Lebanon’s Harissa Forest is only 400 square hectares in size, but it is considered one of ten Mediterranean forest attractions from a sheer beauty and conservation standpoint.

Located on a hillside above the predominantly Christian city of Jounieh, the more than 1,000 year old forest had been threatened by real estate developers and construction contractors who wanted to include the area in a series of holiday resort developments that included a cable car (pictured above), restaurants and night clubs, and a large casino. But it’s thanks to the work of a church that generations in the future will get to experience this natural treasure.

View over the coast from Harissa forest. (c) © Fareed Abou-Haidar, 1996