The Sun City in the Vigilant Valley

shrine

The shrine of Sayyida Khawla, in Baalbek, Lebanon

The ring of steel surrounding the great shrine of Sayyida Khawla, daughter of Imam Hussein and great granddaughter of the prophet Muhammad, is an indication of the vigilance being shown in the Bekaa Valley these days. Whether because it is the month of Ramadan, or the growing security threat the valley’s Shia residents face from terrorist groups operating on the border in Syria, the shrine was well-guarded on my trip to the area.

The Temple of Bacchus, "the small temple"

The Temple of Bacchus, “the small temple”

A two hour car ride from Beirut to Bekaa will net you almost a dozen security checkpoints along the way. Many of the checkpoints are manned by local militias, while some are  maintained by the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF). You’re quickly waved through them all as a foreign tourist, and despite calls from friends and family living back in Beirut to stay away, you feel perfectly safe walking through the small towns nestled within and the tourist destinations, like the Roman ruins.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s