Nahr al-Kalb "The Dog's River"
Nahr al-Kalb is a river that springs from a source near Jeita Grotto and runs down to the Mediterranean Sea. Army generals and conquerors of the past have traditionally made the mouth of the river a site for commemorative stelae that chronicle their historic conquests and brave campaigns.
Turn right at the exit just after Nahr al-Kalb tunnel. There you’ll find the first of 20 side-by-side memorial inscriptions carved into the limestone rocks.
They include three hieroglyphic stelae from Pharaonic invasions, including Ramesses II, six Cuneiform inscriptions made by Assyrian and Babylonian kings like Nebuchadnezzar II, Roman and Greek inscriptions, Arabic inscriptions from the Mamluk Sultan Barquq and the Druze prince Fakhreddine II, a memorial to Napoleon III's 1860 invasion, a commemoration of Lebanon’s independence from colonial France in 1943, and a monument that marked the liberation of South Lebanon from Israeli troops in 2000.
In 2005, the riverside stelae were listed under the UNESCO Memory of the World initiative. It was noted the stelae “sum up the entire history of Lebanon, from High Antiquity to the present, evoking clearly the successive advances of the Pharaonic, Assyro-Babylonian, Greek, Roman, Arab, French and British armies which braved all the obstacles surrounding this difficult and very steep crossing point to carve commemorative stelae on the rocks.”
Nahr al-Kalb is also one of the five rivers in Lebanon that are deep enough for rafting in the spring. Contact the Footprints Nature Club for information on organizing and signing up for outdoor activities.