Miziara – Brilliant fusion of artistry and architecture

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To say that Miziara has become my favorite Lebanese village would be an understatement. It has been a while since we’ve been on a trip to the north and we chose to visit Miziara based on a colleague’s recommendation who’s from the village. Located in Zgharta district, and overlooking a big part of the northern Lebanese coast, Miziara is actually formed of four villages: Miziara, Harf Miziara, Houmeis and Sakhra. An interesting bit of information about Miziara is the etymology of its name which is made up of the words Min and Ziara. In fact, a popular tradition regarding Miziara goes like this (src. wikipedia):

There was a beautiful legendary forest. People visited it like we visit ruins and shrines nowadays. A rocky cave in the forest was turned into a niche in the name of Virgin Mary; candles and oil lanterns were always lit. If by chance along the way you met an acquaintance coming from the forest and asked him, where were you? The answer would surely be Min Al Ziara, meaning from the visit to Virgin Mary’s forest. But like all native accents, changing a vocabulary, letters flying into thin air, it became known as Miziara.

Getting there

The trip to Miziara takes around 1 hour 50 minutes. Starting from Beirut as usual, the easiest route to take is the coastal highway towards Jbeil and continuing further north until you reach Chekka where you should take the highway exit. We chose to pass by Bnachii lake, so after Chekka w continued towards Amioun, KfarSaroun, Bsarma, Darayia, Arjess before arriving to Bnachii Lake. Leaving Bnachii, its an easy drive uphill towards Iaal (ايعال‎) and then Miziara will welcome you. Check the embedded Google map for the straight route from Beirut to Miziara.

Our Journey

We arrived at Chekka around 11 a.m. The roads in the area are well paved (the roads in Iaal are not) and very well maintained specially the main road leading to Bnachii lake. We got to the lake at 11:30, and spent around 30 minutes there. Having been to the lake last year, we chose not try any activities this year which are mostly limited to renting pedal boats and getting a ride in the horse carriage. We honestly feel that the lake requires much more attention, in order to keep it a source of attraction since the water is pretty dirty and actually unappealing to look at.

We left Bnachii towards Miziara and the weather was starting to get gloomy. About 25 min later, we arrived at our destination. From the moment we saw that big “Welcome to Miziara” sign onward, our journey started to feel a little more special. Something about this village breathes tranquility, an undisturbed feel of serenity that I believe was even apparent in the photos we took. Our first stop in Miziara was at Our Lady Mother of Mercies shrine. Just to be clear, if you are to visit Miziara, passing by the shrine is a MUST. In addition to the Virgin Mary statue that stands at the entrance of the village, The shrine includes sculptural representation of many events in the life of the Christ such as the Baptism, the wedding at Cana, the Last Supper and the Crucifixion.

We left the Shrine amazed by the beauty and artistry we had just witnessed, only to be amazed again by the appeal of the village itself, the cleanliness of its roadways, the countless sculptures of villagers and farmers at the side of the roads, and lastly the jaw-dropping architecture of the mansions, villas and even chateaux along the way. Cruising in the streets of Miziara (some streets are named after Nigerian cities which is no coincidence given that a lot of the village’s locals are actually expatriates having businesses in Nigeria), we were truly flabbergasted by the architectural ingenuity of the residences we came across.

We continued our drive towards Harf Miziara and along the way we stumbled upon a beautiful old Cedar, surrounded by a fence and which seemed to be carefully looked after. At that point unfortunately, The fog and rain forced us to put an end to our road trip.

I’ll end this post the same way I started it: Miziara has become my favorite Lebanese village. It is very exceptional to come across a village as beautiful, as charming, as artistic and as carefully taken care of by its locals as the village of Miziara.

Our Recommendations

  • You will pass by many eateries on you trip. We decided to try Pizza Napoli (Amioun branch) and we are glad we did. We recommend you do as well.
  • We always advise to use Google maps for easy navigation to your destination. However, you should be aware that Google always gives you the shortest route first, not the easiest. That is what we found out on our way back from Miziara towards Pizza Napoli as we were driving on a not-so-well paved road in the middle of an olive trees field.

Happy Roadtripping!

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  • Jimmy

    It is also the place where Gilbert Chagoury and his gang of Lebanese exploiters, slave labour practitioners, money launderers and criminals living in Nigeria and Africa originate from.

  • Hiba Nehme

    I’m very interested to know if we can enter the airplane house or the pyramid that are in this village or we can just take pictures from the outside? It’s stunning btw I can’t wait to visit this place looks beautiful!

    • Hiba Nehme

      Can I have a reply on this please