The Jeita Grotto is considered to be one of the largest caves in the Middle East and is located about 11 miles from the north of the city of Beirut. It comprises of two connected limestone caverns that are about 9km long and contains some of the world’s most spectacular stalactite and stalagmite formations. This is one of the reasons why it is considered to be the pride of Lebanon and why it was almost added to the new 7 Wonders of the World. The caves were also inhabited by pre-historic generations evidence of which can be found in the caverns. Its discovery was made by an American missionary and pastor called William Thompson back in 1836. It was said that he trekked almost 50 meters inside the caves before firing a gun to measure how deep the cave really went. The numbers were staggering. The grotto is a prime tourist attraction and also contains a number of attractions for them such as a mini zoo, a train, ropeways besides a number of souvenir shops selling handmade Lebanese crafts and restaurants serving traditional cuisine. In order to get to the caves, you need to drive from Beirut for 18 km or take a minibus from Dawra to the turnoff of Jeita on the highway.