The city of Byblos has constantly been inhabited since the sixth century BC. The actual town is made up of the old town, surrounded by medieval walls along with the modern town that progressively expands towards the mountains.
The fishing port, built during the Neolithic period, was shaped by diverse civilizations as the Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, Fatimides, Mamelukes and Crusaders, leaving it with numerous vestiges. The old town’s archaeological site, with its impressive location diving into the sea, reveals all the relics of its 8,000 year-old history.
Entering through the crusaders’ castle (12th century), you can successively visit the obelisks’ temple (19th-16th BC), houses’ foundations dating from 3200 to 2000 BC, a royal necropolis and some sarcophagi. Near the archaeological site, lays the old Jbeil. The medieval walls, perfectly preserved, offer an ideal example of traditional architecture.
Byblos’s port and lovely alleys induce long charming walks where churches (including the Crusader church of Saint John), chapels and houses are waiting to be discovered.
Welcome to Byblos/Jbeil
Byblos is said to be the oldest inhabited city in the world, the source of the first Phoenician letters that gave us our alphabet. Byblos was the major seaport of the East Mediterranean during the 3rd millenium BC.
The name originated from 'biblion', that is book. The word 'bible' is derived from the Greek 'ta b blia', which means 'the books'. Byblos is the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world. According to Phoenician tradition, Byblos was founded by the god El who surrounded his city with a wall. The massive Early Bronze Age city walls (2800 B.C.) on the site reflect this early religious belief. Thus Byblos was considered, even by the abcient Phoenicians, to be a city of great antiquity.
Yet Byblos was inhabited even earlier. About 7000 years ago a small fishing community settled there. Several monocellular huts with crushed limestone floors can be seen today on the site.
Long before Greece and Rome, this ancient town was a powerful, independent city-state with its own kings, culture and flourishing trade. The kings of Byblos used hieroglyphics and adopted the Eguptian cartouche for their names and titles. Thus an alphabetic phonetic script was developed at Byblos, the precursor of our modern alphabet. The inscription on the sarcophagus of King Ahiram of Byblos (in the period 1200-1000 B.C.), presently in Beirut National Museum, is the earliest form of the Phoenician alphabet yet discovered.
One of the earliest attempts at city planning was conceived in Byblos. The city was surrounded by a massive wall, a narrow winding street led from the center, secondary lanes branched off taking irregular paths among the houses. In 2800 B.C. a large temple was built to Baalat Gebal, the 'Lady of Byblos', the city goddess. Another temple was erected in 2700 B.C. to a male god, called the 'Temple en L', this large construction faces that of Baalat Gebal.
During the Roman period large temples and civic buildings were built, a street colonnade surrounded the city. There are few remains of the Byzantine and Arab period. Byblos fell to the Crusaders in A.D. 1108. They came upon the large stones and granite columns of the Roman temples and public buildings and used them to build their castle and moat.
Excavations over the past fifty years have made Byblos one of the unique archeological sites in the world with a history that spans seven thousand years.
The four main places of interest to visit in Byblos are the Castle, built by the Crusaders in the 12th and 13th centuries: the Egyptian temples, the earliest of which dates back to the 4th millenium: the Phoenician royal necropolis, and the Roman amphitheater.
The ruins include the perimeter walls, the Temple of Baalat-Gebal (the goddess of the city), the Temple of the Obelisks and the royal tombs. There are also ruins dating from Roman times and the crusader castle and church.
After 1200 BC, the Greeks named us "Phoenicia" in reference of coastal area. They gave the city its "Byblos" name ("papyrus" in Greek) after its importance in the papyrus trade.
7.000 years ago, a small Neolithic fishing community settled along the store. Tools and weapons of this stone age period have been found in the site.
The city was considered a strategic emplacement in the Eastern Mediterranean by
Assyrian, Babylonian and Persian who occupied it throughout the first millenium
Byblos became Hellenic after Alexander the Great?s conquest and Greek was used as the language of the local intelligentsia. Residents of the city adopted Greek customs and culture, carried through the Roman era.
Unlike the Romans who built large temples, baths and public buildings, the Byzantine (396-637 AD) ant the Arabs (637 AD) remains are scarce but the city was generally peaceful in this period.
In 1104, Byblos fell to the Crusaders who came upon the Roman buildings. Under the Mamluk and Ottoman rule, the city became a small fishing town and its antique relics were gradually covered with dust.
Dating from the 3rd, 2nd and 1st millenium, the remains of a City Gate, the Primitive Wall and the foundations of the L-Shaped Temple are among the oldest fortifications on the site.
fire from the Amorite invasion are still visible on these monuments.
Many of Byblos treasures are now found in the National Museum of Beirut, among them are the human figurines of bronze covered with gold leaf from the temple of the Obelisks, originally built on the top of L-Shaped Temple, or a mosaic from the reconstructed Roman Theater, built in 218.
The site of Byblos retains also 9 Royal Tombs. The most important is that of King Ahiram, whose sarcophagus is one of the masterpieces found in the National Museum.
The ancient site was rediscovered in 1860 by the French writer and savant Ernest Renan. The home of Renan can still be found in Amchit, north of Byblos, where he lived in the 19th century.
Byblos, 37 km north of Beirut, is a prosperous town today and is well prepared to welcome tourists with its hotels, beach resorts, restaurants and souvenir shops.
HOTELS IN JBEIL
Castel Mare Beach Hotel and Resort Jbeil 5*
Very close to the biblical town of Byblos, or
Jbeil as it is known today, the Castel Mare offers a serene seaside experience
for short and long stays.....(more details and special rates)
Eddesands Beach Resort 4*
is a beach resort and wellness center located on the Mediterranean Sea next
the ancient Port city of Byblos at a convenient distance of 35 Km north of
Beirut.....(more details and special rates)
Comfort Hotel 4*
.....(more details and special rates)
Canary de Byblos 4*.....(more details and special rates)
Victory Byblos Hotel 4*
Victory Byblos Hotel and Spa is a newly established
hotel, located in the old citadele of Byblos and only 2minutes away from the
Souk of Jbeil. From the hotel you can go by walking to the most prestigious
beach resorts in Lebanon. The hotel is only 45 minutes away from the airport
and 10 minutes away from Casino du Liban.....(more details and special rates)
Byblos Sur Mer Hotel 4* Hotel is located in the ancient port of Byblos - the oldest settlement in Byblos dates back to approximately 5250 B.C.- on a slope overlooking the bay, facing the cidatel 40 Km from Beirut airport and ten minutes away from the "Casino du Liban"......................(more details and special rates)
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