Unique in both its flora and fauna, the Harissa Forest, despite its small land area, contains more than 27 endangered and 52 rare plant species, as well as 168 species of animals, 152 types of butterflies and 69 species of birds.

Most, it not all of this national treasure might have been destroyed or severely altered, had not the Maronite Church stepped in and declared the forest to be the word’s first “Maronite Protected Environment”. The Maronite Church, an eastern branch of the Catholic Church, is one of the oldest Christian sects and has been in existence since Roman times.

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On a map, you can see Harissa near Jounieh, just about 15 km North of Beirut.

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