NNA – Hermel is considered to be the top Lebanese region in terms of ecotourism. It is blessed by God-given natural attributes that distinguish it from other regions.
On the outskirts of Hermel, in a deep valley carved amidst rocks lying at the foot of a mountain chain, gushes Al-Assi River from several fountains, mainly Ain El Zarka and Dafash stream, which, with its flooding water, gives Assi River a charming splendor. To the right lies Mar Maroun Monastery, with all its antiquity, holiness, and historical significance. Indeed it has a historical significance, one of the days of Saint Maroun and his disciples who blessed this region that was their fortress in the face of difficulties.
In front of the monastery, Hermel Pyramid stands erect on a hill, so that for caravans it is a guide, travellers a beacon, and for everyone a motivator to take a closer look at this historic landmark overlooking Hermel, Qaa, and their plains. From the same hill, to the east, you can see the bordering villages and their plains. You can see the historic remains in Labweh and Iaat, near Baalback, a sight that adds ever more interesting possibilities to these landmarks.
After the Pyramid, there is the Hermel Entrance, adorned by The Triumphant Arch, colorful flowers, and green trees, into Assi Valley, whose water flows gracefully to plant goodness and beauty on its banks. Along its banks are cafes, restaurants, trout fish aquariums, and parks. Some of them kept their simplicity, some of them adopted a modern, commercial style, but all of them embrace occasions and weddings, offering the newest dishes in a calm, natural atmosphere.
To Alshawaghir town that resides on the east shoulder of Assi River, all the way to a valley in which, with its magnificent nature, manifests the glory of the Creator, the Assi River flows. It flows amidst a deep valley surrounded by willow trees that touch the water, dangling sprigs of grapes, and apricot trees after which the town is named… not to mention the blessed olive trees and poplars that spread out in clusters near ornamental trees of cafes. Meanwhile, rafting boats penetrate far into Assi River, reaching places only this river can reach with its flooding, clean water. It reaches waterfalls that add joy to this great sport, all while clubs and restaurants along the stream offer most delectable meals.
The trout fish aquariums and farms are spread according to the latest technical and health requirements. Alshawaghir municipality’s projects, in cooperation with local associations, add a certain glamour to these aquariums and farms by modernizing routes and setting up decorative walls. Many tributaries glide from the springs, reinforcing Assi River with fresh water that residents use for vegetables and other crops, a means of support for village life.
Considered to be the best spot for those longing to go back into the arms of nature is the nearby Hermel highland with its various trees, most notably the juniper. Hermel and Akkar highlands intersect with Wadi Jahannam and the Mediterranean at an altitude up to 3000 m.
“The highland is an all-in-one package of tourism in the arms of nature, getting to know the environmental surroundings, practicing sports, and exploring unique species of flowers, grasses, and the mesmerizing nature. All this is achieved along with modern offerings, like solar light and public services, while preserving the environment and natural surroundings,” confirmed Hussein Alwa, an entrepreneur.
As for Deputy Mayor of Jewar al Hashish, Ali Jaafar, he considers Hermel highlands to have become, in addition to its God-given blessings, security, and stability, a destination to which visitors from various regions gravitate.
The head of El Cherbine municipality referred to the rare traces, especially in Brissa, which date back to old generations, on whose plate is written “Nebuchadnezzar History of Conquests.”
Deputy Mayor of Hermel, Issam Blaibel, hopes that Hermel and Assi River “be a destination of guests for spending the most joyful time and that they enjoy the generosity and hospitality of the people of the region.”