Home > Eco-Tourism > North Lebanon > Cedars (Al Arz) 

(2066m - 121km from Beirut)
Summer and
Winter Resort

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 examples 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 Qadisha Valley 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.

Not far from the Cedars is Lebanon's Highest Village At 1,750 meters, picturesque Bqaa Kafra which overlooks the Qadisha Valley.  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 in July.


Getting There ...
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 North Map)



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