Just Visiting a 7,000 Year Old Place

Trip Start Dec 23, 2007
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Lebanon  ,
Thursday, April 15, 2010

Hopping over the desert to Lebanon for a week, I met up with Art, who was there for the weekend.  We rented a car and headed north of Beirut to the ancient site of Byblos and for a drive through the beautiful Qadisha Valley.

Byblos is estimated to have been inhabited some the 5th century BC!  It has hosted Phoenicians, Egyptians, Mesopotamians, Amorites, Hyksos, Babylonians...you get the point.  In more "recent" times, it hosted Alexander the Great, Constantinople, and was a central location in the Crusades.  Soooo, lots of history here and lots of religions have exerted influence in this area...as they still do today.  The archaeological site is centralized near the picturesque harbor and contains a crusader castle, an Amorite temple to Resheph, god of burning and destructive fire, a Roman theater, royal tombs, and the Church of St. John the Baptist.  From the stone pathways to the wildflower-filled landscape, you could easily spend an afternoon just wandering about the grounds and soaking in the ambiance. A definite must-visit if you go to Lebanon.

After exploring Byblos, we drove north to the town of Tripoli, despite being warned that there's nothing to see or do there.  After confirming this for ourselves :), we made the drive into Qadisha Valley with its lovely mountains and deep gorges.  Apparently, qadisha means "holy" and this valley was named so because its deep gorges have provided cover for persecuted religious groups for centuries.  Basically we just drove around and up and down the mountain-side stopping for photos and fun.  We eventually came to the mountain village of Bcharre, located near The Cedars, Lebanons oldest ski resort.  The village is surrounded by snow-capped mountains and littered with high-steepled churches, making it quite a nice place to wander around for a bit.  After doing so, we headed back to Beirut for a night out in the world-famous party scene that Beirut is supposed to be.  Along the way we experienced striking views of the valley and sky as the sun set...great day!
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