I made this trip to Lebanon almost a decade and a half back, but the heritage architecture and rustic charm of the place is still fresh in my memory. Lebanon has a rich history which is 7000 years old. At the time of my visit, the Syrian Army were occupying some parts of Lebanon and we had to pass through numerous Syrian check-posts to reach these places. Within a year of my trip, the army had withdrawn and peace was restored. In this series I would like to take you through a tour of the timeless beauty that this country exudes.
The Cedar of Lebanon or Cedrus Libani is a type of coniferous evergreen tree which can grow as high as 40 metres. These colossal trees are native to the mountains of the Eastern Mediterranean region. These forests are as old as the Roman Empire. In fact, they were cut down to build palaces for the Roman Empire. The massive Cedars of Lebanon also find reference in the Bible. It is said that David built his palace and Solomon built his temple using timber from these trees. Furthermore, the Cedar is the national emblem of Lebanon and can also be seen on the Lebanese Flag.
The construction of the Beiteddine Palace which began in 1806 took 30 years for its completion. The palace boasts of beautiful arcades, courtyards and carved cedar wood ceilings. It was the residence of Emir Bashir Shahab II till he was exiled to Turkey in 1840 by the Ottomans. It contains the tombs of Emir Shahab II and his wife. The original palace was destroyed after the Israeli invasion and the structure as we see it today, was renovated in 1984 by Walid Jumblatt. The Betidienne Palace currently serves as the summer residence of the President of Lebanon.
Spotted Deer (Scientific Name: Axis axis) is a species of deer found in the Indian subcontinent, which is locally known as Cheetal. Males are larger than females and antlers are present only on males. Male deer reach about 90 cm and female up to 70 cm at the shoulder. Males may weigh 30-75 kg and females weigh up to 25-45 kg. The upper parts are golden completely covered in white spots. The abdomen, rump, throat, insides of legs, ears and tail are all white. The three-pronged antlers are about 1m long.
The natural habitat of the Cheetal deer comprises of open wood land in grassy areas. They prefer to live near rivers and other sources of water. They are found living in small herds of 20 to 30 animals