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Jeita Grotto, the longest cave in the Middle East, is the pride of Lebanon. Located 11 miles (18km) north of Beirut, this natural wonder has an array of breathtaking rock formations coupled with some incredible stalactites and stalagmites. A river flows through its glistening caverns and feeds the nearby Nahr al-Kalb (the Dog’s River); be sure to spare an hour or two to see what strong water currents can do over millions of years.
The cave’s name – Jeita – comes from the town within which it is located, and can be translated to ‘roar’ or ‘noise of water’. An astonishing 6 miles (9km) in length, it was used during the 1978 Civil War by the Lebanese forces as a munition storage facility. After being severely damaged during the war, it was later reconstructed over a 15-month stretch and opened itself to tourists in 1995.
Divided into two levels, the upper grotto can be reached via a cable car or a small theme-park like train. It contains the longest – 27ft (8.2m) – stalactite known to mankind and as you walk along, you’ll come face-to-face with the some of the most inspiring limestone formations.
You can then make your way down to the lower grotto and take a boat ride over a distance of 492 yards (450m) whilst admiring the columns and sculptures.
Be sure to remember that this attraction is closed on Mondays and operates Tuesday to Sunday from 9am to 5pm.