Sitting on the East of the Mediterranean, Lebanon is another captivating Middle Eastern destination.
The country is full of UNESCO world heritage sites and has an endearing old word charm. One of the most enchanting places is the Capital City of Beirut, which was once called ‘Paris of the East’.
Famous visiting spots include an 8th century Umayyad site in the town of Aanjar, the mountainous Kadisha Valley, Phoenician tombs, Roman temples, Crusader castles, and Mamlouk mosques. With so many attractions, it is hardly a wonder that Lebanon features in most Middle East holiday packages.
“The strategic position of Lebanon, its mild climate, and natural beauty across the
Mediterranean Sea, makes it a natural tourist attraction.
Over the years, Lebanon became a tourism hub within the Middle East region attracting thousands of international visitors. This aspect allowed the travel and tourism sector to flourish
For decades, people all over the world have loved to visit Beirut to see the “Paris of the Middle East” and enjoy the life the city has to offer. However, throughout all Lebanon many of the wonderful treasures that are waiting to be discovered are often missed.
Tourists typically take day trips to the better known sites such as Baalbek, Byblos or Tyre, where they get to see the countryside through the window of a bus, visit the site, and then return to Beirut by night.
This is probably because they do not know where to stay in the small towns around Lebanon. Tourists, as a result, often miss out on discovering the richness of quaint villages and their beautiful natural, cultural and historical treasures.
I have my Lebanon and its beauty
Mount Lebanon drone video shots through the words of Khalil Gibran
In the last five years, locals agree that Byblos has truly grown up
With an abundance of new shopping, dining, and nightlife options near the old center and port, just steps away from what may be one of the world’s oldest, constantly inhabited cities.
For culture and history buffs, the famous Byblos ruins, which span 5,000 years of history and include Phoenician temples, a Crusader castle and medieval city walls, are a UNESCO
World Heritage site with an engrossing museum.
After taking in ancient history, some fascinating contemporary history can be found at Pepe’s Fishing Club in the port, where photos of numerous celebrities and 20th century figures deck the walls.
Another find in the old souk is the Byblos Fossil Museum, which contains a fossil collection of fish, sharks, eels, shrimps, squids, rays, and other local sea life. Not far away is the St. John the Baptist Church of the old city, a medieval cathedral built in 1116 by the crusaders.
Further afield, the Afqa Grotto 30 km north of Byblos cuts into a 200 meter-high cliff, formed by the Adonis River. Legend has it that the grotto is the site where the handsome Adonis, mortal lover of the goddess of love Astarte (Aphrodite), was gorged to death by another jealous god in the form of a wild boar.
Astarte pled with the Underworld to release Adonis from death, and due to the depth and sincerity of her love, it was agreed that Adonis could return to Earth in spring and summer.
When the river flows red in springtime from mineral run-off in the mountains, locals believed it was the blood of Adonis, and the grotto became a pilgrimage site symbolic of his rebirth, attracting people from all over the region to pray and be healed.
Today, the site still receives pilgrims, albeit of a more modern kind.
For further information beyondbeirut.com