• Keywords: Lebanon, Cultural Landscape, Nahr al-Kalb Valley, Nahr el-Kelb, commemorative stela, documentary Heritage, bridge, aqueduct, archaeological remains.

1. OFFICIAL CLASSIFICATIONS AND CATEGORIES

1.1 National and International Classification Lists

The Cultural Landscape of Nahr al-Kalb Valley was proposed in Tentative List of UNESCO (“Ensemble du site naturel de la Vallée du Nahr el Kelb avec les monuments et les sites archéologiques qui s’y trouvent”) with date of submission: 01/07/1996, criteria: (iv), category: cultural, and ref.: 405 In 2005, a commemorative stela at the river was listed in the UNESCO Memory of the World initiative. Documentary heritage submitted by Lebanon and recommended for inclusion in the Memory of the World Register in 2005. Also, “El Kalb river” is protected by MOE (Protected Site of biological/ ecological significance) for their biological and/ or ecological significance including valleys, mountain summits, river beds and others.

  • Tentative List of UNESCO
  • Protection Figures
  • Others

1.2. Cultural Landscape Category/Tipology

Organically evolved landscapes
Relict (or fossil) landscape
Associative cultural landscape
1

1.3. Description and Justification by Med-O-Med

Description

The Nahr al-Kalb (Dog River) is a river in Lebanon that runs for 31 km from a spring in Jeita near the Jeita Grotto to the Mediterranean Sea, north of Beirut. Apart from a small section near the coast the river is seasonal, in summer its only source is a spring at the Jʿītā Cave. The ravine through which the Kalb River flows was inhabited as early as Paleolithic times. Inscriptions commissioned by Nebuchadrezzar II (c. 630–562 bc), king of the Chaldean (Neo-Babylonian) empire an other historical inscriptions of great historical value (recognized by UNESCO) are found on the right bank of the river. Med-O-Med has considered all the valley together with the archaeological vestiges found there as one Cultural Landscape (associative and relict landscape), taking into account its natural and cultural heritage (UNESCO Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, Article 1, 1972, Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention, 2008): -Its Environmental Heritage Components: The environment is well preserved throughout the valley, which is protected by MOE (Protected Site of biological/ ecological significance) for their biological and/ or ecological significance including valleys, mountain summits, river beds and others. The flora includes a wide variety of local species. In several places stand gray dolomitic rocks pretty spectacular, unique to Lebanon. Wilderness: Caves Jeita (domain state) famous for their stalactites and stalagmites of extraordinary shapes and underground river. Natural Bridge of Kfar Zeibian shown on the Official List of Lebanese and Monuments Sort Registered Historic Monuments and Sites. -Its Cultural Heritage Components: The historical inscriptions found at the mouth of the Nahr-el-kalb (Dog River, the Lycus of the Romans) represent a unique combination of history and geography. A total of 17 plaques has been traced, all on the south bank except for one on the north bank (Ranked by Decree No. 506 of March 5, 1937). The single stele on the opposite side of the river was the work of the Neo-Babylonian king Nebuncadnezzar II (604-562 BC). Rameses II left no less than three inscriptions between 1290 and 1224 BC, when he marched into Phoenicia. Five steles mark expeditions made by Assyrian kings, one of whom was Assarhaddon (680-627 BC). In Roman times the third Gallic Legion under Emperor Caracalla (211-217 AD) left a stele marking road work carried out here. There are two inscriptions in Greek. One is illegible but the other commemorates more road and engineering work. This was accomplished in 382 by Proclus, Byzantine governor of Phonecia under Theodose the Grand (388-395). Another stele commemorates the expedition that Napoleon III sent to Lebanon in 1860-1861. Among the 20th century inscriptions, one records that French troops under General Gouraud took Damascus in 1920. Two others dated 1919 and 1930 report that the British Desert Corps took Damascus, Homs and Aleppo in October 1918. The British and French occupation of Beirut and Tripoli in October 1918 is recorded as well. Besides the 17 steles left before Lebanon’s independence, there is one marking the Evacuation of foreign armies from Lebanon on December 31, 1946, and another commemorating the French war dead. There are other monuments with cultural interest in the site, as Kalat Temple Fakra (domain state): remains of a Roman temple to 6 prostylos Corinthian columns dating from the second century AD. Part of the temple is formed by an arrangement of dolomitic rocks surrounding the site. Adjoining the temple there is the remains of a small town which has a small Byzantine chapel basilica with three naves, other monasteries (XVIII-XIX centuries): Mar Abda de Mouchamar, Notre Dame of Lou~zei and Tamish (constructed over the ruins of an Artemis Temple), bridges: the medieval bridge (Ranked by Decree No. 506 of March 5, 1937) or the Roman aqueduct, also ancient remains of Paleolithic, Bronze age, etc.

