850 to 1600m


Syriac origin, "Rishoyo", meaning "The first"

Rachaya el-Wadi is located in the heart of the valley of “ Wadi al-Taym”, at the foot of Mount Hermon. Visitors are quickly conquered by its picturesque setting, its rich heritage, the generous welcome of its inhabitants and the skills of its craftsmen silver jewelry manufacture. The center is characterized by a beautiful paved souk which extends over 250 m. Rachaya also stands out for its traditional Lebanese houses, some of which are typical of the region with their small windows on red-tiled roofs. On the heights of the village, stands the historic citadel of Rachaya that testifies to its rich and long history, culminating at the independence of Lebanon in 1943.

Must-do things
Architectural Heritage
  • The 18th century citadel which became in 1943 the cradle of Lebanon’s independence
  • The old churches of Mar Nqoula, El-Saydeh, Mar Moussa el-Habachi from the 17th century and Saydet el-Khalas
  • The old paved souk
  • Southern typical traditional houses
Natural Heritage
  • Mount Hermon, also known as Jabal el-Sheikh, rising to 2814m
  • The cedar and pine forest planted in the early 20th century
Cultural Heritage
  • Local crafts specialized in the production of silver jewelry
  • The manufacture of stoves to warm up in winter
  • The cheese products including goat’s labneh
  • The grape molasses and grape molasses syrup production
  • The honey production from Mount Hermon
  • The production of Lawziyyeh cookies or “Almond shortbread cookies”
  • The local herbal tea prepared with Meghly spices and pepper
  • The local culinary specialties: Balila bel Laban (Chickpeas stewed with cumin, lemon juice and yoghurt) ; Khabbousseh (turnovers cooked with fat and molasses grapes)
  • A night pilgrimage to the summit of Mount Hermon organized by the municipality every August 6 for the festival of Eid el-Rab or Al-Tajalli (Transfiguration)
  • A hike with a guide (essential) on the trail leading to Mount Hermon, a major site of history and mythology
  • The hiking trail, section 24, Kawkaba Bou Aarab-Rachaya, 5 km (LMT association)
Where To Eat
  • Machhour: a good Lebanese cuisine in a simple and friendly setting below the village.
Nearby sites and villages
  • Several surrounding Roman temples, including Ain-Harcha
  • The ancient sites of Kamed el-Lawz and Al-Manara
  • The villages of Ain Aata, Kfarmechki (with its Roman remains) and Mhaidtheh, overlooking Mount Hermon and Wadi al-Taym that extends from the Beqaa Valley to Galilee in Palestine
  • The great village of Hasbaya, cradle of the Chehab dynasty, and its citadel