Distance from Beirut: 130km
Take the autostrade to Chekka, south
of Tripoli, and then turn up towards Amioun. From there the road passes along
the side of the Kadisha Gorge through Kousba, Tourza, Hadet, Hasroun, Bazaoun
and Bsharri. The journey from Beirut takes 2 hours.
Al-ARZ ((The Cedars)
Named after the ancient unique
trees which form a forest in the heart of the village. Hundreds of young Cedar
trees have been planted around the area over the last 30 years, but since they
only grow at a rate of 1cm every year, it will be many generations before these
saplings reach the impressive size of those in the heart of the forest. In
addition to the Cedar forest, there are a number of sites of interest in the
area. The town of Bsharri is best known as the birthplace and resting place of
Gibran Khalil Gibran, Lebanon's most famous mystic, poet, artist and novelist.
The Gibran Museum, a converted monastery, houses his paintings, drawings, and
personal effects, as well as his casket. The town also has three churches and a
||The resort of the Cedars had its
first ski lift installed by the government in 1953. The high altitude of Al-Arz
means that it generally has a slightly longer season than the other resorts,
sometimes beginning as early as November, and often lasting until mid or late
April. The number of skiers on the slopes at weekends often reaches between two
and three thousand.
Since it is a fair distance from
Beirut, the resort boasts a number of excellent hotels, as well as about 300
chalets available for rental. The main pistes are equipped with four lifts, one
of which is lit at night. There are great opportunities for cross-skiing, and
snowboarding. There are also ski schools as well as creche facilities where
activities are arranged at the Kid's Club for children aged between five and
Simply known as the
"The Cedars", this resort settlement in Lebanon's highest range is one of the
most dramatically beautiful spots in the country. The resort is set in an area
of unusual natural and historical interest. Its centerpiece is an ancient
grove of cedars, a tree synonymous with Lebanon itself. It is an historical
entity mentioned often in the Bible and other ancient texts and has played an
important part in the culture, trade and religious observances of the ancient
Middle East. Just below the Cedars is the town of Bsharre, birthplace of
Gibran Khalil Gibran, the famous Lebanese poet and artist.
The Cedars is a
resort for all seasons. In summer the high elevation makes it a wonderful
escape from the humid coast while in winter the quality of the snow makes it
an exceptional skiing venue. The pists form a natural amphitheatre, and the
high elevation means the season usually lasts from December through April. Ski
rentals are available from local shops, which also arrange ski lessons with
qualified instructors. Snack bars, hotels and restaurants service the ski
area. More facilities are available at The Cedars Village and in Bsharre, 15
minutes down the mountain.
The most exciting way
to get to The Cedars is from Deir Al-Ahmar in the Beqaa valley. The road
snakes up the bare eastern slopes of Mount Lebanon presenting marvelous views
at every turn. As you get higher, the air grows crisp and snow patches streak
the hollows. At the crest you look down the other side into a gigantic bowl
where the ski resort, the cedar groves and the Qadisha gorge lie before you in
a wide-angle panorama. Within this area are rivers, springs, waterfalls, caves
and other natural formations as well as rock-cut churches, monasteries and
interesting villages to visit.
first arrive at a large assortment of hotels, chalets, night clubs and
restaurants, which though not a village, does form a community of residents,
visitors and local proprietors. About a kilometer further on is the famous
Cedar grove where the road is lined with the inevitable souvenir stands and
small restaurants. The same road continues to the ski area at 2,066 meters and
goes over the mountain and down into the Beqaa Valley.
An interesting tour can made of the villages around
the horseshoe-shaped rim of the Qadisha Valley. If you are driving to The
Cedars via the village of Qnat, the first village
you come to on the south side of the gorge is Hadeth Al-Jubbeh, a town which
goes back to at least the early 6th century AD.
Next comes Diman,
the summer residence of the Maronite Patriarch since the 19th century. The
site overlooks the Monastery of Qannoubin, an early seat of the Patriarchy.
From Diman a steep path takes you down to the gorge. Not far from here is
Hasroun, a red-roofed town that hugs the edge of the Qadisha
Valley. This village is known for its picturesque dwellings, old churches and
gardens. Bqaa Kafra reached via a turn-off from Bqorqacha, is the highest
village in the country at 1,600 meters. This picturesque town is also the
birthplace of Lebanon's famous Saint Charbel, born in 1828.
Information From the Ministry of