In fact its very name is derived from the ancient Semitic word for white, “laban,” with references to its frosted peaks dating back to the Old Testament. Being a small country and virtually entirely perched on two mountainous ranges – Mount Lebanon and Anti-Lebanon – with proximity to the sea, means that you can literally ski and swim
in the same day (yes, you’ve undoubtedly heard of that cliché). What divides these two mountain ranges is the lush, fertile plateau of the Bekaa Valley, which forms the northern extremity of the Great Rift Valley.
The Mount Lebanon range extends along the entire country for about 170 km, parallel to the Mediterranean coast.
Its highest peak is Qurnat al Sawda’, (3,088 m) followed by Sannine (2,628 meters).
Lebanon has historically been defined by these rugged mountains, which provided protection for the local population. The mountains are known for their sprawling oak and pine forests, and the last remaining old growth groves – of the famous Cedar of Lebanon (Cedrus libani) – are on the high slopes of Mount Lebanon (2000 m altitude), in the Cedars of God (Horsh Arz-el Rab) World Heritage Site, in the town of Bcharré.
In the winter, frosts are frequent with heavy snowfall and snow covering the highest peaks for much of the year.
In the summer, temperatures may rise as high during the daytime as they do along the coast, but they actually fall far lower at night.
Inhabitants of the coastal cities and around the country seek refuge from the oppressive humidity of the summer by spending much of those months in the mountains, where they commonly have a second summer residence.
Naturally these mountain ranges also offer great skiing resorts and amazing summer retreats, with the most sought after spots being the Cedars, Laqlouq, Mzaar Kfardebian, Faqra Kfarderbian, Qanat Bakish, Zaarour, and Sannine.
“In the beginning were the blossoming almond trees”
“There is like a breath of madness in the winds of spring”
“The intoxicating perfume of broom signals that spring is taking its leave”
“Where the mountain meets the plains,its sides are adorned with tenderness”