Lebanon’s limestone cave system, the Jeita Grotto, is one of the
longest caves in the Middle East, spanning 9km across the Nahr-al-Kalb valley.
But the awe-inspiring site has rarely been photographed; all cameras are
prohibited in part because the frequent flashes of light may harm the grotto's
hundreds of naturally formed hanging crystals.
In December 2013, Dutch wakeboarder and Red Bull-sponsored athlete Duncan
Zuur had the rare opportunity to wakeboard through the warm waters of the
stalactite- and stalagmite-filled Jeita Grotto. The result is a stunning video
that illustrates Zuur’s athletic skill and brings to life the grotto’s truly
In the video, Zuur glides across emerald-coloured waters and skids off boat
ramps set specifically for the once-in-a-lifetime ride. “I stopped thinking
about riding because there was so much beauty from around a world I’ve never
seen,” Zuur said, describing his surreal experience.
Composed of an approximately 2,000m-long upper region, and a 6,000m-long
lower region, the Jeita Grotto also acts as the main source for Beirut’s fresh
drinking water. Once only accessible by boat through an underground river, the
Jeita’s upper region now has an access tunnel and a series of walkways where
travellers can witness the stalactites and stalagmites without disturbing the
Zuur and the Red Bull staff had to work closely with Jeita Grotto’s site
curators, using special lightning techniques and production equipment to
protect the grotto’s natural composition. Dr Nabil Haddad, the manager of Jeita
Grotto who worked alongside Red Bull, said the video was the perfect
opportunity to highlight Jeita Grotto’s stunning nature. “We are at a very
unique location, one that is very hard to depict by mere words,” Haddad said.
“The camera will now be able to give this place what it
Walking tours and rowboat
cruises of Jeita Grotto are available from February to December.