Written by SalimBouMaashar
Translated by Lynn Waked
Lebanon relishesin a rare and unique geography in the Middle East; it’sMountains,which height up to more than 3000m, embrace abundant springs and valleys as well as caves that fascinate the eye by their appealing diversity.
Natural caves in Lebanon, with their corridors and narrow coral structures as well as spacious halls carved bynature over millions of years, constitute a subterranean world of dazzlingand indescribablebeauty.
Jeita Grotto is the most important and largest grottoof these caves, and it has got a meticulous and special tourism attentionafter the implementation of the investment contract with the German "Mabas" Company and after the numerous improvements that have taken place in its surrounding areas.
This cave is characterized by the uniqueness of some of the natural components of its stalactite and stalagmite columns and lakes. There are still hidden parts of it with constant efforts actively to discover its underground mysterious world.
Jeita’s name was listed among the Seven Wonders; it was a sufficient proof of the grotto’s secrets and unrelentingamazements.
Since 2004, a team of Lebanese volunteer divers -- (Joseph Sherbeen, Joe Khoury, Habib Haddad, and Danny Monsef) along with a stalwart team of "Mabas"(NajibNajib and Ayman Ibrahim)–has been carrying out myriad experiences to discover water passages in Jeita Grotto. These experiences are being held under the follow up of Jeita’sDirector General, Dr. Nabil Haddad.
Efforts resulted in discoveringan underwater passageway 560m away from the tourism coast, which raised the scientists’ curiosity to discover it.
Thisrequiredstrenuous efforts andthe use of expensive modern techniques to pass through it resulted in the discovery of adazzling new zonedecorated with exquisite statuesof magnificentshapes and striking colors.
Unrelenting diving operations gave amazing results.
A three-dimensional map of the newly discovered underwater tunnel have been set and the underwater photography in that respect has been and unprecedented scientific achievement in the history of recording the first film in the depths of a cave discovered in the Middle East.
The diving team has been, since 2012, carrying out diving operations to reveal further secrets in the beautiful and mysterious underground world of Jeita grotto.