Ain Zhalta, Lebanon
A pleasant summer town with abundant springs.
Ain Zhalta and The Cedars of Barouk, reached from either Moukhtara or Barouk village, are smaller and
younger than those of Bsharre, but extremely beautiful and well cared for.
Above the grove at the summit of the mountain there is a panoramic view
overlooking the Beqaa valley. Another cedar grove can be found on Mount Maaser
above the picturesque village of Maaser Esh-Shouf, reached via Deir el-Qamar,
Bhamdoun or Moukhtara. Maaser, which means "presses" in Arabic, is known for
its arak, an anise flavored grape alcohol.
The mountaintop here also has a spectacular view that extends over much of the
Beqaa. Together, the forests of Barouk, Maaser esh-Shouf and Ain Zhalta form a
reserve of over two million cedar trees. More than 112 species of birds, 16
species of other trees and 24 species of wild mammals are also protected in
this area, which accounts for five percent of Lebanon's territory.
Barouk National Reserve
The reserve, formed in 1994, is one of three protected areas in Lebanon to
benefit from the United Nations' Protected Areas Project.
reserve is the biggest natural reserve in Lebanon & the middle east. It is
decorated by around 2 millions of majestic cedars trees.
The Cedrus libani forest community represents about
25% of the remaining cedar forests in Lebanon and is thus significant at the
national level. Al-Shouf Cedar Nature Reserve represents around 550 km² of
It forms the southern limit of Cedrus libani.
The reserve makes up 5 percent of the entire territory of the country
and 70 percent of Lebanon's green area, making it the largest nature
reserve in the Middle East.
Oak, pine and juniper are some of the 16 types of trees that also grow in the
reserves. Squirrels, wild boars, porcupines, wolves and gazelles can be found in
the reserve. The reserve is accessible from Barouk, Maaser al-Chouf and Ain
Zhalta. Al-Shouf Cedars Nature Reserve is managed by the Al-Shouf Cedars
Society, which is a non-governmental organization that conceived the idea of the
reserve, created it, and currently manages it in cooperation with the Ministry
Visitors to the forest cannot picnic inside the reserve.
A really amazing visit… where you can know really the
meaning of the reserve that is lacking as practice in our country… well
organized work, despite the low resources… a really protected area… while
ascending you can see the variety in ages… in the lower parts of it, the cedars
that are 30-40 years old covers the major parts of it, but still you can see
some of the old trees that passes the human invasion and destruction in the
past… getting the highest point that is reachable by car, near the “diwan el mir”,
where the past princes passes the summer in camps, in a natural hall, between
5-7 old cedars, of minimum age of 1500 years… And a stay in this place for
moments, to hear the silence, which is disrupted by some sounds, made by the
contact of the wind with the powerful cedar branches…
We continued our walk, in specified roads… looking around, we saw the cedars of
many ages, the smallest to the biggest… from the age of months to the age of
years, to centuries… without forgetting the flowers variety, the grass, the
other trees that were blooming with their extremely green leaves in the early
I didn’t met in this visit the animals of it, except for 2 small insects…
When we reached the end of the thick forest, we saw the most beautiful view… the
cedars above the clouds level… the cedars on the mountain top, above a deep
valley where lays the village of Barouk and the other surrounding villages… as
the highest point of Sannin Mountain, that is still covered with snow…
Whatever we want to describe, the words cannot replace the real picture of this
beauty… you must go and see, and even believe, yes… this reserve is in Lebanon…
these cedars are for us and for our sons… these cedars are the only witness of
I really thank god for making all this beauty in my country… I thank for sure
all the ones that worked & are working to keep it alive…
Information From the Ministry of