Posted by: jacksterja | 5 September, 2006

Guest Writer – That Place called Lebanon …

an article from our safely returned Cecilia…

That Place called Lebanon …Hello avid readers of Jacki’s Jabbering,
As you all know this article is a bit overdue. My excuse is that I found it really hard to write an interesting and entertaining article about my visit to Lebanon because of the war that was happening there. Eventually I have decided to write a general article about Lebanon and it’s main attractions. Here it goes…

Lebanon is officially known as the Lebanese Republic. It is small country, which is represented by a dot on the global map of the world. Located in the Middle East at the eastern edge of the Mediterranean Sea, it is bordered by Syria to the North East and Israel to the South, with a narrow coastline along the western edge.

The flag of Lebanon features the Lebanon Cedar in the green against a white backdrop with two quarter-height horizontal red stripes on the top and bottom. The red stripes represent the blood of the martyrs that dies for Lebanon’s independence from French Colonialism. The white backdrop represents the snow on Lebanon’s mountains and the Cedar is the native Lebanese tree.
The capital of Lebanon is Beirut and it is the largest city in the country. Prior to the Lebanese Civil War (1975-2000), it was known as “Paris of the Middle East’. The city had undergone major reconstruction in recent years:
· It had largely regained its status as a tourist, cultural and intellectual centre of the Middle East.
· It is also the centre for fashion, commerce and media.
· The city was host to the Asian Basketball Championship and the Asian Football Championship.
· Beirut also successfully hosted the Miss Europe pageant twice.
· The city is home to numerous international organizations. The
United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) is headquartered in Downtown Beirut while the International Labour Organization (ILO) and UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization)
The city is bustling with restaurants, beach clubs, centres for performing arts, music venues, movie theatres, a casino, and a number of night clubs, pubs, and bars.

Lebanon is a place of many attractions from fresh green valleys and mountains, historical sights, fabulous entertainment, great shopping destinations to a laid-back country/village life. In honour to my fascination with history, the remainder of this article will discuss the historical attractions (which I didn’t get to see, but I am determined to see next year)
The main attractions listed below, are in my opinion part of the “1001 places you should see before you die”
Tyre: Ancient Queen of the Seas – is over 5,000 years old and as such constitutes a historian and archaeologist’s delight. Although there are remnants of Egyptian, Assyrian, Phoenician, Greek, Byzantine, Arab, and Ottoman civilizations in the city, it is the Roman ruins that are most prominent in Tyre today. Highlights include the largest Roman hippodrome in the world, an enormous triumphal arch, and an extensive Roman necropolis.
Aanjar: Commercial Hub of the Umayyad Dynasty – Mainly renowned for its graceful stone arches and wide arcades, the ruins of Aanjar offer a unique opportunity to step foot upon an ancient Islamic trading hub connecting Damascus to the Mediterranean Sea. It is among the world’s few known ruins of the 8th century Umayyad dynasty and is one of the region’s only examples of an inland commercial centre.
Baalbek: Roman City of the Sun – is home to awe-inspiring temples and city ruins, which are among the largest and finest examples of Roman architecture in the world. Located in the fertile Békaa Valley, the city of Baalbek originated in Phoenician times as a place of worship to Baal, the Phoenician Sun God. During the Hellenistic period (333-64 B.C.), the Greeks named the city Heliopolis, or “City of the Sun.” However, Baalbek entered its golden age in 47 B.C., when Julius Caesar made it a Roman colony. Byblos: Ancient Crossroads of the Mediterranean – Historians believe that the site of Byblos dates back at least 7,000 years. It is believed to be one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. The modern port city of Byblos is built upon multiple layers of ruins, dating back to as early as the Stone Age and extending to the more recent Ottoman days. Byblos offers annals of Lebanese history through its great age.
Qadisha Valley & Cedars Forest: A Natural & Spiritual Sanctuary – Quadisha Valley is known as the “Holy Valley.”It has been a place of refuge for those fleeing religious persecution since the 5th century, and it houses some of the most important early Christian monastic settlements in the world. Rock-cut chapels, grottoes, and hermitages, many painted with frescoes dating back to the 12th and 13th centuries, are tucked into the steep walls.
The Qadisha Valley and Cedars region is a prime destination for nature enthusiasts, with abundant opportunities for hiking and trekking, mountain climbing, caving, and other natural exploration. In the wintertime, the nearby Cedars Ski Resort, along with the other resorts in the northern Mount Lebanon region, are popular destinations for skiing and winter sports.
Be sure to make this lovely country one of your future destinations 😉


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