Cedars of God
Written more than 4,000 years ago, parts of the oldest surviving story in the world, the Epic of Gilgamesh, take place in the world-renowned Cedars of God. Some of the trees alive today were alive at the time the poem was composed.
The Cedars of God is one of the last vestiges of the extensive forests of the Cedars of Lebanon that once thrived across Mount Lebanon in ancient times. Their timber has been subsequently exploited across millennia, from the Phoenicians, the Assyrians, and Babylonians, to the Persians and Ottomans. The wood was prized by Egyptians for shipbuilding, and the Ottoman Empire used the cedars in railway construction.
UNESCO declared the forest a World Heritage Site in 1998, and today it is rigidly protected. While old growth has been largely decimated across Mount Lebanon, young cedars remain a dominant species in the region.
The reserve makes for an idyllic getaway from the summer heat, but is perhaps even more spectacular in winter when the forest floor is blanketed in snow.