Expo Hakel


Expo Hakel


Expo Hakel


Expo Hakel



In the heart of Hakel, Rizkallah Nohra founded the first fossils museum in Lebanon . The whole adventure began in 1960s when he was a seven years old boy, he started to gather some fossils from a land owned by his family, over the years this hobby turned into a passion, his dream was to create a museum for his collection but such project didn’t’ see the light due to the war that ended in 1991. Undeterred by such obstacles, he restored, on his own, a typical old Lebanese village house where he could gather and display all the fossils he had collected over the past thirty years. 1991 witnessed the opening of Expo Hakel the first natural history museum for marine fossils in Lebanon.

Hakel’s specimens are preserved in lagerstatten, formed by a fine-grained (micritic), finely laminated plattentalk, the Hakel fossil layers have been defined as Cenomanian, 98 Million years. The limestone is well stratified, the color is also impressively variable from a pallid yellow to a brown-beige, to grey to near black. The limestone of this restricted area probably represents one of the richest deposits of fossil fish in the world. Mass mortality layers are relatively frequent; multiple fish slabs are regularly found in this locality. Fish are the most common fossils found in this area, but crustaceans, plants and echinoderms are also present.

The oldest written evidence about the Lebanese fossils dates back to the 4th century AC. Eusebe de Cesaree, Bishop of Palestine, evokes these stones and considers them as the witnesses of Noah’s deluge. The most famous mention of these sites is probably in 1248, where it is mentioned in the journal of Sire de Joinville, a traveling companion of Louis IX, states that during the king’s stay in Sidon , a stone containing “the shape of a sea fish” was presented to him. Later, numerous studies: French, Italian, German and American followed to publish scientific papers about the quarry and some of the species discovered.

The first homeland of these fossils was the Thethys sea which covered a large part of the Mediterranean countries and the Lebanese territory, 220 million years ago. The fossil animals lived by the coastline 98 million years ago, precisely in the Cenomanian age. The excellent state of preservation of these fossils, indicates a sudden and simultaneous death which can be explained as below. After heavy rains, microscopic animals and plants (plankton) developed on the water surface, sometimes changing the color of the sea which turned thus reddish or greenish. Such a phenomenon is currently witnessed on some coasts and is known by the name of “waterbloom” Not only does this plankton use all the oxygen in the seawater, but it also releases substances that poison sea animals and cause their sudden death. Fish and crustaceans thus die and sink to the bottom of the sea in large numbers. The fossilization conditions of that period were excellent: an oxygen-deprived sea bottom and a fast deposit of sediments on the bodies which do not have the time to decompose and are thus entirely kept. Following a movement of continental plaques (tectonic movement) accompanied by a drop of sea level, Mount Lebanon appeared, erosion later revealed the layers where the fish originally were.


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Hike in the beautiful nature, until you reach the quarry where you are given the tools to find your own fossils. End your journey with a homemade Lebanese lunch surrounded by a mesmerizing view.

With this walk, you’ll get the chance to cross Hakel water source. Start your hike on open mixed forests and continue within humid, dense forests. It features quality scenic views, a wild setting, as well as rich biodiversity and flora endemism

Tents, Bungalows, stars, the smell of nature, Bonfire, sunrise and sunset, are perfect reasons to go camping at Expo Hakel.

Walk through open and dense mixed forests, admire the landscapes of the mountain summit.

Wander in the Mother Nature under trees on an ancient trail with its relaxing atmosphere away from the daily stress and pollution.

Leave the roads and take the trail to reconnect with the basics of life. End your hiking exploring one of the oldest part of the history of our country:Fossils

Enjoy a Lebanese homemade lunch nestled in the middle of nature.

Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads at Expo Hakel.

Reprieve from your daily life to refresh your mind, body & spirit in a little cozy bungalow or in tents amidst pine trees.

The value of wilderness lies in sitting and thinking in solitude with only the music of the stream and the trees to break the flow of silence.


Contact us

The Lebanese village Haqel lies in the highlands of the district of Jbeil ( Byblos ), 700 meters above sea level and 57 Km away from Beirut.

We are open seven days a week from 9:00 to 17:00.

For Activities & Reservation, Whatsapp: +961 76 659371

[email protected]