Jeita Grotto
The Jeita Grotto is a type of speleothem that hangs from the ceiling of limestone caves. It is a type of dripstone...

. The galleries are composed of a series of chambers the largest of which peaks at a height of 120 metres (393.7 ft).

Aside from being a Lebanese national symbol and a top tourist destination, the Jeita grotto plays an important social, economic and cultural role and is a finalist in the New 7 Wonders of Nature competition, and as of 7:44 pm GMT the provisional New7Wonders of Nature based on the first count of vote results on 11/11/11 Jeita was one of the top 14 Finalists in the New7Wonders of Nature.


The Jeita cave is situated at the center of the western flanks of the Lebanon
Mount Lebanon
Mount Lebanon , as a geographic designation, is a Lebanese mountain range, averaging above 2,200 meters in height and receiving a substantial amount of precipitation, including snow, which averages around four meters deep. It extends across the whole country along about , parallel to the...

 mountains, more specifically in the Nahr al-Kalb valley, its natural entrance is about 100 metres (328.1 ft) above sea level. It's located 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) east of the Mediterranean coastline and 18 kilometres (11.2 mi) north of Beirut within the confines of the municipality of Jeita
Jeita is a Lebanese town located in the Keserwan District in the Mount Lebanon Governorate. The town is about north of Beirut. It is famous for the Jeita Grotto which is a popular tourist attraction, as well as the Nahr al-Kalb, a river that runs from a spring near the grotto emptying into the...

, in the caza of Keserwan
Keserwan District
Keserwan is a district in the Mount Lebanon Governorate , Lebanon, to the northeast of the Lebanon's capital Beirut...



Ancient vestiges of a foundry
A foundry is a factory that produces metal castings. Metals are cast into shapes by melting them into a liquid, pouring the metal in a mold, and removing the mold material or casting after the metal has solidified as it cools. The most common metals processed are aluminum and cast iron...

 were found in a smaller cave near the Nahr al-Kalb river, suggesting that the cave was used in antiquity to produce swords.

The modern discovery of the underground river of Jeita in 1836 is credited to Reverend William Thomson (an American missionary
A missionary is a member of a religious group sent into an area to do evangelism or ministries of service, such as education, literacy, social justice, health care and economic development. The word "mission" originates from 1598 when the Jesuits sent members abroad, derived from the Latin...

) who ventured some 50 metres (164 ft) into the cave. Reaching the underground river, he fired a shot from his gun and the resulting echoes convinced him that he had found a cavern of major importance.

In 1873 W.J. Maxwell and H.G. Huxley, engineers with the Beirut Water Company, and their friend Reverend Daniel Bliss
Daniel Bliss
Daniel Bliss was the founder of the American University of Beirut.-Life and Work:...

, president of the Syrian Protestant College
American University of Beirut
The American University of Beirut is a private, independent university in Beirut, Lebanon. It was founded as the Syrian Protestant College by American missionaries in 1866...

 (later the American University of Beirut
American University of Beirut
The American University of Beirut is a private, independent university in Beirut, Lebanon. It was founded as the Syrian Protestant College by American missionaries in 1866...

) explored these caverns. In two expeditions carried out in 1873 and 1874 they penetrated 1060 metres (3,477.7 ft) into the grotto which is the principal source of the Nahr al-Kalb that supplies Beirut with water. They were impeded by "Hell's Rapids" torrents which break onto razor sharp rocks.
Dr. Bliss, Mr. Maxwell and the other engineers recorded their names and the year on "Maxwell's Column", a great limestone pillar some 625 metres (2,050.5 ft) from the entrance.
About 200 metres (656.2 ft) further on, in the so-called "Pantheon
Pantheon, Rome
The Pantheon ,Rarely Pantheum. This appears in Pliny's Natural History in describing this edifice: Agrippae Pantheum decoravit Diogenes Atheniensis; in columnis templi eius Caryatides probantur inter pauca operum, sicut in fastigio posita signa, sed propter altitudinem loci minus celebrata.from ,...

", they wrote their names and details of the expedition on paper, sealed it in a bottle and placed it on top of a stalagmite. The lime-impregnated water has since covered the bottle with a thin white film, permanently fixing it to the stone.

Between 1892 and 1940 further expeditions were carried out by English, American and French explorers. Their expeditions brought them to a depth of 1750 metres (5,741.5 ft).

Since the 1940s, Lebanese explorers, notably the members of the Speleo Club du Liban
Speleo club du liban
Spéléo Club du Liban was formed in 1951. It is considered one of the oldest caving associations in the Middle East.-History:...

