The British daily newspaper The Guardian has recently advised its readers and nature lovers, who focus on adventurous trips and are looking for stunning waterfalls all over the world, from Japan to the Isle of Man, to visit Balou Balaa Falls (also known as the Baatara Gorge Waterfall) in Batroun – North Lebanon.
The ranking came in a top-20 listicle, selected from readers’ tips, recommendations, and travel advice.
The list included in addition to Balou Balaa, places like Cola de Caballo in Pyrenees, Spain; Aquafraggia Falls in Lombardy, Italy; Grawa in Austria; Svartifoss in Iceland; Glen Maye in Isle of Man and other waterfalls from different continents.
The Guardian referred to the Balou Balaa Waterfall as The Cave of Three Bridges, describing it in a paragraph that reads, “The Cave of Three Bridges near Tannourine village (a 90-minute drive from Beirut) is a primordial wonder. A vertical shaft of icy meltwater drops 250 meters through a limestone cave.”
It went on, adding that “Over the centuries the water has carved three limestone arcs across the main chamber at the end of a dizzyingly steep gorge.”
“The curved nature of the erosion and abundance of greenery gives the impression of an imagined landscape, a sublime rendering of the natural world.”
“The Baatara Gorge can be accessed by trail from the village of Mgharet al-Ghaouaghir and offers an insight into the incredible geology of this tiny, troubled country.”
It is indeed true that Lebanon’s Balou Balaa is considered one of the world’s most spectacular waterfalls.
Uncovered in 1952 in the town of Tannourine El-Fawqa by French bio-speleologist Henri Coiffait (1907-1989), it drops at an altitude of 250 meters inside a cave that forms a popular destination for tourists and adventure lovers.
Some stories of explorers of the waterfall estimate that it is 160 million years old, which means, if true, that it would be the oldest waterfall in the world.
In fact, the waterfall drops into the Baatara Pothole, a cave of Jurassic limestone located on the Lebanon Mountain Trail.