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Lebanon Touristic Places  
Beirut
Baalbeck
Byblos (Jbeil)
Sidon & Tyre
Beiteddin
Jeita
The Cedars
 
 

Beirut


Is a city of one and a half million inhabitants, bright sunshine and modern business activity mingled with old traditions. It provides a unique blend of ancient and modern, of East and West, to an extent not found elsewhere in such a small area.

The National Museum, the Great Mosque "Jameh-el-Umari", the Al Khodr Mosque built on the spot where St. George, the patron saint of Beirut is believed to have killed the dragon and innumerable ancient churches, all bear testimony to the centuries of history that make Beirut what it is today. While new districts have sprung up in the past decade beautiful modern buildings along the Raoucheh Corniche, near the famed Pigeon Rock Grotto (just off the cost and one of Beirut's leading landmarks) provide a striking contrast with the older part of the city and bear comparison with the best modern architecture of the world.

Life is pleasant in Beirut. Its nightlife is famous all over the world, its night-clubs - probably more to the square mile than in any other metropolis - provide entertainment both for the country's fun loving, carefree inhabitants and for the visitors who, from the minute they step on Lebanese soil, feel the country's welcome.
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Baalbeck

One and a half hours from Beirut, on an excellent highway, proudly stands Baalbeck, one of the most ancient cities of the world, which was first built as a center of pagan worship. The Phoenicians later transformed it into a temple in honor of the god Baal. After the conquest of Alexander, Greeks settled in the country and named the town Heliopolis (city of the sun).

The Romans built also colossal temple here. With the crusader period came important changes; a church was built in honor of St. Barbara. In Baalbeck one may visit the Citadel, the Great Mosque and the temples of Jupiter, Bacchus and Venus. Every summer, a festival of music, dramatic art and folk-dancing is held at the temples. The performances are selected from among the world's greatest artists in their particular fields.
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Byblos (Jbeil)

Although Byblos is today only a small coastal town 35 kilometers north of Beirut, it is in fact, one of the oldest cities in the world and, according to legend, was founded by the Cananean god El, son of Kronos.

A neolothic village, well preserved, bears witness to the fact that the region was inhabited more than five thousand years ago while the ramparts of the Phoenician city, together with temples full of the old relics, date back three thousand years.

Many royal tombs have been discovered in that area. The walls of Ahiram's tomb (13th century B.C) bear inscriptions in characters from which all modern alphabets are derived. The Romans, for their part, left an amphitheatre and colonnades and, after them, the Crusaders built the Church of St. John (12th century A.D) which still stands with its remarkable baptistery, a dungeon and a part of the fortified harbor.
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Sidon & Tyre

South from Beirut are the old Phoenician cities of Sidon and Tyre of biblical fame. Sidon contains the ruins of a 13th century Crusader Castle and the remains of the Chateau of St Louis. About 45 kilometers away lies Tyre with its admirable monolithic sarcophagus, believed to be the tomb of Phoenician king Hiram of Tyre. Recent discoveries in Tyre have brought to light vestiges dating from Alexander the Great.

30 kilometers from Sidon, the medieval Beaufort Castle stands on a 1,000 foot high cliff overlooking the Litany River.
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Beiteddin

The palace of Beiteddin was built by Emir Bashir (1788 - 1840).

It is a fine example of old oriental architecture and is rich in multicolored mosaic floors of fascinating design. A folklore museum housing antiquities dating back to the time of Emir Bashir, flanks the outer courtyard leading to the main sections of the palace.
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Jeita

The Jeita Grotto is the source of the Dog River from which Beirut gets its water supply.

Inside, the grotto is artificially lit to enable visitors to see the ferric and colorful rock formations while they cruise round the subterranean lake in a boat.

The grotto is considered the most beautiful of its kind in the world because of its richness and variety of color.
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The Cedars

About 125 kilometers from Beirut, through the romantic Qadisha gorge, are the Cedars.

Before climbing the last ascent to this beautiful locality, one may visit the Qadisha Grotto, a fairyland of stalactites and stalagmites, through which gushes the ice-cold river of Qadisha. The Cedars are also a famous ski resort, with a ski-lift and lots of hotels.
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