Bsharri under the snow
Bsharri under the snow
Map showing the location of Bsharri within Lebanon
Map showing the location of Bsharri within Lebanon
Location within Lebanon
Coordinates: 34°15′4″N 36°0′40″E / 34.25111°N 36.01111°E / 34.25111; 36.01111Coordinates: 34°15′4″N 36°0′40″E / 34.25111°N 36.01111°E / 34.25111; 36.01111
Country  Lebanon
Governorate North Governorate
District Bsharri District
 • Total 102.30 km2 (39.50 sq mi)
1,450 m (4,760 ft)
Highest elevation
3,088 m (10,131 ft)
Lowest elevation
1,090 m (3,580 ft)
 • Total 24,000
 • Density 230/km2 (610/sq mi)
Time zone UTC+2 (EET)
 • Summer (DST) UTC+3 (EEST)
Dialing code +961

Bsharri (Arabic: بشرّيBšarrī; Syriac: ܒܫܪܝ‎; also Romanized Becharre, Bcharre, Bsharre, (Bcharre El Arez بشرّي الارز) is a town at an altitude of about 1,450 m (4,760 ft) to 3,088 m (10,131 ft). It is located in the Bsharri District of the North Governorate in Lebanon.


Bsharri is the town of the only remaining and preserved original Cedars of God (Cedrus libani), and is the birthplace of the famous poet, painter and sculptor Khalil Gibran who now has a museum in the town to honour him. Moreover, Bsharri is home to the oldest skiing area, the Cedars Ski Resort, and to Lebanon’s first ski lift, built in 1953. The resort is about a two-hour drive and 130 km (81 mi) from Beirut. Qurnat as Sawdā Mountain in Bsharri is the highest peak in the Levant, at 3,088 meters above sea level.

Saint Saba Church Bsahrri.jpg

The nearby site of the Holy Kadisha Valley shelters some of the most ancient Christian monastic communities of the Middle East. A true heritage of Maronite Christianity in the Middle East, the town has also the biggest cathedral in the region, the Saint Saba Cathedral, built by Anthony II Peter Arida. Bsharri is sometimes called "the city of churches" as it houses some 37 churches.

The Kadisha Valley and Cedars of God comprise a UNESCO World Heritage Site.[1]


Snow in Bsharri

The name Bsharri (بشرّي), Beth Shareer, can be found in the Aramaic language. Bsharri means House of Truth in Aramaic.[citation needed] Maronite Christians fleeing persecution sought refuge in its mountainous terrain in the 7th Century AD. The Kadisha Valley, below the town, became the spiritual center of the Maronite Church. The town was known as Buissera by the Crusades.

Saint Saba street in Bsharri

In Lebanon, Bsharri natives are characterized as very courageous and tribal. They are known across the northern region for their hospitality and patriotism. They are especially known for their distinct accent when they speak Lebanese Arabic. Unlike other parts of Lebanon, Aramaic was spoken in Bsharri well into the 19th century. As a result, Bsharri natives developed an unmistakably strong accent which lasts to this day.[citation needed]

During the Lebanese civil war (1975–1990), Bsharri was a bastion of Christian resistance against the Palestinians and the Syrians. Many of its youth joined the Lebanese Phalanges at the start of the civil war. In 1986 Samir Geagea, a Bsharri native, became head of the Lebanese Forces (LF) militia (now a political party). Many LF militants were drawn from the town during the civil war.


Today, the town is located in a highly touristic zone including many attractions such as the Khalil Gibran Museum, the Kadisha Valley, the Kadisha Grotto, the Cedars of God forest and several ski resorts.

Cedars International festival, 2017

Bsharri is home to a Lebanese Red Cross First Aid Center,[2] also to "The Maronite Scouts" that started their activities in early 2000.

