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Byblos
Byblos Port
Byblos Port
Administration
Country  Lebanon
Governorate Mount Lebanon Governorate
District Jbeil District
Geography
Byblos is located in Lebanon
Byblos
Location of Byblos, Lebanon
Coordinates 34°07′25″N 35°39′04″E / 34.12361°N 35.65111°E / 34.12361; 35.65111Coordinates: 34°07′25″N 35°39′04″E / 34.12361°N 35.65111°E / 34.12361; 35.65111
Byblos*
UNESCO World Heritage Site
State Party  Lebanon
Type Cultural
Criteria iii, iv, vi
Reference 295
Region** Arab States
Inscription history
Inscription 1984  (8th Session)
* Name as inscribed on World Heritage List.
** Region as classified by UNESCO.
Byblos, Lebanon

Byblos (Βύβλος) is the Greek name of the Phoenician city Gebal (earlier Gubla; Phoenician: 𐤂𐤁𐤋). It is a Mediterranean city in the Mount Lebanon Governorate of present-day Lebanon under the current Arabic name of (جبيل Ǧubayl) and was also referred to as Gibelet during the Crusades. It is believed to have been founded around 5000 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.[1] Today it is believed by many to be the oldest continuously-inhabited city in the world.

It is mentioned in the Bible in 1 Kings 5:18, referring to the nationality of the builders of Solomon's Temple, and also in Ezekiel 27:9, referring to the riches of Tyre.

Contents

History

Byblos, Lebanon

The Phoenician city of Gebal was named Byblos by the Greeks, because it was through Gebal that papyrus Bύβλος (bublos; Egyptian papyrus) was imported into Greece. Hence the English word Bible is derived from byblos as "the (papyrus) book."[2] The present day city is now known by the Arabic name Jubayl or Jbeil (جبيل), a direct descendant of the Canaanite name.

Byblos (Greek) or Gebal (Phoenician) is located on the Mediterranean coast of present-day Lebanon, about 26 miles (42 kilometers) north of Beirut. It is attractive to archaeologists because of the successive layers of debris resulting from centuries of human habitation.

The site first appears to have been settled during the Neolithic period, approximately 5000 BC. Neothlithic remains of some buildings can be observed at the site. According to the writer Philo of Byblos (quoting Sanchuniathon, and quoted in Eusebius), Byblos had the reputation of being the oldest city in the world, founded by Cronus. During the 3rd millennium BC, the first signs of a town can be observed, with the remains of well-built houses of uniform size. This was the period when the Phoenician civilization began to develop.

Egyptian contact

The growing city was evidently a wealthy one, and seems to have been an ally of Egypt for many centuries. Archaeologists have recovered Egyptian-made artifacts dated as early as the Fourth dynasty of Egypt. Objects have been found at Byblos naming the 13th dynasty Egyptian king Neferhotep I, and the rulers of Byblos maintained close relationships with the New Kingdom pharaohs of Ancient Egypt. Around 1350 BC, the Amarna tablets include 60 letters from Rib-Hadda and his successor Ili-Rapih who where rulers of Byblos, writing to the Egyptian government. This is mainly due to Rib-Hadda's constant pleas for military assistance from Akhenaten. They also deal with the conquest of neighboring city-states by the Hapiru.

It appears Egyptian contact peaked during the 19th dynasty, only to decline during the 20th and 21st dynasties.[citation needed]

Although the archaeological evidence seems to indicate a brief resurgence during the 22nd and 23rd dynasties, it is clear after the Third Intermediate Period the Egyptians started favoring Tyre and Sidon instead of Byblos.[3]

Archaeological evidence at Byblos, dating back to around 1200 BC, shows existence of a Phoenician alphabetic script of twenty-two characters; an important example of this script is the sarcophagus of king Ahiram. The use of the alphabet was spread by Phoenician merchants through their maritime trade into parts of North Africa and Europe. One of the most important monuments of this period is the temple of Resheph, a Canaanite war god, but this had fallen into ruins by the time of Alexander.

The Medieval Church of St. John in Byblos, Lebanon
Traditional lebanese house overlooking the Mediterranean sea, Byblos.

In the Assyrian period, Sibittibaal of Byblos became tributary to Tiglath-pileser III in 738 BC, and in 701 BC, when Sennacherib conquered all Phoenicia, the king of Byblos was Urumilki. Byblos was also subject to Assyrian kings Esarhaddon (r.681-669 BCE) and Ashurbanipal (r.668-627 BCE), under its own kings Milkiasaph and Yehawmelek.

In the Persian period (538-332 BC), Byblos was the fourth of four Phoenician vassal kingdoms established by the Persians; the first three being Sidon, Tyre, and Arwad.

Hellenistic rule came with the arrival of Alexander the Great in the area in 332 BC. Coinage was in use, and there is abundant evidence of continued trade with other Mediterranean countries.

Terracotta jug from Byblos (now in the Louvre), Late Bronze Age (1600-1200 BC)

During the Greco-Roman period, the temple of Resheph was elaborately rebuilt, and the city, though smaller than its neighbours such as Tyre and Sidon, was a center for the cult of Adonis. In the 3rd century, a small but impressive theater was constructed. With the rise of Christianity, a bishop's seat was established in Byblos, and the town grew rapidly. Although a Persian colony is known to have been established in the region following the Moslem conquest of 636, there is little archaeological evidence for it. Trade with Europe effectively dried up, and it was not until the coming of the First Crusade in 1098 that prosperity returned to Byblos, known then as Giblet.