 (Lebanese Caving Club) founded in 1951 by the first Lebanese speleologist Lionel Ghorra_ have pushed even deeper into the Jeita grotto. Their expeditions revealed a great underground system which is now known to an overall length of nearly 9 kilometres (5.6 mi).

In 1958 the lower caverns were opened to the public, meanwhile exploration was still underway mainly by the Lebanese Caving Club. This exploration led to the discovery of the elevated dry branch of the grotto later referred to as the upper galleries.

In 1962, the Spéléo Club contributed to a study of the upper galleries aiming to provide an access tunnel which was to be dug for touristic development purposes. Work on the access tunnel was begun in 1968. Its opening was followed by the installation of a series of walkways which permitted tourists safe access to the upper galleries without disturbing the natural landscape
Natural landscape
A natural landscape is a landscape that is unaffected by human activity. A natural landscape is intact when all living and nonliving elements are free to move and change. The nonliving elements distinguish a natural landscape from a wilderness. A wilderness includes areas within which natural...


In 1969, a concert with electronic music by the French
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 composer Francois Bayle
François Bayle
François Bayle is a composer of Musique concrète or acousmatic music.In the 1950s he studied with Olivier Messiaen, Pierre Schaeffer and Karlheinz Stockhausen. In 1960 he joined the Office de Radiodiffusion Télévision Française, and in 1966 was put in charge of the Groupe de Recherches Musicales...

 was held in the cave to celebrate the inauguration of the upper galleries. This event was organized by the Lebanese artist and sculptor Ghassan Klink. Other cultural events have taken place in this unusual surrounding, including a concert by the world acknowledged German
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 composer Karlheinz Stockhausen
Karlheinz Stockhausen
Karlheinz Stockhausen was a German composer, widely acknowledged by critics as one of the most important but also controversial composers of the 20th and early 21st centuries. Another critic calls him "one of the great visionaries of 20th-century music"...

 in November 1969, and more recently, in 2008 a classical music concert by Lebanese-Armenian composer and pianist Guy Manoukian
Guy Manoukian
Guy Manoukian is a Lebanese-Armenian musician, composer and pianist. He is a university graduate in law. He was also a basketball player in the Lebanese Basketball League.-Biography:...

The caverns closed to the public due to the Lebanese civil war
Lebanese Civil War
The Lebanese Civil War was a multifaceted civil war in Lebanon. The war lasted from 1975 to 1990 and resulted in an estimated 150,000 to 230,000 civilian fatalities. Another one million people were wounded, and today approximately 350,000 people remain displaced. There was also a mass exodus of...

 in 1978 both tunnels leading to the lower and upper galleries were used to store munitions, the outside buildings for military purposes. The caves reopened in 1995 and remain one of the country’s key natural attractions.


Jeita I (sometimes referred to as Nahr-el-Kelb) is a dry cave, 56 metres deep to the east of the source cave from where the river flows and connected to it by narrow channels. It was first noted in 1833 by Botta and excavated by Godefroy Zumoffen
Godefroy Zumoffen
Reverend Father Godefroy Zumoffen, born 1848 in France and died in 1928 was a French Jesuit archaeologist and geologist notable for his work on prehistory in Lebanon....

 in two positions in 1898, 1900, 1908 and 1910. It was later excavated by Auguste Bergy
Auguste Bergy
Reverend Father Auguste Bergy, born 1873 in France and died 31 August 1955 was a French Jesuit archaeologist notable for his work on prehistory in Lebanon.He is known particularly for excavations and studies at the Sands of Beirut and at Ras Beirut...

 with materials from both excavations now with the Museum of Lebanese Prehistory
Museum of Lebanese Prehistory
The Museum of Lebanese Prehistory is a museum of prehistory and archaeology in Beirut, Lebanon.-History:...

