The Cedars of God is one of the last vestiges of the extensive forests of the Cedars of Lebanon (Cedrus libani ) that thrived across Mount Lebanon in ancient times. Their timber was exploited by the Assyrians, Babylonians and Persians as well as the Phoenicians. The wood was prized by Egyptians for shipbuilding; Solomon used them in the construction of the First Temple in Jerusalem and the Ottoman Empire also used the cedars in railway construction.
Once Lebanon was shaded by thick cedar forests, so it is no coincidence that the tree is the symbol of the country. After centuries of persistent deforestation, the extent of these forests has been markedly reduced. The trees survive in mountainous areas, where they are the dominant tree species. This is the case of the slopes of Mount Makmel that tower over the Kadisha Valley where the Cedars of God are found at an altitude of more than 2,000 metres (6,600 ft). Four of them have reached a height of 35 metres (115 ft). and their trunks are 12–14 metres (39–46 ft) around.
World Heritage Site
In 1998, the Cedars of God were added to the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites.
The forest is rigorously protected. It is possible to tour it escorted by an authorized guide. After a preliminary phase in which the land was cleared of detritus, the sick plants treated, and the ground fertilized, the "Committee of the Friends of the Cedar Forest" initiated a reforestation program in 1985. These efforts will only be appreciable in a few decades due to the slow growth of cedars. In these areas the winter offers incredible scenery, and the trees are covered with a blanket of snow.