Jbeil Travel Guide

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Byblos @ night

Byblos @ night

The ancient city of Byblos or Jbeil, 37 kilometers North of Beirut, is one of the oldest towns in the world, its history goes back over 9000 years. It has been continuously occupied by many civilizations for seven thousand years. Phoenicians, Egyptians, Assyrians, Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Crusaders and Ottomans all left their imprint on the city. The traces they left in this area make it one of the richest archaeological sites in the Middle East.

It became an important trading port during the 3rd century BC and the commercial and religious capital of the Phoenician coast. Located at the foot of Lebanon's timber bearing mountains, it was an ideal port for cedar wood and oil which was traded with Egypt for gold, alabaster, linen and papyrus.

The Greeks called this port Byblos, after the Greek word for papyrus. It was here that the ancestor of the Greek alphabet was developed. In this way Byblos gave its name to the Bible.

Out of the devastated ruins of old temples, successors tended to build new ones as symbol of the predominance of their religion over the older one. This way, traces of the oldest civilizations are still visible in for example in was the "Temple of the Obelisks", so called because of vast amount of miniature obelisk stones found within.

In the modern town, the Roman-medieval port has been restored, and nearby are the excavated remains of the cities past. The old part of town is still dominated by the 12th-century crusader castle, which is one of its main attractions. Here you’ll also find a Greco-Roman amphitheatre overlooking the sea and the tombs of Phoenician kings in which the oldest alphabetic inscription was discovered.

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