2. NAME / LOCATION / ACCESSIBILITY

  • Current denomination Nahr al-Kalb, Nahr al-Kelb, Al-Kalb River, Dog River.
  • Current denomination Nahr al-Kalb, Nahr al-Kelb, Al-Kalb River, Dog River.
  • Original denomination Nahr al-Kalb (Arabic: نهر الكلب‎), Lycus (Latin).
  • Popular denomination Nahr al-Kalb, Nahr al-Kelb, Al-Kalb River, Dog River.
  • Address: Al-Kalb River, west-central Lebanon, flowing westward and emptying into the Mediterranean Sea north of Beirut. The river is about 19 miles (30 km) in length.
  • Geographical coordinates: Al-Kalb River, west-central Lebanon, flowing westward and emptying into the Mediterranean Sea north of Beirut. The river is about 19 miles (30 km) in length.
  • Area, boundaries and surroundings: The river is 30 km North of Beirut, crossing Caza, along the Mount Lebanon.
  • Visits / Schedules / Entrance fees / Groups / guided tours: Open.

3. LEGAL ISSUES

Property regime
  • Public
  • Owner: Lebanon's Government.
  • Body responsible for the maintenance: Lebanon's Government. General Directorate of Antiquities.
  • Legal protection: Nahr al-Kalb is protected by MOE (Protected Site of biological/ ecological significance) for their biological and/ or ecological significance including valleys, mountain summits, river beds and others. Owner of the documentary heritage (name and contact details): Lebanese State/General Directorate of Antiquities Rue du Musée, Beirut. Lebanon -Stele No. 1 is in survey plot No. 35, which comes under the municipality of Zouk Mosbeh. -Stela Nos. 2-22 are located in plot No. 98, which belongs to the Antonine Order (Waqf St. Joseph – Municipality of Dbayeh)
  • Public or private organizations working in the site: There is not a management plan in existence for this documentary heritage. Other than a few, infrequent cleaning campaigns, no management plan has been developed.

4. HISTORY

Nahr al-Kalb is the ancient Lycus River. A 13th century BC treaty, concluded by Ramses II, set the Nahr al-Kalb as the border between Egypt and the possessions of the Hittites. Past generals and conquerors have traditionally built monuments at the mouth of the Nahr al-Kalb. Ramses II, Nebuchadnezzar, Esarhaddon, Marcus Aurelius, and even armies from modern-day France and Great Britain have engaged in this practice. In 1946, a monument was erected in celebration of Lebanon’s independence, which came in 1943. In 2000, Lebanese demonstrators, including supporters of ex-general and current politician Michel Aoun, unsuccessfully attempted to erect two new monuments, one marking the departure of Israeli troops from Lebanon, and the other anticipating the withdrawal of Syrian forces.

5. GENERAL DESCRIPTION

5.1. Natural heritage

  • Heritage: Archaeological
  • Geography: Valley
  • Site topography: Natural
Water resources:
  • Public
Al-Kalb River: part from a small section near the coast the river is seasonal, in summer its only source is a spring at the Jʿītā Cave. The river is about 19 miles (30 km) in length. There are also natural springs around the valley.
Vegetation:

The flora includes a wide variety of local species.

Summary of Landscapes values and characteristics:

The Nahr al-Kalb (Dog River) is a river in Lebanon that runs for 31 km from a spring in Jeita near the Jeita Grotto to the Mediterranean Sea, north of Beirut. There are impressive caves with stalatites and stalagmites, and subterranean rivers. The ravine through which the Kalb River flows was inhabited as early as Paleolithic times. Inscriptions commissioned by Nebuchadrezzar II (c. 630–562 bc), king of the Chaldean (Neo-Babylonian) empire an other historical inscriptions of great historical value (recognized by UNESCO) are found on the right bank of the river, also old monasteries, temples, bridges and aqueducts of historical interest are scattered around the valley.

