Byblos is on the Mediterranean coast of Lebanon. It is located about 26 miles north of Beirut. It is also called one of the oldest cities in the world. Today, it has become one of the prosperous place with crowded streets and markets. Tourists come here from all around the world.
“Byblos” is the Greek name. The city was first built by Phoenicians. It was known as “Gebal” to the Phoenicians. Some researcher reports that the city is more than 7000 years old. It was a wealthy colony located near sea coast. Thus, the locals made their income majorly through fishing, shipping, and trade.
Historians believe Byblos had maintained good trade relationship with Egypt. It is due to the fact that there are many Egyptian artifacts in Byblos. Some oldest artifacts even dated back to 1200 BC. At that time, Phoenicians used 22-character alphabets. Discoveries of the first currency in Byblos in around 332 BC has also been done. Experts assume that there has been brought over with the arrival of Alexander the Great.
Byblos bounced between Christianity and Muslim rule during the various crusades during 4th and 13th centuries. Byblos was part of the Ottoman Empire from early 1500’s until 1918. After that until 1943, Byblos was under French Mandate. And finally, in 1943, Lebanon and Byblos achieved independence.
Reportedly, it is very difficult to maintain the archaeological elements there in old Byblos. The climatic conditions cause erosion of some parts. It can be said that the authenticity of the archaeological elements is very vulnerable.
Byblos site is protected by the Lebanese Antiquities Law 133/1937.Directorate General of Antiquities (DGA) directs the conservation and management of the site of Byblos. Targeted conservation projects are underway within the property. All restoration and other projects must be first approved by DGA.
Byblos has been a progressive city. Tourism has aided it the most. Its cultural history can make it re-emerge as a premier Mediterranean destination. The streets and byways have old walls reflecting the history of the city. The Crusader Castle gives the entrance to major monuments. This is the major attraction point for tourists in Byblos. There is also a wax museum nearby which was opened in 1970. It gives insights into history and life of the people there. Church of St. John the Baptist is another major attraction. Its portions of the 11th century are still in the present church.
There are plenty of hotels, restaurants, snack bars as well as shops for the convenience of tourists. Tourists can also visit Amchit on the north. It has organized campsite, a pleasant, clean place with attractive beaches available to campers. Nahr Ibrahim is to the south of Byblos. It is the valley of ancient river Adonis. Thus, Byblos is a wonderful city to visit carrying archaeological importance as well as natural beauty.