- Beirut-Lebanon   -لبنان - بيروت
- Beqaa Valley
- FrontPage Pictures from Lebanon
- Baalbek slide show
- The Umayyad ruins of Anjar Pictures 
- The Armenian Genocide FrontPage
- The Armenian Genocide
- The Sultans
- Genocide pictures
- Genocide Contemporary Articles

- The New York Times

- Diaspora community in the world

- Diaspora community in Iran

- The Armenia's Remarkable Alphabet
- Matenadaran ‘‘manuscript store’’


- The Armenian Apostolic Church
- The Armenia's History FrontPage
- Early Armenia: 900 B.C.-500 A.D.
- Medival Armenia and Cilicia. Part I
- Medival Armenia and Cilicia. Part II
- Falling to the Mongols, Turks & Persians
- Cilicia
- Urartu
- Armenia
- Ararat / Ağri Daği
- Aghtamar Island and Van Lake



Vineyards in the central Béqaa Valley


For The Umayyad ruins of Anjar Pictures


Hezbollah in Lebanon (green)



Armenian Genocide FrontPage Armenian History FrontPage Armenian Apostolic Church Lebanese FrontPage

Béqaa Valley

The Bible described Lebanon as "the land of milk and honey" because of its rich farmland, and in Roman times, Béqaa Valley was known as ‘the breadbasket of the Empire’.

Béqaa (Arabic: البقاع, "valley"; also transliterated as Béqaa, Biqâ‘ or Becaa) is a fertile valley in east Lebanon. The Romans called the Béqaa Valley the "Breadbasket of the Empire," and today it remains Lebanon’s most important farming region, and a major Shia population center in Lebanon.


Béqaa Valley lies about 1,000 meters above sea level and separates Lebanon’s two mountain ranges. It is actually an extension of the Great African Rift Valley.

The Béqaa is a fertile valley in Lebanon, located about 30 km (19 miles) east of Beirut. The valley is situated between the Mount Lebanon to the west and the Anti-Lebanon mountain ranges to the east. It forms the northeastern most extension of the Great Rift Valley, which stretches from Syria through the Red Sea into Africa. Béqaa Valley is about 120 km (about 75 miles) in length and has an average width of about 16 km (about 10 miles). It has a Mediterranean climate of wet, often snowy winters and dry, warm summers. The region receives limited rainfall, particularly in the north, because Mount Lebanon creates a rain shadow that blocks precipitation coming from the sea. The northern section has an average annual rainfall of 230 mm (9 inches), compared to 610 mm (24 inches) in the central valley. Two rivers originate in the valley: the Orontes (Asi), which flows north into Syria and Turkey, and the Litani, which flows south and then west to the Mediterranean Sea.

From the 1st century BC, when the region was part of the Roman Empire, the Béqaa Valley served as a source of grain for the Roman provinces of the Levant. 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. The valley also produces hashish and cultivates opium poppies, which are exported as part of the illegal drug trade. 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 Béqaa Valley.

Districts and towns

Zahle is the largest city and the administrative capital of the Béqaa Governorate. It lies just north of the main Beirut–Damascus highway, which bisects the valley. The majority of Zahle's residents are Lebanese Christian, including those belonging to the Armenian Apostolic Church, Melkite Greek Catholic Church, Maronite Church, and members of the Greek Orthodox Church and Muslim Sunni. The town of Anjar, situated in the eastern part of the valley, has a predominately Armenian Lebanese population and is also famous for its 8th-century Arab ruins. The majority of the inhabitants of the northern districts of Béqaa, Baalbeck and Hermel, are Lebanese Shia & Sunni, with the exception of the town of Deir el Ahmar, whose inhabitants are Christians. The western and southern districts of the valley have a mixed population of majority Sunni, Christian, and Druze Lebanese. The town of Jib Janine with a population of about 9,000, is situated midway in the valley, and its population is Muslims Sunni. Jib Janine is a governmental center of the region known as Western Béqaa, with municipal services like the emergency medical services (Red Cross), a fire department, and a courthouse.

Due to wars, poverty, unstable economic and political conditions, and failures within the agricultural sector, many previous inhabitants of the valley left for the coastal cities of Lebanon or emigrated from the country altogether.


The ancient Roman ruins of Baalbeck—probably the most famous historic site in the valley. An ancient city named for the Canaanite god Baal. The Romans renamed Baalbeck "Heliopolis" and built an impressive temple complex, including temples to Bacchus, Jupiter, Venus, and the Sun. Today, the ruins are the site of the Baalbeck International Festival, which attracts artists and performance groups from around the world.

- Our Lady of Béqaa, a Marian shrine located in Zahle, with panoramic views of the valley.

