Lebanon as you’ve never seen it before

Lebanon as you’ve never seen it before: Stunning aerial images show the beauty of a Middle Eastern normally linked with war and havoc

  • Photographer Rami Rizk spent much of 2018 travelling across Lebanon discovering little known towns 
  • He wanted to show the country’s beauty and change perceptions of it being a war-torn Middle Eastern nation
  • Among his images are lush green forests, snow-capped mountains, rugged coasts and city life in Beiruit

Lebanon is often associated with death and destruction.

But a series of stunning images shows a very different side to the Middle Eastern country – that it’s a land of cascading waterfalls, beautiful forests, mesmerisingly rugged coastlines and even epic ski resorts.

It also captures little known towns and villages and the country’s more famous sites.

Boats line up in the marina, left, in downtown Beirut. Beirut is the capital of Lebanon and is thought to have a population of just over two million. Pictured right is the rugged coastline of Jounieh, which is a city north of Beirut. Many tourists flock there as it is the starting point of a gondola lift, which takes tourists up to the Our Lady of Lebanon statue in Harissa

The deep blue waters off the west coast of Lebanon in the district of Keserwan, which is north east of Beirut

The incredible pictures were snapped by Lebanese photographer Rami Rizk last year as he travelled the length and breadth of his home nation.

Rami told MailOnline Travel: ‘I have always been triggered by the curiosity to discover new places and their specialties.

‘Over the past few years, I began to wander in my own country, and this led me to unveil hidden gems that only a few people knew about.

People relax and enjoy drinks at The Frozen Cherry Sky Lounge at Club Zaarour, which usually operates as a ski resort in winter

A lone building stands on the side of the valley in the Lebanese town of Bsharri, left, which is the birthplace of influential poet Kahlil Gebran. Pictured right are the terracotta roof houses in the village of Douma. The village has been part of the ancient Greek, Rome, Turkish and Ottoman Empires

The sun begins to rise above the clouds and shine across the lush green forest in Bkâssîne located in the Al Janub region of Lebanon

‘I decided to capture the beauty of every place I visited, not only to satisfy my hobby, but also to highlight the hidden landmarks for the locals, with the dream of reaching the world.’

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His photographs certainly paint a country whose recent history includes civil war and constant eruptions of sectarian violence in a more tranquil light.

From 1975 to 1990, Lebanon was at war after conflict broke out between Christians and the Muslim-Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) alliance.

Trees stand in the foreground of the stunning hills in Bkâssîne, left. One person commented that the trees almost look like broccoli. Pictured right are rays of sunshine poking through the branches of a tree in the Al Shouf Cedars Nature Reserve on the slopes of Barouk mountain in the north of the country

The famous Mohammed Al Amine Mosque, which is sometimes also called the Blue Mosque, thanks to its distinctive colouring, which stands in the downtown area of Beirut, which used to be known as the Paris of the Middle East

An aerial shot taken from the top of the Our Lady of Lebanon shrine in Harissa, left. Pictured right are houses that are just visible through the clouds in the village of Ehden in the heart of the northern mountains of Lebanon

An incredible image showing the huge Horsch Park in Beirut, which is the biggest urban park in the city. It covers 300,000 m² of green space and had to be reconstructed at the end of the Lebanon Civil War 

An estimated 120,000 people were killed in the 15-year war and almost one million people fled the country.

After it started to rebuild, tourists began to return, but in 2010, the outbreak of war in neighbouring Syria had a knock-on effect on visitor numbers, and they reportedly fell by 38 per cent.

Perhaps Rami’s pictures will help to reverse this trend.

The grand statue of Jesus, left, which stands next to the Yasou El Malak church in the coastal town of Jounieh. Pictured right is the Our Lady of Lebanon statue, which looms over Harissa on the west coast. The small town of Harissa has become one of the most important Christian pilgrimage sites in the East

An aerial shot of the coloured parasols and the deep blue water along the coastline of the town of Anfeh. It is one of the top tourists destinations on the northern coast 

Three girls soak up the sun in a swimming pool among the hills of the village of Hamat in northern Lebanon. The village is home to the historic shrine and monastery of Our Lady of Nourieh, where one of the first Christian communities was set up 

An overview of the southern city of Tyre, left, which is the fourth largest city in Lebanon after Beirut, Tripoli and Sidon. Pictured right is one of the incredible buildings in Tyre, which was once dubbed the ‘best-kept secret of the Mediterranean’ 

Skiers race down one of the runs at Mzaar Kfardebian, which is a ski area in Lebanon and the largest ski resort in the Middle East. It is located an hour north-east of Beirut 

The bright lights of Mzaar can been seen from the top of one the ski runs. There are a total of six ski resorts in Lebanon 

The statue of St Charbel is the largest in Lebanon and was installed in 2017 in the village of Faraya on top of the Mount of the Cross. St Charbel was a Maronite monk and priest from Lebanon, who was thought to have healing powers and was pronounced a saint by Pope Paul VI in 1965

Man-made lakes, pictured left, which have been formed to collect rain water, which can then be used to irrigate the crops in the drier summer months. Rami took the snap in the village of Falougha in central Lebanon. Pictured right is the incredible waterfall in the town of Jezzine, which is also known as the ‘City of Falls’ 

He has uploaded them to his Facebook and Instagram pages and tells MailOnline Travel that he’s on a mission to change perceptions about his country.

He said: ‘The fact that it is a Middle Eastern country strengthens the misconception of Lebanon being a desert.

‘The ideas spread to the world by mass media visualise Lebanon as a country of war and havoc, which once again hinders its actual beauty.

‘For this reason, I’ve decided to make it my mission to prove the opposite to foreigners and even Lebanese who have fled the country.’

And his favourite image so far?

He replied: ‘Undeniably that of Jezzine, my hometown, and the place where I was born and raised.’ 

The Litani River, which flows through the fertile Beqaa Valley and eventually into the Mediterranean Sea close to the town of Tyre. It flows entirely through the borders of Lebanon 

The church bell, left, which still remains close to Chouwen Lake Nature Reserve in the north of the country. Pictured right is another view of the St Charbal statue in the village of Faraya on top of the Mount of the Cross in summer time

The leaves on the trees have turned to their autumnal orange and brown colours in Laqlouq, a small mountainous village in the north of the country

Fields stretch for miles around the quiet village of Ammiq in central Lebanon. The village is known for having fertile land and home to a number of rare species of birds, mammals, amphibians and reptiles

Clouds roll over the tree lined hills in the Cherouf region in the south west of the country. The region saw many violent clashes during the civil war from 1975 to 1990 

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