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Lebanon Mountains
Arabic: jibal lubnān

Valley of the Lebanon Mountains, Lebanon.
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Valley of the Lebanon Mountains, Lebanon.

Lebanon Mountains, Lebanon.
ZOOM - Open a large version of this image

Mountain range of western Lebanon. Together with the Anti-Lebanon Mountains, it defines the geographical boundaries of the modern state of Lebanon, divided by the Bekaa Valley.
It is usually suggested that name of the mountains, and from that, the name of the country are from these mountains. Snow clad in winter, they may have had their name from luban, Aramaic for "white."
The length is approximately 160 km, and the highest mountain peak is Qornet es-Sawda, 3,088 metres.
The Lebanon Mountains are dominated by valleys and steep mountain sides. The mountains are of limestone, and the soil is thin. The region sees good rainfall and snow in winter. Still, much of the local agriculture uses springs as a reliable water source.
The nature has provided excellent protection for its inhabitants through the millenniums, and is one of the explanations why Lebanon has remained the only country in the Middle East with a substantial Christian population (39%, but declining due to high fertility rate among Muslims) after Muslim invaders took control, and introduced regimes of discrimination and at times suppression. In addition to the original Christians, Christians of other regions have through the history fled into the mountains.
Settlements are commonly small, but well-organized. Houses are of local stone, and usually with red slanting roofs.
The Lebanon Mountains are known for cedar trees, but of these only few and small areas still stand. More common are oak and pine. Cedars have been highly popular for ship building, especially in Phoenician times, as well as a variety of other purposes. Originally, cedars forests dominated all parts of the mountains.

By Tore Kjeilen