- Lebanon's tallest minaret, located in the town of Kherbet Rouha (all Sunni Muslim)

- The Sanctuary of Our Lady of Bechouat

- Phoenician Ruins, located in the village of Kamid El-Lowz(Population: Muslim Sunni)

- Roman Ruins, located in the town of Kab Elias (majority muslim Sunni)

-The Umayyad ruins of Anjar Formerly known as Gerrha, a stronghold built by Umayyad Caliph Al-Walid ibn Abdel Malek in the 8th century, the site was later abandoned, leaving a number of well-preserved ruins. (The present-day name derives from Arabic Ayn Gerrha, or "source of Gerrha".) The famous Umayyad ruins are now a World Heritage Site.


In 1939 Anjar in the Béqaa Valley was a dry, dusty land, full of insects and deseases such as Malaria. That's when 5000 Armenian refugees from Musa Dagh, Turkey, were relocated to Anjar by the help of the French navy. During the first few months in exile, more than 500 Anjarians died due to desease and malnutrition. During that time the refugees lived under tents. Later, conditions became better when water fountains and houses, with one room and an external bathroom, were built by the help of the French Government.

Anjar is also known as Haoush Mousa. It is divided into six quarters: Haji Hababli, Kabusia, Vakif, Khdr Bek, Yoghun Oluk, and Bitias. Originally, these names were the names of the six villages of Musa Dagh.
Anjar is home to the Armenian Apostolic Saint Paul Church which is the second largest Armenian church in Lebanon.
The population is about 2,400[1, consisting almost entirely of Armenians. The total area of its territory is about twenty square kilometers (7.7 square miles). 50 kilometers from the capitol of Lebanon, Beirut, with an
altitude of 950 meters from sea level. In the summer, the population swells to 3,500, as members of the Armenian Diaspora return to visit there.
The people of Anjar are heroic and hard working. Today that former dry and rugged terrain is transformed into a green land, full of trees and large beautiful houses.
Anjar is famous for its apples. There are more than 500 apple orchards and approximately 50 vineyards in Anjar. Not all Anjarians are farmers though. Some farmers rely on the sales of their crops as their primary source of income. However, the new generation of teenagers and some older people, are turning their backs to farming and looking towards other occupations, such as manufacturing of jewelry, which is the second largest industry in Anjar.
There is also a government sponsored fish farm in Anjar, where trout and other fresh water fish are raised.
A very popular place in Anjar is the spring of Anjar, where every Sunday hundreds of people from the surrounding villages gather for picnicking and dining in the famous Lebanese restaurants, where fresh water fish is served. The trout is the most popular fish.
Every year during the month of September, commemoration ceremonies take place near the monument. A similar celebration simultaneously occurs in the village of Musaler, Armenia.


Main article: Lebanese wine   


Vineyards near Zahle, in the central Béqaa Valley                                      Wine producing areas in Lebanon (red)

The Béqaa Valley is Lebanon's most important farming region. It is also home to its famous vineyards and wineries. Wine making 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 Béqaa Valley, producing over six million bottles a year.

Illicit drugs

Drugs have a long tradition in the Béqaa Valley, from the days of the Roman Empire until today cultivators and tribal drug lords working with militias built up a thriving cannabis trade. During the Lebanese civil war cannabis cultivation was a major source of income in the Béqaa valley, where most of the country's hashish (Grass in Arabic) and opium was produced, a multi billion Dollar industry fueling the agricultural sector as well as political factions and organized crime. The trade collapsed during the worldwide crackdown on narcotics led by the United States in the early 1990s. Under pressure from the U.S. State Department, the occupying Syrian Army plowed up the Béqaa's cannabis fields and sprayed them with poison. Since the mid 1990s, the culture and production of drugs in the Béqaa valley has been in steady decline, by 2002 an estimated 2,500 hectares of cannabis were limited to the extreme north of the valley, where government presence remains minimal. Every year since 2001 the Lebanese army plows cannabis fields in an effort to destroy the crops before harvest, it is estimated that this action eliminates no more than 30% of overall crops. Although important during the civil war, opium cultivation has become marginal, dropping from an estimated 30 metric tones per year in 1983 to negligible amounts in 2004.

Due to increasing political unrest that weakened the central Lebanese government during 2006 (Israel attacks on Lebanon) and 2007 (Opposition boycott of the government) and due to the lack of viable alternatives (U.N. promises of irrigation projects and alternative crop subsidies that never materialized) drug cultivation and production have significantly increased, but remains a fraction of civil war era production and limited north of the Town of Baalbeck, where the rule of tribal law protecting armed families is still strong.

Lebanon’s breadbasket

Farming remains a way of life for many Lebanese families, and agricultural products still generate 12% of the country’s GDP. Béqaa valley is Lebanon’s most important farming region - 40% of households run small family farms here.

Main crops in Béqaa Valley

  Approximate area in hectares
Cereals (wheat, barley) 300,000
Vegetables (potatoes, tomatoes, cucumbers) 260,000
Fruit (citrus, grapes, apples, apricots) 220,000
‘Industrial crops’ (sugar beet, tobacco) 150,000
Olives 32,000

 Additional Information:      



Copyright © 2008 www.kaloustian.nl - www.kaloustian.eu. All Rights Reserved.