Oyoun Orghosh is a name in plural form given to a
high mountain region with an abundance of springs
of water on the Eastern face of Cornet es-Sawda, the
highest mountain of Lebanon that dominates the Beqaa
Taken as a whole, the landscape is somewhat bare of
vegetation, relieved only by a few scattered trees,
either junipers or Mediterranean oaks, and without
the usual cultivated terraces that climb most Lebanese
mountain slopes however steep. There are only a few
patches of plough land, for the area was never easy
to reach in the past. Now it can be reached by going
up from the famous Cedar Forest and then from the
Col by going northwards along the ridge named Dar
el-Qadeeb, whose sides remain under snow till the
end of June. One arrives then at the Orghosh Springs,
Oyoun Orghosh, with its very pleasant hollows holding
water. Around these small lakes one may go for pleasant
walks in summer and relax in the cafés where
people from the nearest villages have placed chairs
and put up sunshades, and provide refreshments and
meals for the visitors who are now becoming yearly
more numerous during the three short summer months.
These are drawn by the magnificent view they can enjoy
from this vantage point of the Beqaa Valley and of
the opposing range of the Anti-Lebanon, with the nearby
stretches of water reflecting the sky seen at this
height to be of deep azure blue.
One remains spellbound by the beauty of the spectacle.
Here we have a an oasis, a watered Eden with six or
seven wide stretches of water surrounded by trees,
footpaths and benches, with everything required for
the convenience of holidaymakers, sightseers and pilgrims.
Here it is a delight to sit under the shade of the
trees close to the water; the sun may be scorching
but the air is fresh during the day and cold at night,
as is typical of a mountain climate. What is more,
here one may often meet shepherds with their flocks
of sheep and goats brought to slake their thirst from
the plentiful water. Looking further afield, one may
see here and there to the East points of the edge
of the great Fertile Crescent which stretches in an
arc around the broad desert of the Syrian plateau.
Anyone ready to make the climb up the mountain westward
will find himself on the summit of Cornet es-Sawda,
the highest point in Lebanon. Oyoun Orghosh is lower
down at an altitude of about 8.000 feet; it is neither
village nor even hamlet, just a few little houses
and restaurants, and a place to visit where one can
relax, breathe fresh air, find welcome repose, and
admire the splendors of Nature.
The place is some eighty miles from Beirut, forty
from Zahleh and ten from Ainata. It is accessible
not only from the Cedars and Saydat en-Najat but also
from Baalbek through Al-Qaa and Ainata or from Wadi
Faara. One will most probably pass sheltered hollows
where snow lies on the ground. Brilliant exotic flowers
may be seen when one turns one’s eyes from the broad
panorama. An outing there is well and truly worthwhile.