Syriac origin, "Knesh Shahreh", meaning "a group of watchmen"

Khenchara is a village with many traditional houses and ancient churches. This village is home to one of the most famous convents in Lebanon, the Melkite monastery of Saint John, founded between 1696 and 1697. In 1733, the deacon Abdallah Zakher founded a printing press there which will be the starting point of the Arabic writing in Lebanon and the region. The convent has an antique library containing manuscripts, some dating back to the 10th century, as well as a collection of icons scattered throughout the convent. Formerly used as a barn, the small construction that stands on the hill overlooking the monastery is now a wine cellar, neighboring 15,000 vines, where a charismatic priest produces some of the best wines, but also liqueurs and cider.

Must-do things
Architectural Heritage
  • Mar Youhanna monastery founded between 1696 and 1697 and home to the first printer in Arabic letters in the Middle East
  • Mar Youhanna el-Maamadane church dating from the 12th century (integrated to Mar Youhanna monastery)
  • Mar Nqoula church characterized by its iconostasis of oak wood (integrated to Mar Youhanna monastery)
  • A 400 year-old renovated press next to Mar Youhanna monastery
Natural Heritage
  • The beautiful surrounding pine forest
Cultural Heritage
  • A large collection of icons and an important library in Mar Youhanna convent
  • “Sahret el-Ain”: traditional musical gatherings around local products during the summer week-ends, between June and September 
  • “Drubna” trail going through the pine forest from “Tallet el-Mukarzel” hill to Mar Youhanna’s monastery
Where To Eat
  • Hillhout: a beautiful area of outdoor activities in the middle of a pine forest, where you can make your own picnic.
Nearby sites and villages
  • Mar Elias Chouaiya convent built in 1760
  • The wood of Boulogne
  • Zaarour ski resort
  • The labelled villages of Dhour Choueir, Bikfaya and Mtein