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Caves - An excursion in Beirut, Lebanon
A mountainous and rocky country composed primarily of limestone, Lebanon offers exciting opportunities for caving. Over 400 caves, caverns, and sinkholes are scattered throughout the country, offering something for the expert spelunker to the casual tourist. Most caves are concentrated in the Mount Lebanon region. The most popular and touristy of caves include the Jeita Grotto and the enormous and intricate Afqa Grotto, source of the Adonis River where legend has it Adonis and Aphrodite exchanged their first kiss. The Jeita Grotto has an overall length of nearly 9 km. The caves are situated in the Nahr al-Kalb valley within the locality of Jeita, 18 km north of Beirut. Though inhabited in prehistoric times, the lower cave was not rediscovered until 1836. It can only be visited by boat since it channels an underground river. In 1958, Lebanese speleologists discovered the upper galleries which have been accommodated with a series of walkways to enable tourists’ safe access. The upper galleries house the world's largest stalactite. For the more adventurous tourists and experienced spelunkers, there are many other caving options that require guides and equipment. The Roueiss Grotto, for example, is a 5 km long labyrinthine cave with an underground lake, large halls, and unique crystalline formations. Lebanon is also home to stunning vertical caves, called “sinkholes” or “potholes”, some of the deepest in the Middle East, up to 602 meters. These sinkholes are explored, by or with experts, using ropes and climbing equipment. The largest sinkholes are concentrated in the northern Mount Lebanon region, especially near Laqlouq and Tannourine.

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

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