The town of Rashaya, located in the southeast of the Bekaa Valley just beneath Mount Haramoun, witnessed some of the most decisive moments in the struggle for independence in Lebanon.

Rashaya, or “independence town,” as some like to call it, was the scene of some of the most decisive moments in the history of the country.

The town’s 18th-century citadel holds particular historic significance, as it became a prison for leaders of the rebellion against the French Mandate.

Lebanon declared its independence from France on November 22, 1943, ending the 25-year mandate.

On November 22, 1925, the citadel was the scene of a memorable defeat for French authorities. In 1943, the members of the new Lebanese government, president Beshara el-Khoury himself, the speaker of parliament Adel Osseiran and ministers Camille Shamoun, Abdel- Hamid Karameh and Selim Takla were imprisoned in the citadel on a hasty impulse of Commissioner Jean Helleu, delegate general of the Free French authorities. The Commissioner’s action was quickly corrected and the prisoners left the citadel of Rashaya to sign the new Pact of the Lebanese Republic on November 22nd marking this day as its Independence Day.