The Cave Of Three Bridges In Lebanon
The Baatara Gorge Waterfall is easily one of the most beautiful sights on earth. This incredible waterfall flows through the Three Bridge Chasm, an amazing vision on its own. Located in Tannourine, Lebanon, this natural feat has been a masterpiece in the making for millions of years.
After winter, when Mount Lebanon begins to melt, the ice turns to water and floods down into these cliffs, creating a waterfall that slowly carves away the limestone, year by year. Today this limestone is over 160-million years old, that means it was around back when the dinosaurs roamed earth. The age of these limestone cliffs, paired with all of the water damage they have received over the years, gives the walls of this waterfall so much character.
The waterfall and subsequent bridges are located in a village of Lebanon called Balaa. The best time to see the waterfall in action is when the snow is melting from Mount Lebanon, this is usually between March and April.
Geoligists report that the top bridge appears to be the oldest formation, and that the bottom two bridges were likely formed thereafter due to falling rocks and collapsing limestone. The cliffs are far from done changing, as you can see, the water still falls directly on the limestone in places, over time this too will wear away.
Although people have known of its existence for much longer, the bridges and waterfall became public in 1952, after a biologist by the name Henri Coiffait discovered and took a great interest in the existence of this gorgeous natural feat.
Since this time, many experiments have been conducted to learn more about the Cave of Three Bridges. Back in 1988, experiments uncovered that the water connects to a nearby town called Mgharet al-Ghaouaghir, where an underground spring exists. Other experiments have proven that the limestone here is from the Jurassic period.
The Cave of Three Bridges attracts a lot of visitors, and at one point it was proposed to have sporting attractions offered for enthusiasts visiting the waterfall. Due to the harm this could cause to the natural environment, the idea was decided against.
It might look fun to stand out on these bridges, maybe for a family photo or good Instagram moment, but beware of the dangers. There are signs all around that warn you against walking on the bridges. If too many people clamber across the bridge at once, it might break under pressure, also the bridges are wet, slippery and easy to slip on. One false move and you could be falling down with the force of the waterfall.
Today the formation of this masterpiece continues to shift and change, sometimes large chunks of ice fall down and break off larger pieces of the limestone caves and bridges; just another reason it’s not too safe to hang out on the ledges.
If you are ever in the area, you can also check out the nearby scenic views found on Mount Lebanon, a ginormous mountain range that reaches over 10,000 feet in some locations, and stretches across the entire country of Lebanon. These mountains get around 4 feet of snow each year, which is where the gorgeous waterfall originates.
It seems every part of the magical sight is even more splendid. The three bridges are naturally occurring, one right on top of the other, and then there is the waterfall spilling from inside. Plus, don’t forget the Jurassic era limestone, full of stories we can only imagine about. In one word: Wow!
Photo Credits: freshtraveldestinations.com, missakassim, Nicki Hill, Lightreaver, Insitut francais du Proche, Serge Melki, Loai El Nomeiry, Jack Seikaly
Via National Geographic