Altitude: Approximately 300m
Distance from Beirut: 25km
Getting there: From Beirut, take the Beirut-Jounieh Highway north as far as Nahr al-Kalb, then take the Faraya road for 3 km, where there is a sign-post for Jeita.
The 6200 meter long cavern was discovered back in 1836. Delirious nature in the dephts of the earth. Venimous effervescences of stone. Enormous orchids of pinkish limestone. Mineral mushrooms in fantastic shapes. A petrified animal with a mad, grinning sneer. A journey to Lebanon is worth while for Grottoes of Jeita alone. Of course, there are plenty of grottoes with stalactites and stalagmites in the world, but it would appear that none of them even approach the astounding wealth or the extent of those of Jeita.
Over a distance of 650 meters, on two levels, the lower one in a boat and the upper one on foot, following perfectly made cement gangways, the tourist picks his winding way through darkly forbidding caverns. Sometimes he passes through vast halls the size of a cathedral - some of the grandiose naves seem to contain giant organs or the vast chandeliers of madmen - and sometimes through narrow corridors.
The subterranean river
The lower grotto is full of the noise of water, through which you pass in a boat managed by a mariner skilled at sliding through the maze of rocks. Here reigns a half-darkness which is suddenly penetrated either by a wide area illuminated like a church on feast days or by discreet lights picking out some opulent flower.
From the lower grotto, where you arrive by car, you can take the teleferic to the entrance to the upper grotto for an Alice's tour through wonderland.
The upper galleries
The most striking and most spell-binding is the upper grotto, where there is only an occasional drop of cold water, the result of niggardly drippings which have gone on for thousands of years.The richness of the limestone deposits and the infinite variety of the crystals encourage the visitors to come again to this site permanently all year-round.