* and the Nahr el-Kelb,* can scarcely even be called torrents, being precipitated as it were in one leap from the Lebanon to the Mediterranean. Olives, vines, and corn cover the maritime plain, while in ancient times the heights were clothed with impenetrable forests of oak, pine, larch, cypress, spruce, and cedar. The mountain range drops in altitude towards the centre of the country and becomes merely a line of low hills, connecting Gebel Ansarieh with the Lebanon proper; beyond the latter it continues without interruption, till at length, above the narrow Phoenician coast road, it rises in the form of an almost insurmountable wall. Near to the termination of Coele-Syria, but separated from it by a range of hills, there opens out on the western slopes of Hermon a valley unlike any other in the world. At this point the surface of the earth has been rent in prehistoric times by volcanic action, leaving a chasm which has never since closed up. A river, unique in character--the Jordan--flows down this gigantic
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