The Black Peak

post 245/365



Towards a limitless cloudy sky, where the clouds hang beneath your feet in mercy of a day’s end, the gaze is drawn upward to the distant long summit. One could measure the tips of the mountaintops peak to peak with their small hands. Minuscule they stand, those tiny mounds. Yet up close they tower high, peaks in clouds in mystery and shroud, far and high, they reside.

Qornet es-Sawda, the black peak, is located nine kilometers northeast of the Cedars and is the highest peak in the Middle East (3088 m). Called the black peak due to its size and the fact that it rises above the clouds shrouding it peculiarly in darkness.

The summit offers a vast panoramic view in all directions, as one stands peering through the world from its highest point. On good days Cyprus can be seen in the distance.

The Mounts of Lebanon are a southwest-northeast-trending mountain range that forms the majority of the borders between Syria and Lebanon. Its Western name Anti-Lebanon comes from the Greek and Latin Antilibanus, derived from its position opposite and parallel to the Mount Lebanon range. It ends in the south with Mount Hermon, which borders on the Golan Heights. To the west of the Anti-Lebanon lie valleys that separate it from Mount Lebanon, Baalbek’s Beqaa Valley in the north and the Hasbani River valley in the south. To the east, in Syria, lies the Eastern Plateau, the city of Damascus. The Mount Lebanon range extends along the entire country for about 170 km parallel to the Mediterranean coast. In Lebanon, changes in scenery are related less to geographical distances than the altitudes.

In Jacobus de Voragine’s Legenda aurea, the summit of Mount Lebanon (Qurnat as Sawda’) is the site on which Noah, after having survived the flood, replanted a sacred tree. Voragine states that the tree’s seeds were given to Seth by an angel in the Garden of Eden and placed in Adam’s mouth upon his passing such that his blood could feed its growth.

Its profound silence is its gesture of grandeur. Icy peaks, frost bitten slopes and fierce bitter winds, chilling the very soul lay claim for it in winter. Its darkness accentuates with the hovering of the wintery clouds. In summer time, the peak holds on to its snow, yet it remains desolate with its soft yellow color palette tinting the landscape. In warmer times, its plateaus seemingly deserted are inhabited by nomads and their herds, creating a charming pastoral scene where shepherds, horses, guards dogs, and sheep seem like mere props in this eternal painting of barren life high on the mountain. Elevated physically and spiritually above the grit and recklessness of humans, it mingles with the air of gods.

The main picture for this post is by Omar Reda


For more pictures please click on the following site:

3 thoughts on “The Black Peak

  1. Hi Karen,
    My name is Anthony im in Sydney, Australia. I’d like to acknowledge your great work, and admiral patriotism.
    You bring me great memories of, the mother of our hearts ‘libnen’.

    Im born in Australia, and am of Lebanese heritage. I have visited Lebanon twice within the last 5 years.

    Please continue your intriguing work.
    ‘Alla7 yi7meeki’



    1. Hello Anthony,
      I want to thank you so very much for this lovely message. I can’t express how much messages like these fire me up and make me want to continue writing. I lived in England for 10 years and i know how it feels to see Lebanon through the eyes of a stranger and I think that’s why I love it so much. I am not blazed from it beauty.
      Thank you again for this message!


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