- 121km from Beirut)
The Cedars has a lot to offer - scenic beauty, hiking and skiing. And, of course,
there are the famous Cedars of Lebanon where some of the oldest and most majestic
of this ancient tree grow.
Known as "Arz el Rab" or Cedars of God, the trees are among the last survivors of the
immense forests that lay across Mount Lebanon in ancient times. Their timber was
exploited by the Assyrians, Babylonians and Persians as well as the residents of Canaan-Phoenicia. The wood was
especially prized by Egyptians for shipbuilding and Solomon used it for his temple.
Once the plains of Lebanon were shaded by thick
cedar forests, so it is no coincidence that the tree is the symbol of the entire country. Today, after
centuries of persistent deforestation,
the extent of this forest heritage has been markedly reduced. The trees however, do survive in areas and
there they seem to reign supreme. This is the case of the slopes of Jabal
Makmel that tower over the
where, at an altitude of more than 2000 meters, we come to a vast forest known as "The
Cedars." Here there are 12
trees that are
over one thousand years old, and about 400 that are more than one hundred.
The forest is rigorously protected. It is possible to tour it escorted by an authorized guide. Recently, after a
preliminary phase in which the land was cleared of detritus, the sick plants treated, and the ground fertilized, a massive
reforestation program was undertaken. The fruits of these efforts, will only be appreciable in a few decades
since cedars grow so slowly. In these areas the winter offers incredible scenery,
the trees are covered with a blanket of snow.
far from the Cedars
is Lebanon's Highest Village At 1,750 meters, picturesque Bqaa Kafra
which overlooks the Qadisha
It is also the birthplace of Lebanon's Saint Charbel, born in
1828. An annual festival celebrates St. Charbel's Day on the third Sunday
From the northern coastal highway at Chekka, head east
towards Amyoun. Continue on passing through Kousba, Toursa,
Hadath El Jebbe, Hasroun, Bqaa Kafra
then your destination, the Cedars. (See