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Lebanon: Beirut and the National Museum

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World travelers visiting Lebanon and Beirut should be sure to include the National Museum on their itinerary.

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This museum, which was opened in 1942, is home to an outstanding collection of archaeological pieces.

On the ground floor alone there are 70 large items with the highlight being the sarcophagus of Ahirm, the King of Byblos. This sarcophagus displays the earliest-known example of the Phoenician alphabet.

Here, too, you will find an enormous statue which was discovered in the city of Byblos. It was made in the Egyptian style. Look for the statues of children--they are adorable. Note that these were offered, in the great wisdom of the people of the day, as ex-voto offerings to the god of Eshmoun who was known for his healing powers.

The statues of children were discovered at the temple in Eshmoun, close to the city of Sidon.

On the ground floor you should be sure to check out the heads of the bulls and the variety of mosaics that show mythological scenes.

After you have wandered around on the group floor, go upstairs to see even more prehistoric objects. It's amazing to think these originate from the Bonze, Iron, Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine eras and range from the Arab conquest to the times of Mamluke .

The museum is open from 9am to 5pm every day except Monday.

The National Museum is rightly a highlight in Beirut. Don't miss it!

Website: Beirut National Museum

San Francisco residents can catch a flight from SFO to Istanbul where they will change plane for the two-hour flight to Beirut. Deals can be found at www.kayak.com


For a place to stay if you are traveling in Lebanon, see the review of the Moevenpick Hotel by Ramsey Qubein, the National Hotels Examiner here.

See here for an article on volunteering at the ALO Foundation to give hearing-impaired adults and children hearing aids.

See photos and video (on the left-hand side) for more on this story.

See here for an article on the outstanding ruins of Baalbeck

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