Lebanon is a country that has 7,000 years of history. Home of one of the most ancient civilizations in the world, Phoenicia, Lebanon hides beneath its ground an ancient world that still needs to get discovered.
Recently, National Geographic declared that Lebanon is one of the world’s oldest countries.
Filled with state-of-the-art skyscrapers and a vibrant nightlife, where is the ancient side of Lebanon reflected? The obvious answer would be: through its people.
In fact, a new study proved that the Lebanese ancestry is mostly Phoenician. As you might know, the Phoenicians are some of the most ancient people in the world. They have invented the first alphabet where the Latin alphabet derives from. Also, the Phoenicians were among the first people that produced wine.
This civilization has left a huge impact in Lebanon. Famous for building cities, the Phoenicians have left an architectural heritage wherever they went. There are 11 Phoenician cities and towns in Lebanon that have been continuously inhabited ever since! On the archaeological level, the capital Beirut has been destroyed and rebuilt 7 times.
That’s why this Middle Eastern city is compared to a Phoenix. Archaeologists found under Beirut a destroyed Canaanite city wall, Crusader fortress walls, Iron Age shaft tombs, a Roman law school, Roman baths and many more archaeological sites.
Also, the word Cedar is mentioned 75 times in the Old Testament. In the ancient times, cedar woods were prestigious and only rich people could afford them. This is the very same cedar wood King Solomon used for his temple.
Lebanon is full of historical gems. Even though it’s one of the oldest countries in the world, Lebanon has a modern side that perfectly blends with ancient archaeological ruins. It’s just that Lebanese people find a way to melt everything in the same pot.
One can party in the old souk in Byblos, and ride an ATV in the Cedar forests. When the renowned American chef Anthony Bourdain visited Lebanon, he said that Lebanon “made no damn sense at all – in the best possible way.”
A melting pot of 18 sects where all Lebanese people from different religious and political backgrounds fit, Lebanon is as flexible as it can get. It’s full of differences yet it’s here and it’s thriving!