, the Archaeological Museum of the American University of Beirut
Archaeological Museum of the American University of Beirut
The Archaeology Museum of the American University of Beirut in Beirut, Lebanon is the third oldest museum in the Near East after Cairo and Constantinople.-History:...

 and the private collection of Dr. Gigues. Henri Fleisch
Henri Fleisch
Reverend Father Henri Fleisch, born January 1 1904 in Jonvelle , France and died 10 February 1985 in Lebanon where he was buried. He was a French archaeologist, missionary and Orientalist, known for his work on classical Arabic language and Lebanese dialect and prehistory in Lebanon.He entered the...

 noticed an Upper Paleolithic
Upper Paleolithic
The Upper Paleolithic is the third and last subdivision of the Paleolithic or Old Stone Age as it is understood in Europe, Africa and Asia. Very broadly it dates to between 40,000 and 10,000 years ago, roughly coinciding with the appearance of behavioral modernity and before the advent of...

 level with further finds including polished Neolithic
The Neolithic Age, Era, or Period, or New Stone Age, was a period in the development of human technology, beginning about 9500 BC in some parts of the Middle East, and later in other parts of the world. It is traditionally considered as the last part of the Stone Age...

 pieces, primitive potsherds, burned bones and end scrapers. Jacques Cauvin
Jacques Cauvin
Professor Jacques Cauvin was a French archaeologist who specialised in the prehistory of the Levant and Near East.-Biography:...

 noted similarities in these finds to the Néolithique Moyen period of Byblos
Byblos is the Greek name of the Phoenician city Gebal . It is a Mediterranean city in the Mount Lebanon Governorate of present-day Lebanon under the current Arabic name of Jubayl and was also referred to as Gibelet during the Crusades...

. Evidence of later occupation included a Chalcolithic tripod pot found by Father Fleisch and a combed-ware sherd
In archaeology, a sherd is commonly a historic or prehistoric fragment of pottery, although the term is occasionally used to refer to fragments of stone and glass vessels as well....

 suggested to date to the Early Bronze Age levels at Byblos.

Jeita II (Dahr el-Mghara) is a rock shelter situated on a platform, above and equidistant between the dry cave of Jeita I and the entrance to the grotto at Jeita III. Excavations were made by the Duc de Luynes and Lartet in 1864, by Zumoffen in 1900 and 1908 and by Bergy in 1930. A large number of flint tools, bones and hearths were found that were accredited to the Aurignacian
The Aurignacian culture is an archaeological culture of the Upper Palaeolithic, located in Europe and southwest Asia. It lasted broadly within the period from ca. 45,000 to 35,000 years ago in terms of conventional radiocarbon dating, or between ca. 47,000 and 41,000 years ago in terms of the most...

. Further excavations were made in 1964 by Francis Hours
Francis Hours
Reverend Father Francis Hours, born 1921 in France and died 1987 was a French Jesuit archaeologist known for his work on prehistory in the Levant....

 which revealed much more extensive, deeper and richer deposits than had previously been suspected. Father Hours permitted Lorraine Copeland
Lorraine Copeland
Lorraine Copeland is an archaeologist specialising in the Palaeolithic period of the Near East. Her husband was Miles Axe Copeland Jr, and they had four children, all of whom have gone on to have notable careers: Miles Copeland III, Ian, Lorraine and Stewart Copeland.Lorraine Copeland was born in...

 to disclose that the upper material appeared to display late Upper Paleolithic
Upper Paleolithic
The Upper Paleolithic is the third and last subdivision of the Paleolithic or Old Stone Age as it is understood in Europe, Africa and Asia. Very broadly it dates to between 40,000 and 10,000 years ago, roughly coinciding with the appearance of behavioral modernity and before the advent of...

 or early Mesolithic
The Mesolithic is an archaeological concept used to refer to certain groups of archaeological cultures defined as falling between the Paleolithic and the Neolithic....

 characteristics, probably including Kebaran
The Kebaran or Kebarian culture was an archaeological culture in the eastern Mediterranean area , named after its type site, Kebara Cave south of Haifa...

. Excavation was to be continued but the area was fenced off and owned by the government.

Jeita III (The Caverns) was a deposit of brown soil that fell from a location suggested to be at the east end of Jeita II, just inside the entrance to the grotto where the tourists are conducted by boat. It was found in 1963 by the Speleologists Club and excavated by Father Hours. Flint
Flint is a hard, sedimentary cryptocrystalline form of the mineral quartz, categorized as a variety of chert. It occurs chiefly as nodules and masses in sedimentary rocks, such as chalks and limestones. Inside the nodule, flint is usually dark grey, black, green, white, or brown in colour, and...

 tools found in the deposit were geometric in design and suggested to be a form of Natufian or later Mesolithic
The Mesolithic is an archaeological concept used to refer to certain groups of archaeological cultures defined as falling between the Paleolithic and the Neolithic....

 than discovered at Jeita II, from where it may have been displaced. Forms of these flints included rectangles with straight or oblique truncation, borers of the "crochet" type, micro-burins, end scrapers, bladelet cores, two transverse arrowheads, crescents and short triangles. Some of the crescents had ridged backs and resembled those found at Nahal Oren
Nahal Oren
Nahal Oren is an archeological site in a cave 10 kilometers south of Haifa, Israel, which was first excavated in 1941. Kebaran and Natufian Pre-Pottery A and B industries were found. -Domestication of Gazelles and Goats:...

