Simply known as «The Cedars», this resort settlement in Lebanon's highest range is one of the most dramatically beautiful spots in the country.
Just below The Cedars is the town of Bsharre, birthplace of Gibran Khalil Gibran.
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, at the crest you look down the other side into a gigantic bowl where the ski resort, the cedar grove and the Qadisha gorge lie before you in a wide-angle panorama.
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 skiing is the favorite activity to do there.
The cedar Tree itself
Of the immense forests of history only isolated patches of cedars are found in Lebanon today. Growing at high elevations, often in craggy difficult-to-reach locations, these majestic trees still stir the imagination.
More inaccessible are the trees near Hadeth al-Jubbeh, whose shape has been changed by trimming, and the cedars near Tannourine.
In Jaj near Laqlouq isolated specimens of cedars are still scattered on the rocky peaks above the town. These trees, which are in pristine condition, can be easily admired from outside the protective wall.
The most famous cedars, known as Arz el Rab or Cedars of the Lord, are those of Bsharre. Only in this grove, the oldest in Lebanon, gives an accurate idea of the stature and magnificence these trees attained in antiquity. About 375 cedars of great age stand in a sheltered glacial pocket of Mount Makmel.
Also among the inhabitants of the forests are some thousand young trees, planted in recent decades to ensure the future of this national resource. The slow-growing cedar, with its long-life span, requires at least 40 years before it can even produce fertile seeds. Like any other treasure of great antiquity, the Bsharre cedar grove requires special care and protection. More recently, a «Committee of the Friends of the Cedar Forest», organized in 1985, is attempting to deal with the damage and disease - brought by both man and nature - that afflicts the trees. To improve the general health and appearance of the forest, the Committee has removed tons of dead wood and fertilized the soil. Various pests and diseases are being treated and lightning rods have been installed for further protection.
A direct way to The Cedars is from Chekka to Bsharre.
The older road, known for its hairpin curves, leads past the entrance path of the Qadisha grotto. Whichever way you take, the vistas are beautiful, especially when fog rises from the valley.
You first arrive at a large assortment of hotels, chalets, night clubs and restaurants, which thought not a village, does form a local community of residents, visitors, and local proprietors.
Cedars, known for its millennia old tree, is also an amazing snow getaway.