Jeita Grotto Facts
- Most notably, the breathtaking Jeita Grotto isn’t just another cave. That’s because it is significantly important to the region it formed in. Further, that includes cultural, social, and even economic.
- In addition, the fabulous site has played a role in the region since long before our modern era. Archaeological evidence indicates that ancient man long used the lower section in prehistoric times.
- However, for unknown reasons, its ancient inhabitants apparently abandoned it long before modern times. But, Reverend William Thomson accidentally rediscovered it in 1836, while exploring.
- Additionally, due to its extraordinary importance to the region, it serves as the national symbol of the country it lies in. Finally, it made the final round of consideration in the New 7 Wonders of Nature competition.
Jeita Grotto Physical Description
Firstly, the stunning Jeita Grotto is actually a system of two caves. While these remain separate, the caves are interconnected. Together, the amazing system has an overall length totaling about 5.6 mi (9 km).
Because of its size, it ranks as the longest cave system in its part of the world. Firstly, the upper cave measures roughly 6,990 ft (2,130 m) in length. Meanwhile, the lower section measures about 20,300 ft (6,200 m) long. Also, heights vary, but reach as high as 39 ft (12 m).
In addition, this marvelous location houses many individual wonders, as well. These include columns, ponds, curtains, stalactites and stalagmites. Further, in fact, it holds the largest known stalactite in the world, at 27 ft (8.2 m) long.
It also contains three huge, separate natural chambers, as well as a subterranean river. The largest of the chambers measures an impressive 390 ft (120 m) long. Finally, the river it holds serves as the source of drinking water for 1.5 million local residents.
Jeita Grotto Location, Geology, and Importance
First of all, the dazzling Jeita Grotto formed in what is now the country of Lebanon, in western Asia. Yet more specifically, it sits about 11 mi (18 km) from the city of Beirut. This further places it on the western side of the Lebanon Mountains.
The incredible system also sits only 3.1 mi (5 km) from coast of the Mediterranean Sea. This location places it in the Nahr al-Kalb valley. Its naturally formed opening lies approximately 330 ft (100 m) above sea level.
Additionally, the entire region has a largely limestone geology. This therefore allowed for the formation of the limestone karst caves. The process further occurred over an undetermined span of millennia.
It now has rather varied usefulness in the region. Most notably, it remains one of the most important tourist sites in the region. But sadly, its use as a water source may soon come to an end. Pollution levels in the water due to agricultural runoff has begun to increase.