Walk Through The Paths Of History
Lebanon has some of the oldest continuously-inhabited cities in the world. Byblos (Jbeil) has been a city for over 7,000 years, and carbon dating puts its earliest known settlements at 9,000 years. Beirut and Saida aren’t far behind, while Tyre (Sur) is quite young by local standards at a mere 4,750 years, give or take a century.
Naturally, then, Lebanon is very much a living museum of ancient culture, evidence of which you’ll find in every little corner you happen to visit. Quite often, the historic sites of Lebanon contain remnants of several ancient civilizations in the same place. What today is a mosque may well have been converted from a Crusader castle, which may in turn have been built on a Phoenician fort, which in turn will likely have been built on a Bronze-age tell, the exact origins of which are buried in the past. You’ll find this historical multiplicity to be true in all of the ancient cities at sites like the citadel in Tripoli, and the Roman Law School—the first one in the world—in downtown Beirut.
And it isn’t just the cities, of course. Around the country you’ll find castles, temples and other signs of ancient life in abundance; in Baalbek, of course, but also in Mount Lebanon, in the rolling hills of the south, and way up north by the Syrian border. And more recent history is equally as fascinating, with beautiful constructions all over the country from Lebanon’s Emirs, the Ottomans, and the influence of the French on architecture from the mandate era. The Lebanese Civil War left its mark in its own way, and evidence of that will be plain to see as you walk around Beirut.
Whatever period of history you’re interested in, Lebanon has an enormous wealth to offer you. From castles and Roman columns to souks, mosques and decaying mansions, the history of Lebanon is truly staggering.