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Baatara Gorge Waterfall

location_on Tannourine, North Governorate, Lebanon
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About Baatara Gorge Waterfall

The Baatara Gorge Waterfall or the Baatara Pothole Waterfall is located in the village of Balaa, between the cities of Laqlouq and Tannourine, Lebanon. The location is also known as the Three Bridges Chasm in French Gouffre des Trois Ponts. This unexpected waterfall drops 255 metres 837 ft. into a cave and falls behind three natural bridges, which raise one above the other and overhang the chasm descending into Mount Lebanon. It can only be seen during the months of March and April, when the snows are melting. Situated on the Lebanon Mountain Trail, the abyss in to which the waterfall drops is also known as the Three Bridge Chasm. It gets this name because the journey in to the valley below takes in three naturally formed bridges, each rising above the one below.

The waterfall is at its peak when the winter snows begin to melt and the water cascades in to the chasm. Scientists in the eighties dyed the water and showed that it eventually came back in to daylight in the nearby village of Mgharet al-Ghaouaghir. It was discovered by Henri Coiffait, a French bio-speleologist in 1952. Strange that it took until the twentieth century to discover something that was within walking distance of the town of Tannourine and the little village of Balaa. Perhaps it was obscured from view - walking across the meadow towards it, one might not guess what was about to reveal itself.

The Jurassic limestone at the top sequence of the pothole is over 160 million years old. The formation is vital to the locality as it is from here that mush of the fresh water in the area is sourced. Water from the stream slowly infiltrated the limestone over the millennia. There is nothing to mark the waterfall and the chasm except a sign post which very strictly instructs visitors not to go too close to the edge as they are slippy and a fall would lead to almost certain death. Likewise, walking on the middle bridge is prohibited as it would be in danger of collapse with the added weight of an unwary tourist.

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