5 facts you should know about Lebanon’s highest peak

Qurnat as Sawda’ is known to be the country’s high point. How much do you know about this amazing peak?

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#1 It is a sacred place

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According to medieval religious literature, the summit of Mount Lebanon (Qurnat as Sawda’) is the site on which Noah, after having survived the flood, replanted a sacred tree. It is also said that this tree was growing thanks to Adam’s blood after his passing.

#2 Its name has more than one meaning

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“Qurnat as Sawda'” is an Arabic nomenclature meaning “The Black Peak”. It’s thought of like that possibly due to its high altitude – above the clouds, the snow looks strangely dark. However, the name most likely has nothing to do with Arabic, to begin with. “Qornet Shodo” is Syriac name for the Martyrs Top of Syriac and Maronite Christians who were slaughtered by invaders.

#3 Highest Levantine peak

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Followed by Mount Hermon (South Lebanon) and Mount Sannine (Mount Lebanon), Qurnet as Sawda’ is first on the list of highest peaks of the Middle East. The old Makmel Mountain is 3,088 m (10,131 feet) high.

#4 The peak is not always available for hikers

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The hike to and from it is 12 km each way and takes approximately 7 hours in total. The path offers hikers unique landscapes and cloudscapes, as well as stunning views on the desertic nature of the region. However, due to the snow season, the peak is only accessible from late April through early October.

#5 It is kind of eternal

Swallow-holes and patches of frozen eternal snow exist all year long. The snow is said to be hundreds of years old, maybe even thousands. The mountain is considered a veritable water reservoir, it nourishes rivers to the east such as the Assi River and to the west such as Kadisha River.

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