Most of you already know “Rabbits Island” or “Palm Island” as one of the largest Lebanese islands, but very few know these facts.
1- The overall area of the islands (Rabbits, Ramkeen & Sanani) is 4.2 Km² and they’re located 5.5 Kms north-west of El-Mina, Tripoli.
2- The name comes from the huge numbers of rabbits that were grown on the island during the French mandate early in the 20th century. If you’re lucky, you could still come across one of them!
3- Declared a protected site by UNESCO in 1992 and a reserve in 1993, the islands are a shelter for endangered loggerhead turtles, rare monk seals, flying fish (you can spot them on your way to the islands) and a resting and nesting ground for 156 species of migratory birds.
4- A Royal Wedding took place at the Island
The Crusaders built a church upon Rabbits Island. It was there that Queen “Alice of Cyprus” came in 1224 to marry Prince “Bohemond V of Antioch”. The Royal wedding took place in this church that was dedicated to St. Thomas. You can still see the ruins of the church if you walk towards the rocky side of the island.
5- A family used to live on Ramkin Island
“Rachid Al Masri”, his wife and his brother “Abd El Sattar” lived most of their lives on Ramkin Island. Rachid had 10 boys and 2 girls who were all born there. The family lived on the island from 1959 till the year 2000. Their job was to guard the island and to turn on the lighthouse at night to guide the ships towards the port of Tripoli. They even became known as the “Fanar” family which stands for “lighthouse” in Arabic.
6- The islands were first open to public in June 1999. Since then, some promenade boats ferry visitors. It costs 30,000 LL (round-trip) per person and it’s recommended that you take some drinks and snacks in an ice cooler since there are no restaurants there.
7- In addition to swimming in crystal clear water, you can do bird watching, hiking, guided tours, snorkeling, diving (must be licensed and have a permit) and of course photography!
8- And the most important point. KEEP THE ISLANDS CLEAN!