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Panoramic Views > Mount Lebanon > Kesserwan > Jabal Moussa

“Mount Moses”, Jabal Moussa - read as well: Lebanon's secret forest by Lebanon Traveler

Stretching over 65 square kilometers and lying between altitudes of 350 and 1700 meters (About 50 square miles, between 1,100 and 5,500 feet altitude, approx.), this is a region of the heights of Kesrouan that can be reached through Zouk, Mayrouba and Amez, through Jounieh, Ghazir and Nahar el-Zanab, or through the valley of Nahr Ibrahim and Yahshoush. The limit on the north side is marked by the Nahr Ibrahim Valley and Yahshoush and on the other sides by Almshati, Wata el-Jaouz, Meyrouba, Nahr el-Hadid, Shahtoul and Raasheen.

From where does the name Moses, Moussa in Arabic, come? I have the impression that this name links Mount Moussa to a number of other mountains around the planet, first of all with Sinaï, where the Tables of the Law were given. One may at least be sure that Moses never went to Jabal Moussa, having gazed on the Promised Land from Mount Nebo in what is now Jordan. In any case, the mountain is worthy of a great name.

I have several times wandered over a large area of this territory. The old dwellings to be seen there are a sure sign of how greatly the peasants were attached to their land. The terraces dug out of the slopes show the courage, determination and tireless ardor of those having lived there, a people working the land and pasturing flocks of goats. There is much space available for growing crops and much good grazing ground for the goats.

There is also beauty of a great many different kinds, with rocks of strange appearance that stand as if they wished to accompany us, breathing and living. The flora is most varied, with oaks, pines, olive trees, junipers, conifers, cypresses, gall oaks, and apple and pear trees growing wild. With the winding pathways and the clumps of trees by the rocks, one might well believe oneself in Paradise. Of smaller plants, the variety is bewildering. The fauna can be a cause for surprise, with hyenas, wild boar, wolves, squirrels and porcupines, not to mention endless kinds of birds.

There are many places bearing marks of their past history; there are Roman stairways, inscriptions with the name of Emperor Hadrian, wells for water, churches, hamlets and a Cross for the celebration of the Feast of the Holy Cross on September 14th.

Once upon a time, all Lebanon was like Jabal Moussa, but urban construction and modern life have reduced so many areas to desert. Now Jabal Moussa is a region ideal for ecological tourism, and is a Nature Reserve protected by the Ministry of the Environment. An Association bears its name and ensures its protection, drawing up a project to be worked out over several years. It is to be remembered also that the site has been classed as a biosphere reserve by UNESCO. Much has been done by the Association to develop ecotourism and rural crafts, with for example a modern kitchen which is to employ thirty-seven women on conserving locally produced foodstuffs.

Joseph Matar - Translation from the French: Kenneth J. Mortimer

- Jabal Moussa: >> View Movie << (2012-05-15)


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