The Balaa Sinkhole

May 26th, 2011

A short while back I had the chance to visit another of the many natural wonders that Lebanon has to offer: the sinkhole known by various names including the Balaa Sinkhole (Ballou Balaa in Arabic), Baatara Sinkhole, and Three Bridges Chasm (Gouffre des Trois Ponts in French), or even the Batara Gorge Waterfall.

What is it? It is a natural sinkhole plunging 255 metres into the mountainside. It features three natural bridges, rising one above the other over a height of one hundred metres and overhanging the enormous mouth of the chasm. I was lucky enough to visit it during the snow melt, when a 100-metre waterfall drops behind the three bridges and into the sinkhole.

It was first discovered in 1952 and explored in 1962. You can find out more here and here.

That’s a couple down there on the middle bridge:

The snaking path of the river before it drops into the chasm below:

Some mini waterfalls, a little way up the river from the sinkhole:

The long drop:

A view of the three bridges:

Two perspectives from the middle bridge:

Below is a long-exposure shot I took as I was heading out. To give you an idea of the size of the chasm, those little red, white and blue dots to the right of the middle bridge are 3 people.

More coming soon!


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Posted in Travel/Urban | Comments (4)

4 Responses to “The Balaa Sinkhole”

  1. Scott Says:

    Thanks for the photos, I MUST go here before I leave Lebanon!

  2. Z! Says:

    Hi! Thx for the comments. I’m glad you enjoyed my pictures. I highly recommend you pop up for a look once the snows start to melt so the waterfall will be heavy. Will be even more beautiful in person. Cheers!

  3. Maha Says:

    Wonderful pictures, Ziad! Well done! I’ve been to the place and even lived in the area but always in the summer. I’m hoping I’ll get a chance to see the waterfall one day. Thanks again for the beautiful pics.

  4. Z! Says:

    Hi Maha! Thanks so much! Very glad you enjoyed the pictures. The waterfall is definitely quite the sight! 🙂

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