more than 7,000 years of history
In Lebanon, a special highlight among the sights awaits visitors when traveling: the ruins of Byblos. They are located in the city of the same name directly on the Mediterranean coast north of Beirut and were completely uncovered during excavations in the last century. Byblos is now part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site and an important destination for vacationers, scientists and study trips in Lebanon.
Visit the ruins of Byblos in Lebanon
In the area of the old city of Byblos in Lebanon, excavations have uncovered various buildings and sites and made them accessible to visitors. Some of them are several thousand years old and silent witnesses of the eventful history of Byblos. This includes the Temple of the Obelsiken, which was built around 1900 to 1600 BC. There were various bronze figures in this temple, which are now on display and can be viewed on site. The tombs of several kings from the same period are just as impressive. All graves were completely untouched until their discovery and therefore richly filled with grave goods. Another highlight of the ruins of Byblos is the tomb of Ahiram, which was buried in a stately decorated sarcophagus of inestimable value. In addition, there is the ruin of an old Roman theater in Byblos. Visitors can explore large parts of the ruins on foot during a tour and learn a lot of exciting information about the former residents of the city and their history. The port city is ideal for a short break, but can also be visited on a day trip from Beirut or on a tour of Lebanon.
Jeita stalactite cave
According to topschoolsintheusa, the largest stalactite ever found is under the surface of Lebanon. It has a dimension of 8.2 meters and is the showpiece of the Jeita caves. With a length of nine kilometers, this marvel of nature has reached astonishing dimensions. These are two limestone caves that were discovered in the middle of the 19th century and gradually explored. Parts of the caves, which are located in the valley of the Nahr al-Kalb northeast of the capital Beirut, have been developed for tourism and are therefore open to the public.
The canyon of the “Dog River”
The Nahr al-Kalb, which translates as “dog river”, was of strategic importance as early as the pre-Christian era and formed the border between Egypt and the Hittites of Asia Minor. The gorge was almost impossible to negotiate and it was not until the reign of the Roman emperor Marc Aurel that a road was cut into the steep slope. Today it leads to one of the most beautiful caves in the world. The Jeita stalactite cave was discovered in 1836 by the echo of a shot, but early underground expeditions failed because the water level was too high.
A tunnel a hundred meters long
It was only after the Second World War that researchers succeeded in opening up the impressive labyrinth. A hole was drilled in the ceiling and finally a tunnel more than a hundred meters long where it was not possible to advance due to constrictions. The geologists discovered a second grotto that can now be visited. It contains numerous stalactites. Visitors can sail part of the 6,230-meter-long underground river and a lake on boats.
With a gondola to the entrance
The enormous dimensions of the upper grotto were repeatedly used for concerts in the past. To get to the entrance, a gondola was installed from the parking lot. During the time of the Lebanese civil war, the caves remained closed. When they reopened on July 6, 1995, strict environmental protection measures came into effect.
The ruins of Anjar
The small town of Anjar is located in Lebanon, about 60 km east of Beirut. The place is only 10 km from the Syrian border on the main road that connects Damascus and Beirut. The approximately 2400 inhabitants are mostly Christian Armenians who settled here after the genocide from 1915 to 1917 and who still speak their own dialect today. The city is also known as Haoush Mousa.
The Anjar archaeological site
The complex dates from early Islamic times, but also shows Byzantine elements, because a fortress called Gerrah was located in the same place during classical antiquity. Anjar was founded at the beginning of the 8th century by Al-Walid I from the Arab family clan of the Umayyads, but remained unfinished and was abandoned after a short time. The reason for this was probably a battle that took place in the area in 744 and partially destroyed Anjar.
The settlement, which is surrounded by a city wall, has a rectangular shape with an area of approximately 1.15 km². The four city gates are each located in the corners of the 370 mx 310 m district and are connected by two intersecting main streets. These two streets were lined with pillars and nearly 200 small shops. The main attractions of Anjar are the large and small palaces, which are located in the southern and northern parts, respectively, and the well-preserved mosque in the middle between them. Other buildings at the excavation site also include a bath and a tetrapylon.
The excavations in Anjar began as early as 1943 and continue to this day. The site is now part of the sightseeing programs of most study trips through Lebanon and is definitely worth a visit. The site was included on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1984 and is therefore under special protection.