Located just 20 minutes north of Beirut, the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lebanon offers breathtaking views, day or night, of the Lebanese coast below.
A true “national and religious” monument, this Maronite church is located in the small village of Harissa, at an altitude of 650 m, above the town Jounieh, and in addition to its religious character, it is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Lebanon. Tourists from all over the world flock there, whatever their religion.
The idea of building the sanctuary of Our Lady of Lebanon originally belongs to the late Maronite Patriarch Elias EL-HOYEK, Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, and His Excellency the Apostolic Nuncio in Lebanon and in Syria Bishop Carlo DUVAL.
Designated Our Lady of Lebanon (Our Lady Of Lebanon in English) after consultation with bishops and priests, the sanctuary was erected on the "Rock", a marvelous hill overlooking Jounieh and the Mediterranean Sea, overlooking Beirut and the mountain.
The huge statue of Mary, called "Our Lady of Lebanon" or "the Virgin of Lebanon", was inaugurated in 1908. It comes from France and is entirely cast in bronze. It measures 8.5 meters high by 5 meters in diameter, and weighs 15 tons.
The sanctuary was built in 1904 for the 50th anniversary of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception. Inside the base of the statue is a small chapel. Right next to it is the Maronite Cathedral, built entirely of concrete and glass.
The impressive statue is accessed via a cable car linking Harissa to Jounieh, during a route offering magnificent views of the entire Lebanese coast. But you can also get there by car (10 minutes from Jounieh).
This place of pilgrimage is a must to visit during a stay in Lebanon. Some even say it is a sin to leave the country without having visited this mountain.