LANDSCAPE  AND  CLIMATE
Occupying an area about twice the size of Prince Edward Island, Lebanon lies at the edge of Asia on the eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea. To the north and east lies Syria, while Israel lies to the south.

The country contains four geographical regions: a coastal plain and a central plateau, which is bordered by two north-south mountain ranges. The coastal plain is a narrow region; though only 13 kilometres wide at its broadest point, it contains most of Lebanon's population. The major port cities of Beirut and Tripoli, as well as ancient towns such as Tyre and Byblos, are located here. Sometimes a plain, sometimes peaked by mountains coming down to the sea, the coast also offers rocky beaches and estuaries that have created fertile soil.

The coastal climate is typically Mediterranean: hot and humid in the summer, and cooler and wetter from November to March. The hot khamsin wind brings warm air from the Egyptian desert into Lebanon in the fall and spring.

The coast rises to the Lebanon Mountains (Jebel Lebnan), which run the entire length of the country. The highest peak is Qornet es Saouda, at 3,087 metres. The mountains are home to many springs, some of which become rivers that make crop cultivation possible at high elevations. Not many stands of Lebanon's famous cedar trees remain on the mountains, but they do support oaks, pines, cypresses, firs, junipers and carobs. Wildlife includes bears, wildcats, deer, hedgehogs and martens. The mountains also house many birds, such as eagles, buzzards, kites, falcons, hawks, woodpeckers and owls.

Central Lebanon consists of a fertile plateau called the Bekaa Valley (El Beqaa), which is an extension of the great East African Rift Valley that was formed by a giant fault in the earth's crust. Irrigated by the Litani and Assi Rivers, the valley is where much of the country's vegetables and fruit are grown. The valley experiences a fluctuating but moderate temperature range: afternoons can reach 30C, then drop to 8C hours later.

East of the valley lies the Anti-Lebanon Mountains (Jebel esh Sharqi Jabalu sh-Shaykh), which run along the Syrian border. The highest peak is Mount Hermon , at 2,814 metres. Both of Lebanon's mountain ranges have alpine climates and receive enough snowfall for ski resorts to open from December to March.


  Did you know?
Since before Biblical times, Lebanon has been famous for its cedar trees. The Temple of Solomon was built by Lebanese workers using cedar from Lebanon. Lebanese cedar was also found in the tombs of the Pharaohs of Egypt. The trees can grow up to 24 metres.




  Did you know?
Mount Hermon is a site for ancient temples and has long inspired mystics and poets. The mountain now contains a temple in honour of Job, a figure in the Old Testament, and is also a holy site for the Druze.