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about lebanon editorial

Rabbits Island, the hidden beauty.


Most of you already know “Rabbits Island – Jaziret El Araneb” or “Palm Island” as one of the largest Lebanese islands, but very few of you know the below facts.

1- The overall area of the islands (Rabbits, Ramkeen & Sanani) is 4.2 Km2 (Lebanon area would be 10448 Km2 without them) and they are located 5.5 Km north-west of El-Mina Tripol

2- The name “Araneb” comes from the huge numbers of rabbits that were grown on the island during the time of the French mandate early in the 20th century. If you’re lucky, you can still see some of them while walking through the island.

3- Declared a protected site by UNESCO in 1992 and a nature reserve in 1993, the islands are a shelter for endangered loggerhead turtles, rare monk seals, flying fish (you can spot some of them on your way to the islands) and a resting and nesting ground for 156 species of migratory birds.

4- A Royal Wedding took place at the Island!
The Crusaders built a church upon Rabbits Island. It was there that Queen “Alice of Cyprus” came in 1224 to marry Prince “Bohemond V of Antioch”. The Royal Wedding took place in this church that was dedicated to St. Thomas (If you walk through the island, you can still see a small wall that remains from this church).

5- The islands were first opened to public in June 1999. Since then, all fishing boats and some promenade boats can ferry visitors. It just costs 5000 LL per person and of course you can take some food and cold beverages (much better than spending the day at a pool with limited or no beach access).

6- Activities?
In addition to swimming in crystal clear water, you can do bird watching, hiking, guided tours, snorkeling, diving (must be licensed and have a permit) and of course photography. 

Photoblog by Rawad Mansour
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