Nestled in the high mountain of Jaj,at an altitude of 1,500 meters (4,800 feet), this cluster of cedars is one of the most ancient natural reserves left of the forest that once covered the whole region and which the kings of Byblos exploited during the 3rd millennium B.C…
It is also told in the Bible, in I Kings, 5: 32, that Hiram King of Tyre sent the Gibilites (Jbeïlis, people of Byblos) to cut wood for the construction of the temple of Jehovah in Jerusalem in the time of King Solomon, about 930 B.C..
On the heights of Jej there are now only a few fine specimens of cedars, hundreds of years old, rooted among the masses of rock. They are surely well worth the promenade, for their majestic stature, their eternal verdure and, when there is a light breeze, their particular perfume and odors fully recompense the effort of a visit that they truly merit after having held out so long against tragic devastation.
A very old squat chapel with walls of crudely cut stones, with narrow door and windows and decrepit interior, hides in disorder some holy pictures. It stands as a curiosity and as yet another witness to the difficulties of the Christian mountain-dwellers during the long “winter” of the rule of the Ottoman pashas.
A road has recently been pierced, a car-park laid out and a winding pathway cleared up the mountainside to lead one up to the illustrious cedars (about 15 minutes hiking before reaching the forest). Free Entrance.
How to get there: You can take the road from Byblos towards Saint Charbel, Annaya and then continue to Meshmech and Jaj. Or take the road from Amshit towards Lehfed and then Jaj.