Nawal Al Zoughbi
The area of Lebanon is 10,452 square kilometers, with a population of around 4
millions. Lebanon lies to the east of the Mediterranean, sharing borders to the
north and east with Syria, and to the south with Israel. Lebanon is hemmed
between sea and mountain, and it has an extremely narrow coastal strip that
stretches along the shore of the eastern Mediterranean.
It is a mountainous country and between the two mountain ranges of Jebel Lubnan
(Mount Lebanon), Mount Hermon and the Anti-Lebanon range lies the fertile Bekaa
Valley, which is part of the Great Rift system, which stretches from southern
Turkey to Mozambique in Africa.
Approximately half of the country lies at an altitude of over 900m (3000ft).
Lebanon's highest peaks are Qurnat as Sawda' (3,088 m/10,131 ft) in the
country's north, and volcanic Mount Hermon (2,814 m/9,232 ft) at the southern
end of the Anti-Lebanons. The country's name comes from the old Semitic word
laban, meaning "white," which refers to the heavy snow in the mountains.
Into this small country is packed such a variety of scenery that there are few
places to equal it in beauty and choice. The famous cedar trees grow high in the
mountains, while the lower slopes bear grapes, apricots, plums, peaches, figs,
olives and barley, often on terraces painstakingly cut out from the