Qadisha, one of the deepest and most beautiful valleys in Lebanon, is indeed a world apart. At the bottom of this wild, steep-sided gorge runs the Qadisha River, whose source is in the Qadisha Grotto at the foot of the Cedars. Above the valley and famous Cedar grove towers Qornet Es-Saouda, Lebanon's highest peak.
The Qadisha Valley begins at Bcharré village, which marks the start of a deep geological fault whose extending valleys reach out of sight. All the accumulated water from these smaller valleys flows into the Qadisha River, which runs through the valley towards Tripoli and the sea. At Tripoli, the name of this river changes to the Abou Ali River. The name Abou Ali is related to the name Fakhr el Mulk Abi Ali Ibn Ammar, who was the last Emir of Tripoli during the Fatimid period at the dawn of the Crusades.
The Qadisha Valley houses some of the most important early Christian monastic settlements in the world. Rock-cut chapels, grottoes, and hermitages, many painted with frescoes dating back to the 12th and 13th centuries, are tucked into the steep walls. Among the notable monasteries located in the valley are the Monastery of Mar Antonios Qozhaya, the Monastery of Saydet Haouqa, the Monastery of Qannoubine, and the Monastery of Mar Elisha.