Chekka is a coastal city in the north of Lebanon in the Batroun district. The region is known for its easy access to the beautiful beaches of El-Heri like the exciting Nowhere Beach and Rocca Marina.
Chekka’s most notable feature is the picturesque cliff that protrudes out into the sea.
Far from the main roads, the peaceful Chekka-Hamat plateau is a quiet area. On top of it, stands the historical church of Our Lady of Nourieh (Lady of Light). The shrine is believed to be miraculous.
The most commonly known story of the shrine goes back in time when two sailors were lost at sea during a storm at night. They couldn’t find nor see the coast as they battled the stormy sea and fiery weather for their lives.
A flickering light suddenly appeared in the darkness, attracting them to safe shore and right up the cliff where the light was shining out.
In gratitude, the sailors would come to build that shrine for the Virgin Mary and called it nourieh, which refers to nour, aka light. In time, the church was expanded into a convent.
Back to the present time, a more stunning display of the entire Mediterranean as far as the eye can be admired from the less-visited Mar Semaan Chruch. It can be found if you keeping following the road from Deir el Nourieh.
For the highway to run smoothly from Beirut to Tripoli, a tunnel had to be made a hundred years ago right through the rocky mountain, which is a huge undertaking, let alone back then.
“In 1919, just after the First World War, the Allies, more particularly the French as friends of Lebanon, decided to pierce a tunnel through the rock near the seashore in order to make access and communication northwards much easier,” explains a local tourism website.
A 20-minute drive to Tripoli, everyone from North Lebanon knows the Chekka Tunnel well.
For residents of Lebanon’s second-largest city, and the capital of the north, passing the Chekka Tunnel is usually where one would call the family to inform them that they’re almost home.
With the Beirut-Tripoli highway in place, the Instagram-worthy old seaside road became less traveled, except for local wanderers who love to explore the area around the cliff.
Driving down the winding seaside road, you’ll find an older tunnel that goes through the mountain.
Beyond the long dark tunnel is a glorious lookout view of the Mediterranean sea, where you’ll often find couples parked near a tall rock scribbled with names of its visitors.
It remains a historic and touristic site for road-trippers and curious people. In addition, more caves and passways can be discovered inside the cliff.
What’s even more interesting and adventure-worthy is the less-famous historical tunnel built at the time of the Ottoman occupation.
Even the old railroad passed through a tunnel at Hamat at one point.
The Chakka-Hamat region is a definite bucket-list destination this summer!