5.2. Cultural Heritage

A) Related to current constructions, buildings and art pieces in general

Architectonical elements /Sculptures:

The historical inscriptions found at the mouth of the Nahr-el-kalb (Dog River, the Lycus of the Romans) represent a unique combination of history and geography. A total of 17 plaques has been traced, all on the south bank except for one on the north bank (Ranked by Decree No. 506 of March 5, 1937). The single stele on the opposite side of the river was the work of the Neo-Babylonian king Nebuncadnezzar II (604-562 BC). Rameses II left no less than three inscriptions between 1290 and 1224 BC, when he marched into Phoenicia. Five steles mark expeditions made by Assyrian kings, one of whom was Assarhaddon (680-627 BC). In Roman times the third Gallic Legion under Emperor Caracalla (211-217 AD) left a stele marking road work carried out here. There are two inscriptions in Greek. One is illegible but the other commemorates more road and engineering work. This was accomplished in 382 by Proclus, Byzantine governor of Phonecia under Theodose the Grand (388-395). Another stele commemorates the expedition that Napoleon III sent to Lebanon in 1860-1861. Among the 20th century inscriptions, one records that French troops under General Gouraud took Damascus in 1920. Two others dated 1919 and 1930 report that the British Desert Corps took Damascus, Homs and Aleppo in October 1918. The British and French occupation of Beirut and Tripoli in October 1918 is recorded as well. Besides the 17 steles left before Lebanon’s independence, there is one marking the Evacuation of foreign armies from Lebanon on December 31, 1946, and another commemorating the French war dead. There are other monuments with cultural interest in the site, as Kalat Temple Fakra (domain state): remains of a Roman temple to 6 prostylos Corinthian columns dating from the second century AD. Part of the temple is formed by an arrangement of dolomitic rocks surrounding the site. Adjoining the temple there is the remains of a small town which has a small Byzantine chapel basilica with three naves, other monasteries (XVIII-XIX centuries): Mar Abda de Mouchamar, Notre Dame of Lou~zei and Tamish (constructed over the ruins of an Artemis Temple), bridges: the medieval bridge (Ranked by Decree No. 506 of March 5, 1937) or the Roman aqueduct.

In the case of gardens: original and current style:
It is not the case.
B) Related to ancient remains

  • Archaeological components:

    The stela of Nahr el-Kalb (Documentary heritage submitted by Lebanon and recommended for inclusion in the Memory of the World Register in 2005), the Lycus or Dog River, sum up the entire history of Lebanon, from High Antiquity to the present, evoking clearly the successive advances of the Pharaonic, Assyro-Babylonian, Greek, Roman, Arab, French and British armies which braved all the obstacles surrounding this difficult and very steep crossing point to carve commemorative stela on the rocks. The hillside where the stela are carved is, thanks to its highly distinct form, a strategic location commanding the coast road which links the south of the country to the north. From the time of the Old Kingdom the road was taken by the Pharaonic armies for two reasons: – to ensure easy, rapid access to the timber of the Lebanese mountains (Cedrus libanus), an almost rare commodity in Egypt, – to block the road to invaders from the north, in particular the Mitanni and the Hittites. Likewise, the Assyro-Babylonians, coming from Mesopotamia, planned their incursions to gain free access to the Mediterranean in order to spread out in all directions. Later conquerors, the Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Mameluks, Ottomans and others, followed suit, marking their passage with stela which remain the best evidence of their presence. Lastly, this natural location overlooking a cross-road has always been considered a strategic obstacle that is difficult to overcome. Also ancient remains of Paleolithic, Bronze age, etc are found between the rocks.

  • Historical routes:

    See point 5.2.8.

  • Traces in the environment of human activity: Archaeological remains, inscriptions, etc.
C) Related to intangible, social and spiritual values

5.3. Quality

Condition: environmental/ cultural heritage degradation:
The stela, carved in soft, chalky limestone and at the mercy of nature in the open air, remain exposed to the effects of erosion and the vicissitudes of the weather and people, without any system of protection. It would be good to create around the stela a protective zone accessible only to the public, strengthen their rock framework and consolidate support against crumbling, develop a system of protection, in metal or Plexiglas, based on the old wooden casing fitted for them, develop a system of regular cleaning especially to protect them from wild plants. Also, in modern times the Lebanese blasted a tunnel through the rock to accommodate the coastal highway, changing forever the historic aspect of the site.
Perspectives/Views/ Points of interest/Setting:

-Nahr al-Kalb Valley, Cave Jeita. -The commemorative stela along the river. -The monasteries, bridges, aqueducts and other ancient vestiges (from Paleolithic), etc.

