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Lebanon: Byblos, home of the first alphabet

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World travelers heading to Lebanon, should not miss out on visiting the town of Byblos.

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If you love ruins, then Byblos is the place to be. That's because you will find here one impressive ruin after another and these archeological finds date back 7,000 years. Here, too, you will see various traces of the different civilizations that made Byblos their home.

So just what can you discover? Good question.

Throughout the area there are archaeological ruins of both Canaanite and Phoenician temples, as well as the remains of Stone Age house foundations, Roman ruins and prehistoric city walls. There's even an impressive Crusader castle that was erected in the 13th century.

In fact, the town of Byblos saw the rise and fall of almost two dozen successive levels of human culture. As such, the city is one of the richest archaeological sites in Lebanon.

One thing about Byblos is that it is home to the origin of the alphabet. Note that the impressive tomb of Ahiram--the Phoenician king--is now on display at the National Museum in Beirut, although the sarcophagus was actually discovered here, in Byblos.

During the 3rd and 2nd millennia BC, Byblos was known as the bustling commercial and religious capital of the Phoenician coast.

Nowadays, by contrast, Byblos is a peaceful medieval fishing port, but it's still well worth a visit. See the church of St. John which the crusaders built in the 13th Century. The bell tower and the triple-arched baptistery are more modern, having been erected in the 20th century. The mosque near to the entrance of the castle is from the Ottoman era.

For something unusual, check out the Fossil Museum which has on display perfectly preserved flora and fauna encapsulated for all time in rock.

Byblos is also the center of the Adonis cult - the god of vegetation who dies during the winter but who returns to life again each spring.

If you are heading to Lebanon, be sure to check out the city of Byblos. The city lies just 36km from the city of Beirut, making it easy to reach for a day's excursion.

And don't forget to come right back up to date by shopping at the bazaar right outside the city - there are bargains to be had that would please even those ancient Gods!

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See the slideshow and video on the left-hand side for more on this story.

For more Lebanon articles:

See an article on one of Lebanon's most historic cities with its colossal ruins: Lebanon: Baalbeck, City of the Gods

See here for an article on helping at the Lebanese charity event for hearing-impaired people (including children) with the ALO Foundation: 'So Lebanon Can Hear'.

For a great place to stay while in Beirut, check out this review of the Moevenpick Hotel by National Hotels Examiner, Ramsey Qubein: Room Report: Moevenpick Hotel and Resort Beirut, Lebanon

Whilst in Beirut, be sure to check out the beautiful National Museum

Explore underground caverns in Lebanon at the Jeita Grotto, Lebanon

See other stories from this week in the "Suggested by the Author" section below.

See Sheila's article on being lost and alone in Syria: Lost in Syria, the cradle of civilization

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