Ancient Byblos Lebanon

bblsNo one is absolutely certain about the true age of Byblos in Lebanon, but what it known is that it is certainly one of the top contenders for the title of world’s oldest continuously inhabited town. It is known that modern humans have occupied the area for almost ten thousand years, and that the name, Byblos, which in Ancient Greek meant papyrus manuscript, has been translated into English as the word Bible, hence the world’s most widely read and most famous book.

As a town of long standing, Byblos has also been tagged with a great number of names throughout its history. During its time it has been called Gubla, Gebel, Canaan, Gibelet and Jbeil, which is its current name.

Located on the coast of Lebanon just 37 kilometres north of Beirut, Byblos today is a modern, thriving town in which signs of the past are always present. With a history dating back past the Ancient Egyptians to the Neolithic period, the town is an archaeologist’s dream. Because it was a safe port and popular trading city, every Middle Eastern Empire, power, civilisation and invader has left their mark on the town, and there are some spectacular monuments to enjoy.

Egyptians, Phoenicians and Assyrians were all early residents of the town, and many tablets containing ancient writing have been discovered there. Alexander the Great arrived in 332 BC, followed by the Greeks and Romans. The Persians then made their presence felt until the Crusaders invaded in 1098 and built some important forts there.

You can still visit one of their fortifications, Byblos Castle, an impressive limestone structure that was partly built with stones pillaged from older Roman buildings. The Crusaders built a moat around the castle, but it proved not to be impenetrable as Saladin and his troops captured the castle in 1188 and dismantled its walls, only to have the Crusaders retake the castle in 1197, and rebuild it.

The remains of a Phoenician Temple, Ba’alat Gebal are also on display. Dating from around 2700 BC, the temple was dedicated to the Goddess of Byblos, who later on was associated with the Greek Goddess Aphrodite.

The town also boasts a Roman amphitheatre and a modern Wax Museum, in which many of the great scenes from the past have been recreated to give visitors a greater insight into how previous generations lived and the important events which would have been the focus of their lives.

Leave a Reply




You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>