. Material is stored with the Museum of Lebanese Prehistory
Museum of Lebanese Prehistory
The Museum of Lebanese Prehistory is a museum of prehistory and archaeology in Beirut, Lebanon.-History:...


Jeita IV (Mugharet-el-Mal) is a rock shelter in the cliff upstream from the grotto. It once contained a large quantity of Paleolithic
The Paleolithic Age, Era or Period, is a prehistoric period of human history distinguished by the development of the most primitive stone tools discovered , and covers roughly 99% of human technological prehistory...

 material which has been looted and was deemed unfit for excavation by Sami Karkaby, Director of the Caverns in 1965. Study of the lithic remains at this shelter were hoped to shed further light on the Paleolithic or Mesolithic communities that inhabited the different sites at different times.


The Jeita grotto is located within the Lower-Middle Jurassic
The Jurassic is a geologic period and system that extends from about Mya to  Mya, that is, from the end of the Triassic to the beginning of the Cretaceous. The Jurassic constitutes the middle period of the Mesozoic era, also known as the age of reptiles. The start of the period is marked by...

 strata of Keserouane which has a stratigraphic thickness of 1000 metres (3,280.8 ft) and consists of dolostone
Dolostone or dolomite rock is a sedimentary carbonate rock that contains a high percentage of the mineral dolomite. In old U.S.G.S. publications it was referred to as magnesian limestone. Most dolostone formed as a magnesium replacement of limestone or lime mud prior to lithification. It is...

 and micritic
Micrite is a limestone constituent formed of calcareous particles ranging in diameter up to 4 μm formed by the recrystallization of lime mud.The term was coined in 1959 by Robert Folk for his carbonate rock classification system...

Limestone is a sedimentary rock composed largely of the minerals calcite and aragonite, which are different crystal forms of calcium carbonate . Many limestones are composed from skeletal fragments of marine organisms such as coral or foraminifera....

. The Keserouane formation was exposed to air by a local uplift
Tectonic uplift
Tectonic uplift is a geological process most often caused by plate tectonics which increases elevation. The opposite of uplift is subsidence, which results in a decrease in elevation. Uplift may be orogenic or isostatic.-Orogenic uplift:...

 during the Late Jurassic-Early Cretaceous
The Cretaceous , derived from the Latin "creta" , usually abbreviated K for its German translation Kreide , is a geologic period and system from circa to million years ago. In the geologic timescale, the Cretaceous follows the Jurassic period and is followed by the Paleogene period of the...

. The Keserouane strata became karstified after its aerial exposure and then was buried during the Cretaceous
The Cretaceous , derived from the Latin "creta" , usually abbreviated K for its German translation Kreide , is a geologic period and system from circa to million years ago. In the geologic timescale, the Cretaceous follows the Jurassic period and is followed by the Paleogene period of the...

. In the Neogene
The Neogene is a geologic period and system in the International Commission on Stratigraphy Geologic Timescale starting 23.03 ± 0.05 million years ago and ending 2.588 million years ago...

, upon the final uplift of Mount Lebanon, this early karstification phase was reactivated.

At the Nahr al-Kalb valley, the impervious Upper Jurassic volcanic rocks and Lower Cretaceous sand slant almost vertically forming a hydrogeological barrier and forcing the outlet of the Jeita underground river to the surface. This barrier could be the reason for the westernmost, large cave chambers with heights exceeding 60 metres (196.9 ft). Karstification of the Keserouane limestone was further intensified by the steep topography of the area and the volume of precipitation over the Lebanon (more than 1200mm).

A ratio of total slope gradient of 1/100 is calculated between the entrance of the cave and its inland extremity. This shows its smooth flat course even though it is sometimes interrupted by several small cascades and rapids. From the west, the Jeita cave starts with large halls and meander
A meander in general is a bend in a sinuous watercourse. A meander is formed when the moving water in a stream erodes the outer banks and widens its valley. A stream of any volume may assume a meandering course, alternately eroding sediments from the outside of a bend and depositing them on the...

s. Through some rapids, the dimension becomes narrower. Going forth, it is spacious with the Thompson’s cavern (250 metres (820.2 ft) long and 60 metres (196.9 ft) wide), Grand Chaos 500 metres (1,640.4 ft) long) and Mroueh’s Hall (200 metres (656.2 ft) long and 50 metres (164 ft) wide). The latter two are floored with collapsed blocks. The cave ends with a Y-shaped pattern, where, each branch ends with a siphon
The word siphon is sometimes used to refer to a wide variety of devices that involve the flow of liquids through tubes. But in the English language today, the word siphon usually refers to a tube in an inverted U shape which causes a liquid to flow uphill, above the surface of the reservoir,...



