Andrew Mobbs (mobbsy) wrote,
Andrew Mobbs


Another impressive ancient site I visited in Lebanon was Byblos (Jbeil). This is believed to be the oldest continuously inhabited site in the world.

The ancient city has been excavated down, the walls here are from the Phoenician city and may date back as far as the early bronze age (3rd millennium BC). However, there's evidence of Neolithic settlements from around 7000 years ago. In Phoenician times Byblos was a major port, trading cedar and papyrus to ancient Egypt and Greece.

The city was frequently attacked, and the defensive walls are still obvious, and impressively thick, but unfortunately I only have boring photographs of them. However, overlooking the old city is a more recent defence, a remarkably block-shaped crusader castle. As I understand it, the ancient city was built upon time and again, and the modern town only growing up outside the walls relatively recently.

Next to the castle is a Maronite church, set in very pretty grounds. It has the slightly odd feature of an outside baptismal fount, apparently the unbaptised weren't allowed inside the church, which presented something of a bootstrapping problem.

A bit further up the coast from Byblos is the town of Batroun, we didn't see that much here, just stopped for lunch at a beautiful beach resort, eating delicious sardines and other fish along with salads, olives and finishing with arak while watching people wind and kite surf.


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