• Casa: Jbail
  • Distance from Beirut: 60 km
  • Altitude: 1300- 1900 m
  • Access: Jbail- Amchit – Gharfine – Obaydet – Makra – Lehfed – Jaj Or Jbail – Obaydet – Hakel – Al Kharbeh – Lehfed.
General and historical information

Jaj means the “summit” or “head”. The summits of the mountain are adorned with cedars known as the “Cedars of the Lord”. The scientific name of these cedars is “Cedrus Libani”. Jaj gained its tourist celebrity from its cedars located at 40 minutes from the town. Discovered monuments figured that Jaj contained Phoenician monuments; a citadel built from stones with no lime, “July temple”, destroyed in 325 AD, a part of the temple still existing with its big rocks. The names of the places indicate the nobility of the town; the name Massita, meaning, in Phoenician, “the feast”.  Jaj had offered three patriarchs to the Maronite church and to Lebanon, who led the Maronite church to the port of salvation during one of the hardest historical periods.

1) Patriarch Youhanna Al-Jaji the first, who died in 1245.

2) Patriarch Daoud (1367-1404)

3) Patriarch Youhanna Al-Jaji  Al Kabir (1404-1445)

Monuments and sites to visit
  • Mar Abda Parish Church (St. Abdon):

Built on the ruins of a pagan temple where its landmarks are still visible. It was rebuilt in 1888. One can notice a crown column in the church where the face of the God “July” and the head of two oxen are engraved. Beside the church stands an oak tree 500 years old whose trunk has a circumference of 10 m, also there’s a half sculpture for the Patriarch Youhanna Al Jaji Al Kabir (1404-1445), who moved the Patriarchate from Mayfouk to Qannoubine to escape persecution. Contact Mr. Assaad Francis for the key (76/ 304 898)

  • Al Tajalli Church (Transfiguration of the Lord):

Situated on top of the mountain, this church can be reached only on foot. It was built in the 19th century on the ruins of a pagan temple, and renovated in two stages after that.

 

  • Mar Yaacoub Church (St. Jacob the Dismembered):

Built in 1850. It used to be an ancient ruined fortress that dated to the time of the Crusaders. Contact Mr. Assaad Francis for the key (76/ 304 898)

 

  • Saydet Al Najat Old Church (Our Lady of Deliverance):

Built during the second half of the 19th century. It is a small barrel-vaulted church. It has one altar with an altarpiece representing Our Lady of Deliverance.

 

  • Saydet Al Najat New Church (Our Lady of Deliverance):

Built next to the old church. The altar is made of carved stones. The altarpiece represents the Virgin Mary and various stages in the life of Jesus. Contact Mr. Philip Al Samarani for the key (03/761 524)

 

  • Mar Doumit Church (St. Doumit):

It was built next to the old monastery consecrated to St. Doumit, which dates from the 12th century. The stones of this monastery were used for the construction of the church during the 19th century.

 

  • Mar Youssef Church

 

  • The Cedars Reserve of Jaj:

It contains 172 cedar trees, some thousands of years old and the others not less than 500 years. The highest point is around 1998 m.

Upon his visit to this site, Amin Al Rihani wrote: “we walked around the forest, situated on a rectangular slope. This forest embraces forty cedars or more, five of which are huge and very old, with a diameter of seven meters and about thirty meter height. These cedars grow in an unusual way …The trunk, after one or two meters of height, it is accommodated in growth, and another trunk grew up over the first one, its diameter is wider than the first one by two or three meters, so that the lower part of the tree looks like a round table, from which rise the huge branches that grow up to twenty-five meters of height…”. Kings and prophets praised the Cedars of Jaj: “I bought a cargo of forty ships loaded with cedars, of which I built three ships.” confirmed the Pharaoh Sin-fro.  The bridge of Jaj at the mouth of the river indicates that the wood cut from the forest of cedars in Jaj crossed the river between the towns and reached the city of Jbail.

Roman inscriptions were found in the mountain of Jaj. These inscriptions warn the inhabitants against cutting these trees, during the reign of roman emperor Adriano’s Augustus. On one of the tree’s trunk, the inhabitant of Jbail spread the alphabet and civilization to the world. 2500 cedar plants were planted by funds from the Monarchy of Monaco in 2002. Also the Church of the Lord was renovated and road wages were introduced in the forest.

 

  • Our Lady Park beside Mar Abda Church
Local products and agriculture

Local agriculture: Apples, grapes, cherry, nuts.

Local products: Honey, olive oil, homemade jam

Local activities

Walking trails: Jaj municipality (09/725 600)

Mar Abda festival: August 31st, 4-5 days in the church square;

Father Ayman (03/ 893 983)

Al Tajalli celebrations: August 6, Jaj Cedars. Father. Ayman (03/ 893 983)

Cedars’ Festivals: during the month of August (exhibitions, musical programs);

Jaj Municipality: 09/725 600

Educational events in the educational center:

For info contact Ms, Nathalie Abboud (76/ 193 036)

The exhibition of the artist Botros Farhat (03/ 254 283)

A visit to a traditional house with antique furniture:

Mr. Raymond Yohanna (70/ 166 299)

Food and beverages

Sama Jaj restaurant: Mr. Michel Azar (70/540 223)

Al Arz snack: Mr. Michel Abboud (70/ 125 966)

Jardin des Roches restaurant: (03/340 658)

Lodging places

There are Picnic places in Mar Abda square.  There are also many other camping places, but you should ask permissions from the owners. Contact Jaj municipality: (09/725 600)

Local guides

Ms. Daad Samarani: (76/ 560 205)

Ms. Larine Akl: (71/ 526 117)

Additional information

Dispensary of the Ministry of Social Affairs (09/725 577)

Gas station: (09/725 567)