September 22, 2018 North Lebanon Lebanon Middle East

Lebanon's Cedars of God: A Beautiful Forest to See

The Cedars of God (Arabic: أرز الربّArz ar-Rabb "Cedars of the Lord") is one of the last vestiges of the extensive forests of the Lebanon cedar, that once thrived across Mount Lebanon in ancient times. Their timber was exploited by the Phoenicians, Israelites, Egyptians, Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Romans, and Turks. The wood was prized by Egyptians for shipbuilding; the Ottoman Empire used the cedars in railway construction.

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The forest is rigorously protected. It is possible to tour it escorted by an authorized guide. After a preliminary phase in which the land was cleared of detritus, the sick plants treated, and the ground fertilized, the "Committee of the Friends of the Cedar Forest" initiated a reforestation program in 1985. These efforts will only be appreciable in a few decades due to the slow growth of cedars. In these areas, the winter offers incredible scenery, and the trees are covered with a blanket of snow.

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