The Jeita caves are solutional karst caves which have formed over millions of years due to the dissolution of limestone. The limestone is dissolved by carbonic acid charged rain water and groundwater; when the limestone, which is originally water proof, contains cracks produced by tectonic forces the water oozes into the rock and starts to widen the cracks and solute caves inside the layers. Jeita is the longest cave complex in the Middle East;, it sits at 300 metres (984.3 ft) above sea level and has a height difference of 305 metres (1,000.7 ft). Geologically, the caves provide a tunnel or escape route for the underground river, which is the principal source of Nahr al-Kalb.

The Jeita grotto is the longest explored cave in Lebanon. After many years of exploration, speleologists have penetrated about 6200 metres (20,341.2 ft) from the entry point of the lower grotto to the far end of the underground river and about 2130 metres (6,988.2 ft) of the upper galleries.

Upper cave

The Jeita upper cave has an overall length of 2130 metres (6,988.2 ft) of which only 750 metres (2,460.6 ft) are accessible to visitors via a specially conceived walkway; access to the remainder of the cave was restricted to prevent ecological damage which may occur due to the flocking tourists. The upper cave contains a great concentration of a variety of crystallized formations such as stalactites, stalagmite
A stalagmite is a type of speleothem that rises from the floor of a limestone cave due to the dripping of mineralized solutions and the deposition of calcium carbonate. This stalagmite formation occurs only under certain pH conditions within the underground cavern. The corresponding formation on...

s, columns, mushrooms, ponds, curtains and draperies. The upper gallery is famous for its formations, lit by an effective lighting system. It is entered through a 117 metres (383.9 ft) long concrete tunnel. The part accessible by visitors has three huge chambers. The first is called White Chamber, the second Red Chamber, due to the color of the formations.
White dripstones are pure calcite without defilement, the red color is given by iron oxide (rust) in small amounts. In Lebanon iron oxide has a red color instead of the brown beige color which is common in northern countries. The reason is a different chemical reaction caused by the high temperature which produces a different kind of iron oxide.
The White Chamber is medium sized, but has the most impressive formations of the cave. The Red Chamber is up to 106 metres (347.8 ft) high, and 30 metres (98.4 ft) to 50 metres (164 ft) wide. The third chamber is the biggest of all three chambers and has a height of more than 120 metres (393.7 ft). The longest stalactite in the world is located in Jeita's White Chamber; it measures 8.2 metres (26.9 ft) long.

Lower cave

The lower gallery which has an overall length of 6200 metres (20,341.2 ft) is located 60 metres (196.9 ft) below the upper gallery. It is traversed by a smooth underwater river and a lake (the "Dark Lake"). The river is broken up by several small cataracts and rapids. The lower cave's "Thompson's Cavern", is a massive hall with impressive speleothem
A speleothem , commonly known as a cave formation, is a secondary mineral deposit formed in a cave. Speleothems are typically formed in limestone or dolostone solutional caves.-Origin and composition:...

s such as the Eagle Obelisk stalagmite. Other halls in the lower gallery include the Pantheon, Grand Chaos and Shangri-la. Visitors are transported in the lower gallery by electric boats for a distance of 500 metres (1,640.4 ft). In winter the lower level is closed, when the water level is too high.

Economic and social importance

Today, the Jeita Grotto is a popular recreational show cave
Show cave
Show caves — also called tourist caves, public caves, and in the United States, commercial caves — are caves that are managed by a government or commercial organization and made accessible to the general public, usually for an entrance fee...

 and a major tourist
Tourism is travel for recreational, leisure or business purposes. The World Tourism Organization defines tourists as people "traveling to and staying in places outside their usual environment for not more than one consecutive year for leisure, business and other purposes".Tourism has become a...

 attraction. It hosts approximately 280,000 visitors per year.

