If you’re planning to go to Lebanon whether to live or just for a nice trip, you should know the Lebanese flag by now! Therefore, you would have noticed the little green tree, featured right in the middle of it.
That tree is: The Lebanese Cedar. You may understand that it has a particular importance if it’s on the national flag, so it’s no surprise that Lebanon is called “the cedar tree country”, now let’s get to know more about it 🙂
The Lebanese cedar tree, back in the day
The cedar once covered Mount Lebanon by its dense forests, in fact this type of tree finds its happiness in the coolness of altitude. It was highly appreciated by many civilisations, because of the resistance of the wood, but also the nice smelling resin it produces and how easy it is to work. The tree even finds its importance in the biblical significance it was given, being used by Salomon for the building of the Temple of Jerusalem.
Therefore, Phoenicians, Egyptians, Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Romans, Israelites and Turks, all made extensive use of the well-known tree. Appreciated for ship building or mummifications in ancient times, it was also highly taken over to build rail tracks during world 1.
Discover more on Cedars history with Mr Faisal Abu-Izzeddin, dedicated to Cedar protection and one of the establishers of the Shouf biosphere reserve : //www.youtube.com/watch?v=ya03d1gakeA
Unfortunately, due to over exploitation and deforestation, the cedars presence in the country isn’t what it used to be.
- Cedar reserves
The state has put in place a preservation plan for the cedars, which came in the form of a few reserves across the territory (named below). UNESCO actually considered the “Cedars of god forest” a World Heritage Site, making it the most famous. The fact that it is a slow growing tree, does mean it takes time for reforestation to be visible, but the protection of cedars is taken very seriously and the future is brightening up for them. 🙂
The cedar reserves are famous for being some of the most beautiful spots in Lebanon, offering stunning views around.
Where can I see the cedar tree in Lebanon ?
There are a few cedar reserves where you can go and get the feel of them through a wonder:
Central East Lebanon (closest to Beirut):
Click on the name of the reserve to see where it is on the map 😉
Personally, it’s one of the things I can’t wait to see. Wandering around the reserves, imagining what it would have been like in old times, one big cedar forest majestically dominating from above, protecting the small but strong and resistant country. I’ll make sure I film and get it on my YouTube channel (starting once I go there), to share with you all!
All I have for now is ” a piece” of cedar tree below, i was offered as a souvenir. Don’t get angry ! The cedar wood used for souvenirs, comes from trees that are sick and can’t stay in the reserves, while the rest are calmly growing old. 🙂
Stay tuned for upcoming articles!