November 07, 2011

Jisr el-Qadi

The pine forest above Jisr el-Qadi

I was going canyoning but apparently it rained a lot these last few days and so the river was too high, and it got cancelled. I had sort of hoped for a high river and some danger, but what can I say; contrary to what you read in the papers, this is not a place where people like to live dangerously.
Then I called my sail instructor, and he said there wasn’t enough wind, so that plan got shelved as well. It’s been my luck lately; all ready to go and nowhere to go to. And since the Adha crowd is in town, you need to avoid all public places if you do not wish to get trampled, so where to go?

It’s easier working with younger kids, they still don’t mind posing for the photo

Luckily there’s always the mountains and the valleys, and so we collected a couple of kids and ended up in a pine forest somewhere near Jisr el-Qadi (The judge’s bridge, if I translate that correctly). Somewhere at the bottom of the valley runs the Damour-Safa River. The bridge takes its name from the man who ordered the bridge to be build, under Mamluk rule (1282-1516), Emir Zayn ad-Dine at-Tannoukhi, who happened to be a judge as well. We didn’t make it to the bridge though; we ended up in the pine forests that cover the hills (source).

I did have to redo this one about 6 times though, on account of the ‘weird’ faces they pulled on purpose.

Apparently there is some effort underway to make this place a natural reserve. ‘The Druze in Lebanon ( . . .) pledged to dedicate the ecologically fragile Jisr-El-Qadi region in their ancient Chouf valley as a Sacred Gift to the Earth. (. . . ) According to General Director of the Druze Religious Council, Marzen Fayad, It is a place of medicinal plants, of wild thyme for mouthwash, of wild roses for drinks, of rarer flora, and of migrant and local birds. “We are hoping too for a decree on hunting: people often just shoot these birds, whether or not they are rare. This is a place that we want to conserve – and it is important for everyone to collaborate in order to achieve this…. We need tools and training, we need to guard against forest fires and we need guidance and infrastructure for eco-tourism, or perhaps eco-religious tourism,” he said. (Source)

Mudpie making

However, there is always a quite distinct discrepancy in Lebanon between what is said they want to do, and what is actually done. The way we got into the forest is by a newly constructed path which was obviously wide enough for construction trucks. Several wide paths were dug right through the forest, and my guess is, you’ll be able to buy a nice villa here in a couple of years. Forget eco-tourism when you can make real money.

I think this village might be called Ain Trez (but I am not sure)

While we were in the forest however, it was nice and quiet. Except for our kids. Whatever birds were left in that forest, migrated instantly.  We collected pine cones and acorns for the Christmas decoration (yes, we’re a little early). The weather was soft. Maybe tomorrow there will be wind. Sigh. What can I say? Life is sometimes soooo slow.

Back to Beirut

1 comment:

Sareen said...

I always love reading your posts! It's funny how it takes a foreigner to show you the great places in Lebanon!