Pilgrimage to the cedars of Lebanon October 2010
For many years I wished to see the cedars of Lebanon… In my garden in Tokaj, Hungary, I have a very nice grove of Lebanon cedars now over 20 years old, grown from seed received from Turkey.
Today they form a perfect stand recently producing good quantities of seed and lots of shade. But I was eager to see the "true" cedars which required a flight to either Beirut or Damascus. Together with family members we chose the latter way and were not disappointed.
The city of Damascus was a peaceful and friendly place, where we hired a cab to make the trip to Lebanon. It all went very smooth, via the Bekaa valley and then to Beirut from where we ascended the mountains to end up in one of the El Chouf cedar groves at 1800-1900 m.
At last we were under the cedars, with trails criss-crossing the area (in one of the pictures with my daughters, Noémi and Diana). Some of the trees are in a sadly poor state with many of their limbs cut but one could see that caring hands do all they can do to save the lives of the old cedars... Some dead trees have been converted into artistically carved skeletons, or peculiar sculptures. Interestingly, the area we visited, had only very old or quite young trees of cedar; certainly, there was a time, decades ago, when only a few remaining groves and old trees were all that left of the species in these mountains, and the thousands of young trees we see around here are signs of a recent reforestation effort.
Most trees (to my surprise) were of somewhat silvery green or blue, with the colour changing between blue, gray and deep green, with a sheen of silver, depending on the angle of light. It was a memorable day, with the extra gift that upon return, I shared the photos with Zsolt and István and one was included in this major conifer book!