|Cedars of Lebanon - Photos Page 4|
Cedars of Lebanon
Cedars of The Lord in becharri, Northern Lebanon
The history of the wall: The most famous cedars, known as Arz el Rab or Cedars of the Lord, are those of Bsharre. Only this grove, the oldest in Lebanon, gives an accurate idea of the stature and magnificence these trees attained in antiquity. About 375 cedars of great age stand in a sheltered glacial pocket of Mount Makmel.
Four of them, many hundreds if not thousands of years old, have reached a height of 35 meters and their trunks are between 12 and 14 meters around. They have straight trunks and strong branches that spread their regular horizontal boughs like fans. Also among the inhabitants of the forests are some thousand young trees, planted in recent decades to ensure the future of this national resource. The slow-growing cedar, with its long life span, requires at least 40 years before it can even produce fertile seeds. Like any other treasure of great antiquity, the Bsharre cedar grove requires special care and protection. Concern for this modern remnant of historic cedars goes back to 1876 when the 102-hectare grove was surrounded by a high stone wall.
Financed by Great Britain's Queen Victoria, the wall protects against one of the cedar's natural enemies, the goats who enjoy feasting on young saplings. More recently, a "Committee of the Friends of the Cedar Forest", organized in 1985, is attempting to deal with the damage and disease - brought by both man and nature - that afflicts the trees. To improve the general health and appearance of the forest, the Committee has removed tons of dead wood and fertilized the soil. Various pests and diseases are being treated and lightning rods have been installed for further protection. Three thousand meters of attractive pathways have been built so visitors can enjoy the grove without causing damage. Also due for attention is a Maronite chapel in the center of the forest. Built in 1843 when these cedars were under the protection of the Patriarchate, the chapel is the scene of a special annual celebration on the 6th of August.
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