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Chouf Mountains

Chouf Mountains - An excursion in Beirut, Lebanon
Chouf (in Arabic Jebel ash-Shouf), located southeast of Beirut, are the southernmost part of the Mount Lebanon Range. These spectacular mountains, called Jabal Barouk, are wild and beautiful in places, and dotted with small villages and terraced for easy cultivation in others. The Chouf is one of the best preserved Lebanese districts and its nature has been generally spared from the intense building frenzy. The biggest forest of Cedars of Lebanon is found on the flanks of Jabal Barouk. Chouf is the heartland of the Lebanese Druze community, with Druze leader Walid Jumblatt residing at the Jumblatt palace in the town of Moukhtara. The Emirs of Lebanon used to have their residence in Chouf. Bachir Chehab II built the magnificent palace of Beiteddine during the first half of the 19th century. Another historical town, located just below Beiteddine, is Deir al Qamar (the monastery of the Moon). Today’s Chouf enjoys harmony between Maronite Christians and Druze, although several violent clashes have occurred between the two groups, most recently in 1983-1984 during the Lebanese Civil War. Reconciliation between the Druze and Christian communities was made in 2001. The Chouf district is one of the most religiously diverse regions in Lebanon. The Druze, Maronite Catholics and Sunni Muslims are the largest religious groups. There is a substantial Greek Catholic population, as well as a smaller Shi'a Muslim population. If you want to visit Beiteddine, you can take a bus from Cola in Beirut heading to Niha (about 1˝ hours). Tell the driver you are going to Beiteddine and you will be dropped off at walking distance to the town. Ask for directions. You can also take a service taxi direct from Cola to Beiteddine. From Beiteddine, it's a 6 km downhill walk to Deir al-Qamar. You can also catch a bus from Cola to Damour, and from there a service taxi to Deir al-Qamar.

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More to do and see in Beirut
» Skiing and winter sports
» Hiking and trekking
» Beaches and Seaside
» Caves
» Zahlé – The Bride of the Bekaa Valley
» Tyre (Sour)
» Sidon (Saida)
» Jounieh
» Byblos (Jbail)
» Bekaa Valley
» Baalbek – the ‘Sun City’

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