The Biblical village of Qana Al-Jalil, or Cana, in the heart of southern Lebanon, is home to sacred sites and historical relics that make it a top destination for pilgrims and tourists alike. This has officially placed Qana, and rightfully so, on the map of religious tourism in Lebanon.
#1 Qana hosts the relics of large Vats of the time of Christ
As reported in the Bible, these large water barrels hosted Christ’s first recorded miracle when he transformed the water into wine at the Wedding of Qana.
#2 The prophet Al-Jalil has a sanctuary in Qana
Prophet al-Jalil is believed to be the father of the bride of the Biblical Qana Wedding and is revered by the Shia community in Lebanon, according to a report by L’Orient Le Jour.
Other opinions state that the sanctuary is dedicated to a prophet who was a pious Shia sheikh and a religious teacher. The sanctuary in Qana is a place of worship. The shrine where he is buried is located in Al-Sharqiya, also a southern town.
#3 Qana has a historical Grotte dedicated to Virgin Mary
Historically, this cave is said to have sheltered the first persecuted Christians in the region. It has become a place for worship consecrated to Virgin Mary since the early 2000s and is visited by pilgrims from all over the world.
The traces of fire visible on the inside walls date back to 1982 when Israeli soldiers raided the south and set fire in the cave, as reported in the article “Qana, the bride of martyrdom and heroism” published on the Lebanese Army’s website.
#4 Qana hosts a series of reliefs dating back to 1st century AD
Sculpted in the rocks, these ancient reliefs represent Biblical scenes of the time of Christ; the Last Supper, and also the resurrection of Lazarus, and the Virgin Mary and her child.
#5 Tourists seek it also for King Hiram’s Sarcophagus
This sarcophagus is known as one of the largest in Lebanon, measuring 4 meters in length, and is located on the road linking Qana to Tyre in the village of Hanawey. Archeologists have stated that the remains inside the sarcophagus belong to King Hiram of Tyre.
#6 Qana’s Church of St. Joseph was ravaged by fire and rebuilt according to tradition
The Greek Catholic Church of St. Joseph is over 100 years old. It dates back to 1906 and is located in what’s known as the Christian district of the town.
#7 A large statue of Holy Mary rises in magnificence behind the church
The large statue is practically new. It was gifted to the parish in 2011 by Margot Tyan, mother-in-law of Amine Gemayel, former President of the Republic.
#8 Qana is home to Sayeda Salha’s shrine
The Shia community seeks it for prayers and meditation, and light up candles on Thursday nights for blessings.
#9 Qana has a museum for a native painter who’s internationally reputable
The painter Moussa Tiba (1939-2014) was a native of Qana. He opened that museum to display his arts. It exhibits around 300 of his paintings dating from 1962 and 2002, and also a wide collection of paintings from national and international artists.
#10 There is a memorial site commemorating the victims of Qana’s 1996 massacre
In 1996, Israel air force bombed civilians who had taken refuge at a UNIFIL headquarters, killing 106 civilians and decimating entire families. A memorial was built to honor the victims. The site hosts also a painting and photo exhibition of the massacre.
#11 Qana is a lovely place for outdoor activities
Qana enjoys mild temperatures throughout the seasons, which makes it a great place for outdoor activities, like cycling, and also hiking in its Wadi Ashour.
#12 Olive cultivation covers 65% of Qana’s agricultural land
That’s in addition to Qana’s cultivation of tobacco which covers 20% of its agrarian land. 15% of the land is dedicated to the cultivation of grains. However, it is reported that only 7% of its labor force works in the agriculture sector.
#13 Qana’s municipality owns about 23% of the town’s total area
Qana’s agriculture covers about 37% of the terrain. It is estimated that land ownership is distributed among some 220 families.
#14 Qana hosts an annual heritage festival in summer
The event includes an exhibition of local arts, crafts, and food, as well as musical performances, poetry reading by local poets, and so on.
#15 Qana is a town of trade and services
The town boasts some 263 businesses, with the majority related to food products, followed by fabric trade and clothing, smithery and mechanics, and sawmills. The town has also dozens of restaurants as well as retail stores.
#16 Qana has a proactive youth working to improve their town
The Youth of Qana Association has been actively working to improve and promote their town, its tourism, its diversity, and eco-friendly behaviors, planting thousands of trees around the cave and creating a hiking trail.
#17 Qana takes pride in its religious coexistence
While its population is predominantly Shiite, Qana has also a Greek-Catholic Christian community. Both communities are known to insist on their peaceful and friendly coexistence and honor the preservation of the traditions of Qana’s diverse religious sites.