Qornet El Sawda, Lebanon’s Highest Peak, To Be Ruined & Turned Into A Resort

The Arab obsession with “highest” and “biggest” and “most expensive” continues with a real estate company deciding to turn Lebanon’s highest peak, Qornet el Sawda, in the Makmel Mountain up North, right next to our most celebrated Cedar Forest, into a touristic project they are (creatively) calling: Al-Kumma.

The project will be built on a 420,000 m2 plot, and will include a hotel, club house, wellness-center, and entertainment facilities, 650 chalets, 70 villas, and a ski trail. You know, because the surrounding area doesn’t have enough of those already.

The company behind the $500 million project is Realis Development, which is owned by a family that also has shares in a Abu Dhabi finance company. The project will be financed via banks and equity funds. It is not known which banks or equity funds will have part in this, or which politicians for that matter, yet.

The first phase of the project will begin in summer of 2017.

I’m all for development in the North, Lebanon’s poorest and most deprived area, but when it comes at the expense of one of our country’s most beautiful regions and one of its most ecologically vital areas, I think a line has to be drawn.

Not only does the area already have a world-class skiing area that is visited by thousands of visitors yearly, but it’s also a major water storage site for the country and North Lebanon with it receiving the highest amount of rainfall and snow in the entire Middle East.

Qornet el Sawda is also a few minutes away from the country’s oldest and most celebrated Cedar Forest, or what remains of it, in what is commonly called: the forest of Cedars of God. I guess the thousand years of deforestation from progressive cultures that have used the wood of those trees from that area for their various construction projects wasn’t enough.

Instead of restoring the area’s greenery and contributing to its reforestation efforts to further promote eco-tourism in this country, we are doing the exact opposite. How many trees and shrubs will be destroyed for this project? How many Cedar trees will be cut for it to take place and for the few politicians as well as businessmen behind it to make a few dollars? Is our outrage at the Cedar’s dignity only in Facebook posts and never aimed at the actual trees being uprooted from their natural habitat to let way for man to come in and ruin the mountain further?

For this project to go through without any more investigation is a disgrace. How many more of our regions are they supposed to ruin just because they have the wasta and money? Where is the Ministry of Environment from all of this? Probably busy defending the seagulls being shot near the airport?

How long will it be before one of the country’s most fascinating hiking trails turns into an “exclusive” region for those who can afford it? I’m still waiting to find the maximal point of capitalist greed.

One of the most beautiful characteristics of the North is how pristine its nature is, especially the Bcharre area which boasts some of the most beautiful scenery in the country (and the entire region, may I add). It breaks my heart to see it be ruined that way. What a shame.

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29 thoughts on “Qornet El Sawda, Lebanon’s Highest Peak, To Be Ruined & Turned Into A Resort

  1. Where did you get this info ? Kornet el sawda is not a livable area!! its impossible to build a project in a place where you have snow all year long, and even worse,frozen temperatures over 6months,

    Reply
  2. Can we do something about it? Probably not. Only the government can register this place as a natural reserve. The prospect of an Aounist presidency doesn’t seem so promising after all.

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  3. that’s what Lebanese adores the most!
    A chalet, a spa, A villa,restaurants, pubs, night clubs, beauty centers,malls…
    and they want those on every beach, on every mountain , in every valley, near every river!
    enjoying nature as it is , is an old trend!
    luxury and comfort are essential for our lazy & fake society!
    investors make millions and rich people are pampered with those type of stupid projects
    they destroyed our cities , our coast and now they all they have left is our mountains
    let them do it…let them pollute our highest peaks! soon many projects will imitate
    and everyone will end up living in a concrete jungle
    had enough with this country and it’s society…other countries work hard to preserve their nature
    and we destroy every beautiful spot that we have
    I wonder what type of people thinks of doing such a stupid project! how can they come up with such ideas? to destroy the highest peak in the middle east! the symbol the heart of the Cedars forest!

    Reply
  4. Pingback: Day Eight: Fix this Situation – Wanderless in Beirut

  5. Guys heda stateofmind13 wehed ftise w ma elo 3aze kel chi b jareb ya3melo houwe eno ya3mol balbale bein l ghanam metelkon.
    1-iza 3anjad ha ya3emlo heik project ktir 7elo 3al alile byefta7oula tari2 seif chete
    2- ma 3am befham wen l ghalat iza 3emlou? Betne2o 3a kelchi ya chabeb ma byesou heik.
    3- stateofmind13 khlesna mennak w men ekel l khara taba3ak sarlak sene mla3ele nafse!

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  6. This is a crime on many levels:
    As usual projects like these are labeled under “developping the area” whereas in fact such projects create a bigger barrier between the minority who has money and the locals living in the region who effectively will be deprived from the access to what was rightfully theirs
    On the environmental level, this area is famous (or used to be) for the accumulation of snow through out the year which is essential for enriching the water beneath the soil (miyeh jawfiye) and the biggest river in the area (nahr kadicha). I cannot imagine the effect of building such a resort on the water cycle in Lebanon, we are already in crisis and each year we suffer from water shortage! Not to mention that the used water/sewage from these resorts will most likely end up being absorbed by the soil contaminating the precious drinking water…

    Reply
  7. Who is writing this crap and why?

    “Qornet el Sawda is also a few minutes away from the country’s oldest and most celebrated Cedar Forest”

    it takes about 1-1.5 hours by car from the cedars forest to Qornet AL Sawda.

    Do you even know who owns the land up there?

    If you did then you would know it is impossible to build even a chalet up there.

    Reply
  8. 1 – Qornet el Sawda is more than 1 hour away from the Cedar forest by a 4×4 car (normal cars can’t go there)
    2 – There are no trees there its just like a desert nothing is there but a little grass and snow and ice in winter, sand and dust in summer
    3 – The project is supposed to be built at 2400 m where Qornet el Sawda is at 3080 as we all know, so this project may be near qornet el sawda but not exactly there
    4 – How many trees will they cut? None because there are are no trees there, in fact they will have to plant some as project this size is not beautiful without trees

    I’m with defending nature in Lebanon, in fact whenever we go hiking we take bags and clean everything we encounter, but a project like this will surely not harm anyone at least in my opinion.

    Reply
  9. I see a larger issue here. What the developer is doing is not surprising. They’re doing exactly what developers do. Whether we call it “obsession with highest and biggest” or “the maximal point of capitalist greed”, the fact of the matter is that this is a business whose last worry is the environment.

    What astounds me is that the “Top of Lebanon” (actually the top of the Levant) is not already a protected area! How you stop developers is by creating national parks and reserves. Fighting the battle at the environmental level with entities whose main driver is profit and whose environmental responsibility is a marketing ploy, is never going to win.

    Our stupid, myopic government should declare Qornet El Sawda and other areas like it (I heard of a similar project on Sannine), protected areas off limits to any development. The top of the Levant should be an inspiration for climbers/trekkers/hikers from all over the Levant area, and it should remain that way for generations.

    I think that’s what the petitions and complaints should be about. Not just stopping this particular project.

    Reply

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