6. VALUES

Tangible

  • Aesthetic
  • Archaeological
  • Architectonical
  • Ecological
The main tangible values of "The Cultural Landscape of Nahr al-Kalb Valley and its commemorative stela" are: -Aesthetic: The environment is well preserved throughout the valley. In several places stand gray dolomitic rocks pretty spectacular, unique to Lebanon. Wilderness: Jeita Cavern (domain state) is famous for their stalactites and stalagmites of extraordinary shapes and underground river. -Archaeological/Architectonical: The stela of Nahr el-Kalb, the Lycus or Dog River, sum up the entire history of Lebanon, from High Antiquity to the present, evoking clearly the successive advances of the Pharaonic, Assyro-Babylonian, Greek, Roman, Arab, French and British armies which braved all the obstacles surrounding this difficult and very steep crossing point to carve commemorative stela on the rocks. Documentary heritage submitted by Lebanon and recommended for inclusion in the Memory of the World Register in 2005. There are also ancient monasteries, bridges, aqueducts, Paleolithic's vestiges, etc, scattered around the valley. -Ecological/Botanical: "El Kalb river" is protected by MOE (Protected Site of biological/ ecological significance) for their biological and/ or ecological significance including valleys, mountain summits, river beds and others. The flora includes a wide variety of local species.

Intangible

  • Historical
This series of commemorative stela erected at the same place in the open air gives a definite picture of all the important stages of the history of Lebanon, from High Antiquity to the present day. These vital witnesses must be safeguarded and properly maintained to be inscribed deeply and for ever in the memory of the world.
Authenticity:
The stela, carved into limestone, have retained their authenticity. Despite the ravages of time and in spite of some acts of vandalism, they relate the true history of Lebanon.
Universality:
Following the UNESCO description: -Justification: This series of commemorative stela erected at the same place in the open air gives a definite picture of all the important stages of the history of Lebanon, from High Antiquity to the present day. These vital witnesses must be safeguarded and properly maintained to be inscribed deeply and for ever in the memory of the world. -World significance, uniqueness and irreplaceability: The stela, written in different languages and dating from High Antiquity to the present, evoke the ancient history of Lebanon and its relations with the Middle East and the West. -Criteria of (a) time, (b) place, (c) people, (d) subject and theme, (e) form and style: (a) time: they evoke several eras, ranging from the fourteenth century BC to 1946 AD (b) place: strategic location protected by a water course and steep escarpment (c) people: different conquerors from Ramses II to the French Mandate (d) subject and them (e) form and style:Assyro-Babylonian cuneiform is mixed with Egyptian hieroglyphs, Greek, Latin, English, French and Arabic Med-O-Med has considered appropiate to include the criteria (vii, ix): vii) Nahr al-Kalb Valleycontains areas of exceptional natural beauty and aesthetic importance, for example the Jeita Cavern. ix) Nahr al-Kalb Valley is protected by MOE (Protected Site of biological/ ecological significance) for their biological and/ or ecological significance including valleys, mountain summits, river beds and others. The flora includes a wide variety of local species.
Values linked to the Islamic culture and civilisation:
The stela relates the true history of Lebanon.

7. ENCLOSURES

Historical and graphical data (drawings, paintings, engravings, photographs, literary items…):

*** “The Cultural Landscape of Nahr al-Kalb Valley and its commemorative stela” is one of all of the cultural landscapes of Lebanon which are included in The Cultural Landscape inventory runned by Med-O-Med.

Bibliography:

http://whc.unesco.org/en/tentativelists/405/ http://www.unesco.org/new/en/communication-and-information/flagship-project-activities/memory-of-the-world/register/full-list-of-registered-heritage/registered-heritage-page-2/commemorative-stela-of-nahr-el-kalb-mount-lebanon/ http://www.unesco.org/new/fileadmin/MULTIMEDIA/HQ/CI/CI/pdf/mow/nomination_forms/Commemorative%20stela%20of%20Nahr%20el-Kalb%20Mount%20Lebanon.pdf http://www.unesco.org/new/en/communication-and-information/resources/news-and-in-focus-articles/in-focus-articles/2012/coming-soon-the-treasures-that-record-our-history/ http://whc.unesco.org/venice2002 http://www.middleeast.com/nahrkalb.htm http://www.lebanon.com/tourism/dogriver.htm http://www.parks.it/world/LB/Eindex.html http://worldheritagetentativelist.blogspot.com.es/2011/05/lebanon-valley-of-nahr-el-kelb-natural.html -UNESCO (2004). Memory of the World register Lebanon-Commemorative stela of Nahr El- Kalb, Mount Lebanon. REF No. 2004-54. -UNESCO. (2001). Convention concerning the protection of the world cultural and natural heritage. World Heritage Committee. 25 session. Helsinki, Finland. -UNESCO. (2002). Cultural Landscapes: the Challenges of Conservation. Associated Workshops, World Heritage. Ferrara , Italy.

Compiler Data: Sara Martínez Frías.