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Bentael Natural reserve founded in 1981, owes its origin to the local will to protect this zone, notably against the projects of urbanization. First unofficial reserve of Lebanon, Bentael reserve was inaugurated in 1987; it gets its legal status by virtue of law 11 of February, 1999.


According to law No. 11/1999, Bentael nature reserve designation aims at:

(i) Protecting the natural environment and its related biodiversity and natural resources.
(ii) Conserving the natural resources (soil, ecosystem and water resources) which include protecting the reserve from pollution and degradation resulting from natural and human induced factors
(iii) Managing and conserving the reserve in a proper way while ensuring benefits through regulated eco-tourism as long as it does not negate the conservation objectives.
Located in the northern suburbs of Beirut, the reserve lies on the valley's foothills to the East of the oldest city Byblos (8 kilometers) at 38 kilometers from Beirut.
The reserve is sort of dense woodland.

Situated at 250 to 850 m altitude, the woodlands harbors several vertical cliffs of bare rock with many small caves and crevices.

One of the oldest and smallest nature reserves in Lebanon with a total surface of 110 ha, the reserve set an example for the needs to conserve Lebanon's nature areas.



Cultural Heritage

 Inside the Reserve there are St. John's rock-cut hermitage and chapel. This 12th century dwelling is located 8m above the ground, and can be reached from the hiking trails 1, 2 and 3. It is composed of three cavities. The first, located approximately 8m from the bottom of the hill, was only accessible by ropes. Researchers believe that this cavity was used for habitation and as a refuge in case of attack. The second cavity shelters the remains of St. John's chapel. The third cavity houses a water reservoir approximately 2.5m deep and 2 m wide. It was used to collect rain water. At the entrance to this cavity stand two old oak trees.

 Saint Théodore church, one of the oldest churches in Lebanon, is found on the way leading to the reserve in Behdaydat village. On its wall, there is a fresco that belongs to the 9th century.

 A stone sculpture engraving "The Sacrifice in the Phoenician Culture" dating 1500 B.C. is found on the rocks near the reserve.

 

Download Law #11

Bentael Nature Reserve has organized in conjunction with Kafr Club the annual race that takes place for the second time on the Independence Day. This 6.5km-race starts from the park house of the reserve in Bentael and finishes in Kafr club. Participants of all ages ran from Bentael to Kafr on November 22, 2011


Recreational act. Leisure/Green Shell adventure Eco-Park

Best period to visit

Needed equipment

Ecotourism packages


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