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Bekaa is a fertile valley in east Lebanon. The Romans considered the Bekaa Valley to be a major agricultural source, and today it remains Lebanon’s most important farming region and a major Shia population center in Lebanon.
Today the valley makes up 40 percent of Lebanon’s arable land. The northern end of the valley, with its scarce rainfall and less fertile soils, is used primarily as grazing land by pastoral nomads, mostly migrants from the Syrian Desert. Farther south, more fertile soils support crops of wheat, corn, cotton, and vegetables, with vineyards and orchards centered around Zahle. Since 1957 the Litani hydroelectricity project-a series of canals and a dam located at Lake Qaraoun in the southern end of the valley-has improved irrigation to farms in Bekaa Valley.
Bekaa is also rich in archaeology and history has left some of its most famous monuments scattered all over this region.
. The Aammiq Wetland habitat for a myriad of migrating and resident birds and butterflies
. The Umayyad ruins of Anjar
. The ancient Roman ruins of Baalbek,
. The Sanctuary of Our Lady of Bechouat.Hermel has two interesting sites:
.Zahle was once called “The Bride of the Bekaa” because of its natural beauty and marvelous scenery. Located on the banks of the Bardouni River where there are many riverside restaurants famous for their cuisine.
. Our Lady of Bekaa, a Marian shrine located in Zahle, with panoramic views of the valley.
. Roman Ruins, located in the town of Kab Elias
. Phoenician Ruins, located in the village of Kamid El-Lowz
. Lebanon’s tallest minaret, located in the town of Kherbet Rouha
The Bekaa Valley is Lebanon’s most important farming region. It is also home to its famous vineyards and wineries. Winemaking is a tradition that goes back 6000 years in Lebanon. With an average altitude of 1000 m above sea level, the valley’s climate is very suitable to vineyards. Abundant winter rain and much sunshine in the summer helps the grapes ripen easily. There are more than a dozen wineries in the Bekaa Valley, producing over six million bottles a year.
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