Bekaa: valley between the Lebanon and Anti-Lebanon mountains.
Because it is situated in the rain shadow of the Lebanon, there's not much rainfall in the Bekaa. Nevertheless, the melting snow of the mountains creates lots of small rivers, which empty themselves into the Litani. Their waters make the Bekaa one of the most fertile regions in the Near East, used to produce (among others) grapes and wine.
The Bekaa valley is one of the sectors of the large rift valley that is, in the west, flanked by the Amanus Mountains, the Bargylus Mountains, the Lebanon, and the Mountains of Judah, and that continues through the Red Sea. The land was sometimes called "hollow", in Aramaic kol. The Greeks called it Coele Syria.note[Strabo: "Here are two mountains, Lebanon and Anti-Lebanon, which form Coele Syria, as it is called", Geography, 16.2.16 and 16.2.21.]
Strabo also calls the valley "Massyas", and says that Chalkis (mod. Anjar) was the capital of its southern part, Iturea.note[Strabo, Geography 16.2.10-11.] He also refers to an Aramaic myth about a dragon named Typhon who had been struck by a bolt of lightning and fled underground, cutting the earth, forming a river bed, and finally causing a fountain to break forth to the surface. These sources were at Baalbek, where the Litani and Orontes originated. Another myth can be found in the fifth tablet of the Epic of Gilgameš, in which the hero and his friend Enkidu fight against a monster named Humbaba; during this battle, Mount Hermon is broken off from the Cedar Mountains. There is still a place called Taaniyel, which means "monster of god".