In the early 90s, an unexplainable phenomenon was discovered on a road in Hamat Lebanon. On the side, parallel to the highway, the magical road of Hamat goes upwards to the hill on which rests the Lady of Nouriyeh. The convent built in 300 A.D. is known to attract pilgrims from all religions, and is located on the edge of a high cliff giving it a panoramic view of the Mediterranean Sea below. Hamat derives its name from Phoenician, and translates as Fervor or Fever. It has many historical sites and churches that date back to the earliest Christians.
Although everything on the small strip of road leads one to reasonably assume it is at a rising angle, all its characteristics are that of a downhill slope! Pour water on the warm asphalt that paves the way, and it will run upwards as if the laws of gravity had taken their lunch break at that exceptional spot! Turn your car’s engine off, and watch it drive itself up the hill! But get down of your car and walk the short distance, and you will surely notice the effort needed to push you forward can only mean you are moving upwards!
Curious scientists from all over rushed to investigate the intriguing occurrence and clear the matter out; some mentioned a magnetic field, others pointed to an optical illusion, some even called it a miracle from Saydet el Nourieh Diety…but all were obviously so confused and fell short of proving their theories. Naturally believers chose the latter explanation. After all, the story of Our Lady of Light monastery is just as fascinating and goes something like this: It is believed that two sailors built the shrine in the 4th century, after the Virgin Mary appeared to them as a light form and guided them safely to the shore of Theoprosopon near modern day Chekka in North Lebanon. For centuries, its miraculous icon of Theotokos has glowed with light to attract wayward ships to the shore in times of danger. A Greek Orthodox monastery was built on the same location in the 17th century.
The only other place we know of with a similar phenomenon is located in France and is called Curiosite de Lauriole (Herault). The mystery of ‘la montee qui descend!’ (like the French call it) however, got a far better treatment than the enigmatic road of Hamat. The municipality there made sure to place a road sign that attracts attention to their city’s rare tourist attraction. The Hamat road on the other hand is totally abandoned with trash and rubble on the side, and nothing that remotely indicates its very existence! Unless someone that already knows about it shows you the place, you will pass through unaware of the magical road! From time to time, you can still find a few cars stopping to test the enigma for themselves though…
We are not sure how long it will be before this magical road will be completely wiped out like most beautiful things in Lebanon, so hurry up and visit the site today! Take the main road to Chekka, but exit before getting there on the right side where the sign indicates Hamat. Check the photo to see what you are looking for. Good luck! Make sure to come back here and share your experience with the rest of us:)
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