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Panoramic Views > North > Al Batroun > Forest of Cedars in Tannourine

Forest of Cedars in Tannourine - read as well Tannourine reserve in Arabic

Tannourine nestles in the heights of the district of Batroun, nearly 4,000 feet up and about fifty miles from Beirut, capital of Lebanon. The name comes from a Syriac word, being the plural form of tannour, meaning an oven for baking bread, although some see the word tannour as meaning lighting or a place that is lit.

The region is one of great beauty, with springs bubbling up in the fields on all sides and abundant greenery. At Tannourine we find the most extensive forest of cedars, covering fifteen hundred acres at an altitude of almost six thousand feet. This forest is of great beauty and is in fact registered as a nature reserve to be protected. Its trees stretch along the road running from the north side to as far as Hadeth el-Jebbeh.

There are in Lebanon several forests of cedar trees, the most famous of which is on the slopes of Kornet as-Sawdat, overlooking Bsharri and known as `Arz ar-Rabb, the Cedars of the Lord, To this should be added the forests of Jaj, Barouk and Tannourine.

Formerly all the mountains of Lebanon, from the North to Mount Hermon in the South, were covered with cedar trees, but these were cut down by our ancestors and their wood sold to the kings of the Levant and to the Pharaohs of Egypt. It is our sacred duty to replant millions of them so as to restore the forests on our hills and so to make good the mistake made by our forebears when they sold off their “green inheritance”, their celestial environment. Not without meaning is it said that the grains of these cedar trees sown in Lebanon are harvested in Paradise, and also that their ancestral seed sown in Lebanon was gathered in the earthly Eden. The cedar of Lebanon is mentioned fifty times in Holy Scripture.

The responsible authorities, namely the ministries of Agriculture and of the Environment, the municipalities, and the “green NGOs”, are making serious efforts to combat the Cephaleia tanneurineusis, an insect parasite of the cedar, for it causes grave harm in the forests of cedars and pines, devouring the leaves of the cedars and causing the trees to dry up. The female Cephaleia lay their eggs in the new buds and the larva commence their work of destruction as soon as they hatch. A wide campaign of dusting with insecticide is needed and helicopters take part in this operation, particularly from early April to late June.

I feel that I must mention here the prophesy of Ezekiel, which says in ch. 31, v. 3-9, “Behold, the Assyrian was like a cedar in Libanus, with fair branches and full of leaves, of high stature, and his top was elevated among the thick boughs. The waters nourished him, the deep set him up on high, the streams thereof ran about his roots, and it sent forth its rivulets to all the trees of the country. And therefore was his height exalted above all the trees of the country: and his branches were multiplied and his boughs were elevated, because of many waters. And when he had spread forth his shadow, all the fowls of the air made their nests in his boughs, and all the beasts of the forest brought forth their young under his branches, and the assembly of many nations dwelt under his shadow. And he was most beautiful for his greatness and for the spreading of his shadow; for his root was near great waters. The cedars in the paradise of God were not higher than he: the fir trees did not equal his top: neither were the plane trees to be compared to him for branches. No tree in the paradise of God was like him in his beauty. For I made him beautiful and thick set with many branches: and all the trees of pleasure that were in the paradise of God, envied him.” (Challoner version)

Joseph Matar
Translation from the French: K.J. Mortimer

- Forest of Cedars in Tanourine: >> View Movie << (2010-10-01)



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