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Chouf and its villages: an exceptional natural heritage

discovery

After visiting the Chouf-district villages of Deir el Kamar and Beiteddine, venture out with a guide to the Al Shouf Cedar Nature Reserve.

Chouf is a 500 square kilometre mountainous region 40 kilometres southeast of Beirut. It is home to the largest concentration of cedar trees in the Middle East, some of which are thousands of years old, including one that recently celebrated its 4,000th birthday.

The Al Shouf Cedar Nature Reserve hosts 200 hundred varieties of bird, 32 species of wild mammals, and 500 species of plants. It is a fabulous hiking destination: you start at 1,650 metres at Misyaf al Mir and admire a breath-taking panorama.

Don't miss the Maronite town of Beiteddine and the palace of the Emir Bashir: built in the 19th century, in ochre-coloured stones, it is now the summer residence of Lebanese presidents. Another must is Deir el Kamar ‘the convent of the moon' a Christian village with cobbled streets. The convent there is exceptional, as is the famous Saïdet church.

www.shoufcedar.org

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