There is a project in development that is startling the Lebanese population, so much that there’s a petition to try and stop the project from taking place at Qornet El Sawda. Most have heard about it; it’s about the future plans regarding Kornet El Sawda, the highest mountain in the Middle East with its peak reaching 3,088 meters above sea level.
UPDATE: THIS PROJECT IS QUITE ECO-FRIENDLY
The Al Kumma project consists of turning Lebanon’s highest peak into a large mountain resort at an altitude of 2,400 meters, making it the highest resort in the Middle East. The project developer is Realis Development, a project management company owned by Al Ghanem family. The project will be built on a 420,000-m2 plot, with a total built-up area of 250,000-m2. The resort will include a five-star boutique hotel, a clubhouse, a wellness center, and entertainment facilities including 650 chalets, 70 villas, and a ski trail. The total project worth will reach USD 500 million throughout its development stages with an initial investment of USD 100 million for the first phase. That sounds like a very attractive project. So why is it that the Lebanese population is opposing such a change? For those who don’t know, Qornet el Sawda, translated to “The Black Peak”, got its name due to its permanent snowless peak. Facing permanent wind, snow is unable to fix on the peak, creating a black spot surrounded by snow. To reach the top, one has to start out on foot from the Cedars and walk for six hours. Once at the top and if on a clear day, you can see the tips of the Troodos Mountains in Cyprus, lying on an axis from east to west from the Turkish Taurus. The mountain nourishes rivers to the east such as the Orontes and to the west such as Qadisha. For those interested in Medieval Religion, it is said that Qornet el Sawda is the site on which Noah, after having survived the flood, replanted a sacred tree. The tree’s seeds were given to Seth by an angel in the Garden of Eden and placed in Adam’s mouth upon his passing such that his blood could feed its growth. Could this be one of the reasons why a petition opposing the project exists? Doubtful as not many Lebanese know of this story. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ikcf3aJ1bI However, many sightseers come to visit the top where silence reigns supreme. For some, it is a sort of pilgrimage where upon reaching the top one could feel a deep sense of serenity and appreciation for nature’s wonders. For others, it is a challenge, an experience not to be missed, a test of willpower rewarded with a sense of accomplishment once completed. Now that sounds like something to fight for. There are pros and cons to both the success and the failure of the project, one being a new touristic attraction available to everyone at the cost of the above-mentioned benefits of the hiking experience. Change can be good, but once done there’s no going back. For those who would like to oppose Al Kumma project and be directed to the petition,
Contributed by Yahya A. Abbas