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(Old Churches and a Roman Road - 78 km)

   This village at the head of the Nahr Ibrahim Valley is notable for its splendid views and ancient remains. A cave chapel called Mar Boutros (St. Peter's) was adopted from a pagan tomb chamber partly cut from the rock in Greco-Roman days.

Located towards the top of the village, the chapel sits at the back of a grassy terrace. (Ask for Mar Butros. If the door is locked enquire at one of the houses nearby.)
    Entrance to the chapel is through an arched doorway. A modern altar with a niche has been installed against the north wall, while niches for sarcophagi are cut into the other walls. The uneven rocky floor is evidently part of the original cave. In the center is a rough stone pillar.
    The Chapel of St. Simon (in the distance to the right of the cave) can be reached by going south around the great cliff of the cave chapel and following a trail leading from the village outskirts. This small church has been restored in modern times, but the foundations are still of the Crusader era. The key is kept in the door.
    Above the cave in the forest overlooking the village are six Roman Forestry Inscriptions dating from the time of Hadrian (117-138 AD).
    While the modernized chapel of St. Simon is somewhat disappointing, the location is superb, with magnificent craggy landscapes and sweeping valleys below. Continuing around the church you find a great gorge where a river rushes in spring.
    This roadway goes on to join the Roman Road at a place called Draj Mar Sem'an leading over the mountains to the town of Yamouneh in the Beqaa valley. Stone-cut steps signal that you have found the place. Beside the steps a worn inscription in the limestone proclaims the road open by order of the Emperor Domitian in the first century AD. Sadly, further exploration here is not recommended due to the possibility of land mines.
    Two km south of Aqoura on the east side of the road there is a natural bridge across the two entrances to the Roueiss cave, a favourite with speleologists. Below the cave you'll find a pleasant restaurant with fresh trout on offer.
    High on the cliff above Roueiss is the Chapel of Mar Youhanna (Saint John), which requires a stiff climb to reach. The cave goes back for 500 meters and has a small spring. Domestic remains left by cave dwellers from the Bronze Age to the Medieval period have been found here.

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