February 12, 2017 Bekaa Lebanon Middle East

Rashaya: The Famous Fortress, The Longest Souk...

Rashaya, also known as Rashaya al-Wadi or Rachaya el-Wadi(and variations) is a town in Lebanon, situated in the Rashaya District and south of the Beqaa Governorate. It is situated at around 1,350 metres above sea level on the western slopes of Mount Hermon, south east of Beirut near the Syrianborder, and approximately halfway between Jezzine and Damascus

is still considered to be a traditional Lebanese town with its old cobbled streets and small shops, even though it witnessed in recent years a slight expansion of buildings. It retains a distinguished character of traditional stone houses with red tiled roofs.

The small souk in the middle of the town offers various shops selling local crafts and inexpensive goods. There is a recently renovated goldsmiths selling an assortment of gold and silver jewelry in Byzantine and other styles.

The nearby Faqaa forest is classified as a protected area and Pine nuts from the local conifertrees are used in traditional cooking.

The Al-Aryan family was a prominent part of the Druze community in Rashaya in the 19th century and a branch, now called the Aryain family still inhabit the town. Rashaya has four churches and a Druze khalwaat. There is a Greek Catholic Church and aSyriac Catholic Churchalong with the Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church.

Commonly grown crops include cherriesolivesapricots and grapes. Some wild cucumbers are also grown, however vegetables are less frequently grown due to low rainfall.Animal husbandryis also practiced, mainly with goats, of which the Labneh variety is a popular staple food for locals. Tree species such as oak, wild pistachio and sumac grow in the area. A variety of jackalsand foxessnakeslizards and rodents live in the area along with various species of migratory birds.

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