Miziara is a village in Lebanon that is perched on a hilltop almost a kilometer above sea level. At first glance, the village appears to be like other scenic towns in the country. But when you walk or drive around Miziara, you’ll notice several unusual houses. There’s even one made from the remnants of an old airplane. Speaking of driving and walking, doing both activities in this village is a pleasant experience thanks to its well-manicured and organized roads. This characteristic offers a stark contrast to Beirut, Lebanon’s capital, located just two hours away. To get here, you will need to go north headed towards Tripoli via the coastal highway. The follow the road to Miziara after taking the Chekka-Amioun exit.
There’s more to Mizriara though than just uncanny houses. Read on to know more about this quaint little place.
Horsh Ehden Nature Reserve
Nature lovers will have a field day at Miziara. Not to be missed is the Horsh Ehden Nature Reserve, which is located just 10 minutes away from the town center. It is known to have more than a thousand plant species, which makes up nearly half of all the native plants in Lebanon. If you’re there, make sure to check out the Lebanon cedar, an iconic symbol of the country. Wild animals abound in the reserve as well, and if you’re lucky, you’ll get to spot golden jackals and red foxes. If you want to go on a hike, you need to call in advance to book a local guide.
If you want to go for a relaxing walk or a jog in the early morning or afternoon, then a trip to Bnachii lake will satisfy your aspiration. The path surrounding the lake provides a perfect setting for a leisurely stroll or an intense run if you want. When you tire of walking, you can hire a pedalos or a boat for a quiet time on the water.
Wildlife Taxidermy Museum
After your boat ride at Bnachii Lake, you can visit the Wildlife Taxidermy Museum, which is home to more than 3,000 stuffed wild animals. It’s an excellent place to learn about the endemic animals in Miziara and Lebanon, such as reptiles, birds, sea creatures, and mammals. If you are in the area around Christmas-time, you’ll be able to catch a grand festival on the museum’s grounds. The whole place comes alive (except for the stuffed animals, of course) with big colorful holiday decorations and a lively market.
Our Lady of Miziara, Mother of Mercies
If you are into history and religion, a trip to Miziara will not be complete without a visit to its famous Marian shrine, Our Lady Miziara. It is located right at the entrance of the village so you won’t miss it. Even if you are not a Catholoic or a Christian, you’ll surely appreciate the beautiful architecture as well as the intricate and almost lifelike statues of Mary, Jesus, angels, and other saints.
A trip to Miziara is a worthwhile side trip to take if you are going to Lebanon. You can also go directly to Miziara and skip Lebanon altogether, then that’s perfectly fine as well.