Bsharri, Lebanon, and Val d’Isère, France inked an agreement

On July 13, 2018, International Colombian singer of Lebanese heritage, Shakira, performed in Bsharri during the Cedars International Festival in the presence of 13,000 people. The visit was a part of her 2018 world tour, the El Dorado World Tour.

On March 22, 2019 The municipalities of Bsharri, Lebanon, and Val d’Isère, France inked an agreement to promote cultural exchange between the two towns. The cultural exchange program aims to build bridges for French and Lebanese youth that want to experience the unique cultural relationship and similarities the two countries possess. The mayor of Val d’Isère, Marc Bauer, led a French delegation to Lebanon to inaugurate a program aimed at promoting cultural and athletic exchange between the two famous ski locations.

Andrea Bocelli performed at the opening ceremony of The Cedars International Festival-Bsharri (CIF) in the presence of 8,000 people. Before the festival, Mr. Bocelli visited the Cedars of God Forest Bsharri where he was received by the head of the Lebanese Forces Party Dr Samir Geagea.

Bsharri natives are also known for their strong Christian faith. Throughout the year, many religious festivities and commemorations take place in the town attracting thousands from neighbouring villages.

Cedars ski resort

Cedars Ski Resort

The Cedars resort is located in the North of Lebanon. Skiers came to the resort as early as 1920, and have been returning there ever since. The first lift was installed by the government in 1953.

Cedars piste map

The Cedars resort has a slightly longer season than the others, sometimes beginning early November and often lasting until late April. Pisted and off-piste skiing is possible, as well as nordic skiing and skidoo rides.

Cedars Ski Resort
Skiing in the mountains of Bsharri

In summer 2005, The Cedars resort installed 3 new chairlifts to replace the old T-bars and extend the ski runs. 15 million US Dollars have lately been invested to upgrade the facilities and expand the resort to higher standard of in terms of accommodation, equipment, safety, and services.

An ongoing project envisages a gondola that would carry skiers and visitors from the parking level at 2,095 metres (6,873 ft) to the highest accessible summit of 2,870 metres (9,420 ft). There is no indication yet of when and whether will this be finalized. To comply with international regulations, a refuge with a capacity of 400 persons should also be built at the top of the gondola, and equipped with telescopes allowing vistas as far away as the island of Cyprus.[citation needed]



Dahr al-Kadib during spring time
The top of Qornet al-Sawda

Bsharri has a continental Mediterranean climate (Csb/Dsb, according to the Köppen climate classification), with dry and mild summers and cold, snowy winters. Temperatures in the summer can go above 30 °C (86 °F) a few times per year. On the other hand, temperatures can plummet to −15 °C (5 °F) and can plummet in Bsharri mountain to −30 °C (−22 °F) on some occasions during the winter. Heavy snowfall is observed every year and accumulations of over 2 m (80 in) and in Bsharri mountain 7 m (280 in) are not unheard of.



Notable residents

Antoine Arida
  • Gibran Khalil Gibran, writer, poet and visual artist born in Bsharri
  • Antoine Choueiri (August 3, 1939 – March 9, 2010), a Lebanese media executive and founder of Choueiri Group, the Middle East's largest media broker.
  • Samir Geagea (born on 25 October 1952 in Ain al-Remaneh), from the town of Bsharri in northern Lebanon, is a Lebanese politician. He is the leader of the Lebanese Forces, a Christian political party in Lebanon.
  • Danny Thomas, an American philantropist born as Amos Muzyad Yaqoob Kairouz on January 6, 1912, in Deerfield, Michigan, to Charles Yaqoob Kairouz and his wife Margaret Taouk, both immigrants from Bsharri.

See also


  1. ^ "Ouadi Qadisha (the Holy Valley) and the Forest of the Cedars of God (Horsh Arz el-Rab)". UNESCO. Retrieved 16 March 2020.
  2. ^ Our Centers Archived February 12, 2006, at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ "Climate History for Bsharri, Lebanon". Archived from the original on 3 August 2011. Retrieved 14 November 2011.

External links