Byblos is the Greek name of the Phoenician city Gebal. It is a Mediterranean city in the Mount Lebanon Governorate of present-day Lebanon under the current Arabic name of Jubayl and was also referred to as Gibelet during the Crusades. It is believed to have been occupied first between 8800 and 7000 BC, and according to fragments attributed to the semi-legendary pre-Trojan war Phoenician historian Sanchuniathon, it was built by Cronus as the first city in Phoenicia. Today it is believed by many to be the oldest continuously-inhabited city in the World. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
History and Archaeology
The name Byblos is Greek; papyrus received its early Greek name (byblos, byblinos) from its being exported to the Aegean through Byblos. Hence the English word Bible is derived from byblos as "the (papyrus) book." The city's Canaanite/Phoenician name "GB'L" derived from "gb", meaning well or origin, and El the supreme god of Byblos's pantheon. The present day city is now known by the Arabic name Jubayl or Jbeil, a direct descendant of the Canaanite name.
Byblos is re-emerging as an upscale touristic hub. With its ancient port, Phoenician, Roman and Crusader ruins, sandy beaches and the picturesque mountains that surround it make it an ideal tourist destination. The city is known for its fish restaurants, open-air bars, and outdoor cafes. Yachts cruise into its harbor today like they did in the sixties and seventies when Marlon Brando and Frank Sinatra were regular visitors to the city.
Ancient Phoenician Temples
In the archaeological site of Byblos there are the remains of the Great Temple (also known as L-Shaped temple) built in 2700 BC, Temple of Baalat Gebal built in 2700 BC and Temple of the Obelisks built around 1600 BC.
Byblos Castle was built by the crusaders in the 12th century. It is located in the archaeological site near the port.
Medieval city wall
The old medieval part of Byblos is surrounded by walls running about 270m from east to west and 200m from north to south
Byblos Wax Museum
This museum displays wax statues of characters from Phoenician times to current days
St John the Baptist Church
Work on the church started during the crusades in 1116. It was considered a cathedral and was partially destroyed during an earthquake in 1176 AD. It was transformed into stables by Islamic forces after the fall of the city, and was given to the Maronites as a gift by Prince Youssef Chehab of Lebanon in the mid 1700s, after they aided him in capturing the city.
Byblos Fossil Museum
Byblos Fossil Museum has a collection of fossilized fish, sharks, eel, flying fish, and other marine life, some millions of years old.
Historic Quarter and Souks
In the southeast section of the historic city, near the entrance of the archaeological site, is an old market where tourists can shop for souvenirs and antiques, or simply stroll along the old cobblestone streets and enjoy the architecture.
Byblos International Festival
This summer music festival is an annual event that takes place in the historic quarter.