The Jeita grotto contributes heavily to the public life of the region. MAPAS, the firm which runs the grotto, is an important employer and provides full time jobs for around 115 local residents of Jeita (30% of which are female). In addition to employment, the Jeita caves contribute 5% of ticket fees to the local municipality, between 10 and 20% of general revenue to the Lebanese ministry of tourism
Ministry of Tourism (Lebanon)
The Ministry of Tourism is a government ministry of Lebanon. It originates from the Lebanon Tourism Service created in the 1930s as part of the Ministry of National Economy.-History:...

, and an additional 10% of ticket fees along with the 10% VAT
Vat or VAT may refer to:* A type of container such as a barrel, storage tank, or tub, often constructed of welded sheet stainless steel, and used for holding, storing, and processing liquids such as milk, wine, and beer...

 to the Lebanese ministry of Finance.

Moreover, the Jeita cave emits a spring with a flow ranging from 1–2 m³/sec, providing fresh drinking water for one-and-a-half million inhabitants of the capital, Beirut
Beirut is the capital and largest city of Lebanon, with a population ranging from 1 million to more than 2 million . Located on a peninsula at the midpoint of Lebanon's Mediterranean coastline, it serves as the country's largest and main seaport, and also forms the Beirut Metropolitan...

. However, water pollution, due to domestic and agricultural runoff, remains a serious concern as recent analysis detected an increasing presence of coliform bacteria
Coliform bacteria
Coliform bacteria are a commonly used bacterial indicator of sanitary quality of foods and water. They are defined as rod-shaped Gram-negative non-spore forming bacteria which can ferment lactose with the production of acid and gas when incubated at 35-37°C...



In 2002, then French President Jacques Chirac
Jacques Chirac
Jacques René Chirac is a French politician who served as President of France from 1995 to 2007. He previously served as Prime Minister of France from 1974 to 1976 and from 1986 to 1988 , and as Mayor of Paris from 1977 to 1995.After completing his studies of the DEA's degree at the...

, the United Nations World Tourism Organization
World Tourism Organization
The World Tourism Organization , based in Madrid, Spain, is a United Nations agency dealing with questions relating to tourism. It compiles the World Tourism rankings. The World Tourism Organization is a significant global body, concerned with the collection and collation of statistical information...

 and the World Bank
World Bank
The World Bank is an international financial institution that provides loans to developing countries for capital programmes.The World Bank's official goal is the reduction of poverty...

 accorded the top Sustainable Development
Sustainable development
Sustainable development is a pattern of resource use, that aims to meet human needs while preserving the environment so that these needs can be met not only in the present, but also for generations to come...

 in Tourism prize to MAPAS (the company that manages the site) at a summit dubbed “New Ties between Tourism and Culture” in Geneva.

In December 2003, on behalf of the Beirut-based private company MAPAS, Jeita received a prestigious award from the fifth Tourism Summits in Chamonix
Chamonix-Mont-Blanc or, more commonly, Chamonix is a commune in the Haute-Savoie département in the Rhône-Alpes region in south-eastern France. It was the site of the 1924 Winter Olympics, the first Winter Olympics...

, France. "Les sommets du tourisme" recognized MAPAS’ efforts in restoring Lebanon’s important touristic sites.

The Jeita Grotto is a candidate for the New 7 Wonders of Nature competition. It was selected as one of 28 finalists and is the only cave to be selected among the nominees. The New7Wonders Foundation announced the new wonders of nature in 2011. Jeita was not on the list.

Other awards and certificates include:
  • 2000 Certificate of Recognition from "Sukleen"-Lebanon for its sorting and recycling campaign.
  • 2000 Appreciation from the Arab Musical Association".
  • 1998 "Best Tourism Project" from the Lebanese Ministry of Tourism.
  • 1997 International Environmental Award from the German Travel Association (DRV).

Other names

The name of the cave changed several times since its discovery. Initially referred to as the Grottoes of Nahr al-Kalb, it was subsequently known as Djaita, Jehita, and finally Jeita. Naher el Kalb is the name of the river that runs through the grottoes, while Jeita, meaning "roaring water" in Aramaic, is the town in which the cave's entrance is located. The transition from Grottoes of Nahr al-Kalb to Jeita Grottoes occurred in 1927 as newspapers widely used the latter name.

Numismatics and philately

In 1961, Jeita became a national symbol when Lebanese authorities issued a stamp featuring the lower cavern to promote national tourism. Mr. Maroun Hajj, the oarsman shown on the stamp, still leads boat tours forty years after the stamp was issued. The Jeita Grotto is also featured on the 1964 one Lira (Lebanese pound) verso.

External links

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