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Byblos is said to be the oldest inhabited city in the world, the source of the first Phoenician letters that gave us our alphabet. Byblos was the major seaport of the East Mediterranean during the 3rd millenium
BC.


The ruins include the perimeter walls, the Temple of Baalat-Gebal (the goddess of the city), the Temple of the Obelisks and the royal tombs. There are also ruins dating from Roman times and the crusader castle and church.
After 1200 BC, the Greeks named us "Phoenicia" in reference of coastal area. They gave the city its "Byblos" name ("papyrus" in Greek) after its importance in the papyrus trade.


A few historic marks :

7.000 years ago, a small Neolithic fishing community settled along the store. Tools and weapons of this stone age period have been found in the site.
About 3.000 BC, Canaanean Byblos had been considered as the most important center on the Eastern Mediterranean and had had very close ties with Egypt.
Around 1.200 BC, the transcribers of Byblos developed an alphabetic phonetic script, the precedent of our modern alphabet.
The city was considered a strategic emplacement in the Eastern Mediterranean by Assyrian, Babylonian and Persian who occupied it throughout the first millenium BC.

Byblos became Hellenic after Alexander the Great?s conquest and Greek was used as the language of the local intelligentsia. Residents of the city adopted Greek customs and culture, carried through the Roman era.

Unlike the Romans who built large temples, baths and public buildings, the Byzantine (396-637 AD) ant the Arabs (637 AD) remains are scarce but the city was generally peaceful in this period.

In 1104, Byblos fell to the Crusaders who came upon the Roman buildings. Under the Mamluk and Ottoman rule, the city became a small fishing town and its antique relics were gradually covered with dust.


Curiosities :

Dating from the 3rd, 2nd and 1st millenium, the remains of a City Gate, the Primitive Wall and the foundations of the L-Shaped Temple are among the oldest fortifications on the site.
Traces of fire from the Amorite invasion are still visible on these monuments.

Many of Byblos treasures are now found in the National Museum of Beirut, among them are the human figurines of bronze covered with gold leaf from the temple of the Obelisks, originally built on the top of L-Shaped Temple, or a mosaic from the reconstructed Roman Theater, built in 218.

The site of Byblos retains also 9 Royal Tombs. The most important is that of King Ahiram, whose sarcophagus is one of the masterpieces found in the National Museum.

The ancient site was rediscovered in 1860 by the French writer and savant Ernest Renan. The home of Renan can still be found in Amchit, north of Byblos, where he lived in the 19th century.


Byblos, 37 km north of Beirut, is a prosperous town today and is well prepared to welcome tourists with its hotels, beach resorts, restaurants and souvenir shops.



l Jbeil - Jeita - Sidon - Tripoli - Tyr l

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