdoura time” (promenade time) when villagers walk/drive around their village streets in a circle, stop here and there to chat, sit on the streets with their arguilehs and gossip.

These new roads, of course, make your drive up easier, with less traffic, but I still enjoy passing through each and every one of them on my way up. It gives me the spirit of belonging, it defines the areas that I have to go through to reach my heaven; it’s the little annoying things that make it so familiar.

Take for example the new road from Bcharre to the Cedars, it’s not exactly a highway, but it fits two cars easily, it has small walls on the sides to stop a drifting car from ending up at the bottom of the valley, and it’s an open road.
But I still prefer the old road, which is mostly used during storms, since the new road gets covered from strong winds every 5 minutes. Here is a short video of me driving up that road, it’s too beautiful to describe, yet people prefer the highway roads.

Another example is the highway built under the village of hadath el jebbeh up north, the road is safer than that of the village, but I still tend to drift through the village, especially around Christmas, for they have these beautiful decorations, yet extremely simple, that gets put up each year. Stars, stars on trees, stars on balconies, stars on road signs, and stars hanging off the roofs of the houses.

Unfortunately I do not currently have a picture, but will post it soon enough since Christmas is almost here with a pin-back to this post.



From these images you can see how the old vs. the new roads don’t vary much when you look at the distance from one spot to the other. It’s the view and the surrounding.

Of course when in a hurry the highway roads sound better than the village roads, and most Lebanese people are endlessly in a hurry for some reason, and no reason sometimes; but the spirit of the Lebanese villages, the calmness, the hospitality, and the recognition of a place cannot happen through highways, driving 100 km/h, and not taking the time to adopt the surroundings.

So when alone, or driving with my mum on a beautiful calm day, with nothing behind us, the small roads between the villages are always a must-take, just to be able to enjoy the beautiful and untouched landscaped and history of my country.

If you ever drive to the Cedars, try and take these little roads, and see how relaxed you are by the time you reach your destination. It’s simply mesmerising!


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