For those of you who doubted Jeita’s ability to make it to the top of the list..TAKE THAT! (Even Now Lebanon didn’t think she would get so far!)
Jeita Grotto, Lebanon’s pride and joy, was named a finalist in the new “Seven Natural Wonders of the World” competition this week. Of all of the sites I’ve seen in Lebanon, Jeita is truly one of the most striking and well preserved – she is definitely deserving of this accolade. I wish I could’ve taken my own pictures when I went there, but as anyone who has visited knows, taking pictures is strictly prohibited to ensure that she remains intact!
According to an article in the The Daily Star,
““This is a huge victory for us and for Lebanon that we have reached the finals,” Nabil Haddad, coordinator of the National Campaign for Jeita, told The Daily Star. “It is a historical moment that a Lebanese natural site is competing with the most important natural beauty locations in the world like the Grand Canyon and the Amazon Forest.”
Beating off over 400 rivals – including Mount Everest and Canada’s Niagara Falls – Jeita was selected as one of 28 hopefuls by a panel of international judges that have praised the Grotto and applauded Lebanon for the “professionalism” of its campaign.
Jeita is a compound of crystallized caves located 20 km north of Beirut in the Nahr Kalb Valley. The two giant underground vaults, which are easily accessed by tourists and attract around 400,000 visitors each year, are laden with an awe-inspiring display of stalactites and stalagmites, engrossing much of the 108-meter high chamber.
At almost 9-kilometers in length, the Grotto is home to one of the world’s biggest stalactites, measuring some 8.2 meters in height. It also harbors a rainbow-colored display of younger crystal-like formations, created by water and mineral deposits having sifted through rocks over hundreds of thousands of years.
Jeita provides drinking water for some 800,000 Beirut residents each day and although the water has to be treated, the grotto remains unpolluted in comparison to other underground water sources in Lebanon that are suffering as a consequence of climate change and environmental degradation. Its lower cave can only be navigated by small boats that ferry tourists down the eerie canal
Jeita had to collect over one million email votes to pass to the semifinal stages which narrowed the number of contestants from 400 to just under 80. It also had to fight off strong competition from the Cedars which was also vying to be named as the official Lebanese entry.”
Read more of the article here.
Vote for Jeita Grotto to win a spot as one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World by visiting this page.
Are you one of the many Lebanese I know who have never been to Jeita? Well, now’s as good a time as any to pay a visit! Click here to go to the official Jeita Grotto website!