Lebanon’s Highlights

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Beirut

Beirut, with nearly a million inhabitants, remains the cultural and commercial center of the country. Some of its main landmarks are: The martyrs’ statue, the Souks (markets) and the parliament building, which are part of the design covering 1.8 million square meters. In extensive archeological investigations, historical periods ranging from Canaanite (3,000- 1200 B.C) to ottoman (1516-1918 A.D), have been revealed.

Jeita

One of the world’s most beautiful cavern, it can be found about 20 km away north of Beirut.The lower caverns are visited by boat over a subterranean lake 623 meters long. A dry upper gallery can be seen on foot. After many years of exploration, Lebanese speleologists have penetrated 6,910 meters from the entry point of the grotto to the far end of the Underground River and 2,130 meters of the upper galleries. The main source of the Dog River (Nahr el Kalb) rises in this cavern.

Byblos

The coastal town of Byblos is located on a cliff of sandstone 40 km North of Beirut. Continuously inhabited since Neolithic times, Byblos bears outstanding witness to the beginnings of the Phoenician civilization. It has been closely linked to the legends and history of the Mediterranean region for thousands of years. Byblos is also directly associated with the history and diffusion of the Phoenician alphabet. A beautiful Mosque adds to the cultural mix in the old part of Byblos. Cafes and restaurants, plus an interesting wax museum can also be visited.

Harissa

It is located 600 meters from the coast and 26 km away from Beirut, with a wonderful panoramic view covering the Bay of Jounieh. Statue of the Virgin Mary was erected in 1908. Inside its base, a chapel with outside spiral staircase which leads to the top, as well cable car service is provided from the bay of Jounieh to the mountain of Harissa.

Cedars

The most venerable representatives of the Cedars of Lebanon, which once covered the country’s mountains, are in the Besharre region in the North of Lebanon, Hundreds of trees stand on slopes 2,000 meters high in the shadow of the 3,088 meter peak of Qornet es- Sawda.
From Lebanon’s cedar forests, Solomon got the timber to build his temple and palace, while the Egyptians Pharaohs used the wood carve their sarcophagi and ‘sunships’.

Kozhaya

It is part of the Holy valley where Masonite’s used to hide during the Ottoman’s period. Monastry of St-Antoine of Kozhaya is one of the numerous monasteries built in this valley. It is built partly inside in the mountain and partly outside it. It is surrounded by a very beautiful panorama of forest and valley.

Besharre:

In the north, the picturesque gateway to the Cedars of Lebanon is the birthplace of the famous Lebanese poet Gibran Khalil Gibran. Here one may visit the Gibran Museum and the many ancient churches and monastries.

Baalbeck

Heliopolis: the roman temples of Baal beck, located in the Bekaa valley 85 kilometers away from Beirut. It makes up the largest and best preserved corpus of roman architecture left around. The acropolis occupies the top of an artificial hill built up of different layers of habitation. Its temples, dedicated to Jupiter, Bacchus and Venus, were constructed between the first and the third centuries A.D. In the “Jupiter temple” six of the 54 giant columns that originally surrounded the sanctuary survived till today. The temple has an impressive podium and a vast rectangular courtyard where sacrifices were carried out. The sanctuary is reached through a propylaea (monumental entrance) and hexagonal forecourt.

The town of Baalbeck has major remains from Islamic times including the grand Mosque, built by the Omayyad’s with material borrowed from ancient monuments, and another mosque built in Mamluke times near the spring of Ras el –Ain

Anjar

Anjar is located in the Bekaa valley, 58 km away from Beirut. It was built by the Omayyad caliph al- Walid Ibn Abdel Malek in the early 8th century A.D. Inside the city’s strong fortifications are the remains of streets, three palaces, souks, two hammams and a Mosque. Located on the old route linking the Bekaa with Damascus,
Anjar was built in the neighborhood of an ancient stronghold called Gerrah, which location is still problematic. Today the name of Gerrah is retained in the word ‘Anjar’ which means ‘source of Gerrah’ (Ain Gerrah)