Byblos, under the name of Gibelet or Giblet, was an important military base in the crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem in the 11th and 12th century, and the remains of its crusader castle are among the most impressive architectural structures now visible at its center. The town was taken by Saladin in 1187, re-taken by the Crusaders, and eventually conquered by Baibars in 1266. Its fortifications were subsequently restored. From 1516 until 1918, the town and the whole region were part of the Ottoman Empire. Byblos and all of Lebanon was placed under French Mandate from 1920 until 1943 when Lebanon achieved independence.

Education

Byblos houses the professional campus of the Lebanese American University. The Byblos Campus is the home of the professional schools including the Medical School, the Engineering School, the Pharmacy School, in addition to the School of Arts and Sciences and the School of Business. The Campus is located on the hill above Byblos and overlooks in City and its port.

Tourism

See also: Byblos travel guide from Wikitravel

Byblos is re-emerging as an upscale touristic hub[4] 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.[5]

Crusader Fort
Byblos Historic Quarter
  • 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

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 1700', 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.

Threats to Byblos

The 2006 Lebanon War negatively affected this ancient site by covering the harbor and town walls with an oil slick.[6]

Today

Today, Byblos (Jbeil) is a modern city. It remains one of Lebanon's biggest tourist attractions, mainly because of its rich history and scenic mountains overlooking the Mediterranean. Most of the people of Byblos are Maronite Catholics. There are also some Shi'a Muslims, whose ancestors escaped expulsion by the Seljuk Turks in the Middle Ages. (The city of Bint Jbeil ("daughter of Jbeil") in southern Lebanon was founded by those displaced Shi'a. Byblos has three representatives in the Parliament of Lebanon: two Maronites and one Shi'a.[7]

Bibliography

  • Nina Jidéjian, Byblos through the ages, Dar al Machreq, Beyrouth, 1968
  • Jean-Pierre Thiollet, Je m'appelle Byblos, H & D, Paris, 2005 (ISBN 2-914266-04-9)

International relations

Twin towns – Sister cities

Byblos is twinned with:

See also

References

External links


Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Asia : Middle East : Lebanon : Byblos
Contents

Byblos بيبلوس, also known by its Arabic name of Jbeil جبَيل, is an ancient phoenician city located about 35 Kilometers (23 miles) north of the capital Beirut in modern day Lebanon. The city has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Understand

Byblos is a true microcosm of the civilizations that have populated Lebanon over the centuries. 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. A visit to Byblos is a chance to walk through the annals of Lebanese history and experience firsthand the diverse cultures that have made this area a mosaic of civilizations. Byblos is not simply a picturesque seaside town, but has a history that has been closely tied to the Mediterranean for millennia

  • The Crusader Castle. 12th century castle and enviros. A must-see in Byblos 6000 LL.  edit
  • Kings Tomb.  edit
  • Tower Temple.  edit
  • NE Gate.  edit

Buy

The old city of Byblos shelters a souk (market in Arabic) extremely popular for its souvenirs and antiques.

  • Tower Temple.  edit

Eat

Byblos Fishing Club. This restaurant is located on the Mediterranean Sea. It's the perfect place to have a great lunch or romantic dinner. Decorating the walls are pictures of many international personalities that have visited the restaurant, including Brigitte Bardot, Jaques Chirac, Marlon Brando, Frank Sinatra, and Fraga Iribarne.

While this restaurant is written up in many travel guides, it is long past its prime. Be warned that the food is only average, and very, very expensive. If ordering the fresh fish, make sure you ask how much is costs upfront.

e.This restaurant is located in the old souk area. They have both a French and Italian Menu. They serve excellent Lebanese wines, and the Italian food is authentic and tasty.

Sleep

To the North of Byblos Harbour, overlooking the beach there is a great hotel called Hotel Ahiram. Walking distance to everything.

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Bible wiki

Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From BibleWiki

A titular see of Phoenicia. Byblos is the Greek name of Gebal "The Mountain", one of the oldest cities in Phoenicia Prima, quoted in an Egyptian inscription as early as 1550 B.C. Its inhabitants were skilled in stone and wood-carving (III Kings, v, 18) and in shipbuilding (Ezech., xxvii, 9). It was governed by kings, the last of whom was dethroned by Pompey. It is celebrated chiefly for its temple of Adonis, or Thammouz, whose voluptuous worship spread thence over Greece and Italy. It was the native place of Philo, a Greek historian and grammarian. As a Christian see it was suffragan to Tyre and according to one tradition, its first bishop was John Mark, the companion of St. Paul and St. Barnabas. Five other bishops are known before 553 (Lequien, Or. Chr., II, 821). The city was destroyed by an earthquake in 551 (Malalas, Chronogr., XVIII, P.G., XCVII, 704) and was in ruins as late as 570 (Pseudo-Antoninus, ed. Geyer, 159). The Crusaders took it in 1104; it then had a Greek bishop, but he was obliged to yield his see to a Latin successor, and from 1130 to 1500 about twenty Latin bishops are known (Lequien, Or. Chr., III, 1177; Eubel, Hier. Cath., I, 139; II, 119). Many Latin bishops are mentioned in "Revue Bénédictine", 1904, 98, sqq.; 1907, 63, sq. The modern Arabic name is Gebail. It is a mere village with about 1,000 inhabitants, almost all Christians (650 Maronites). There are thirteen churches; three of them are very beautiful and trace their origin to the Crusades. There is also at Byblos a castle of the same time, likewise some ruins of temples of Adonis and Isis. Gebail is yet a diocese for the Orthodox Greeks. For the Catholic or Melkite Greeks, the title of Byblos is united with Beirut, and for the Maronites with that of Batroun (Botrys).

Portions of this entry are taken from The Catholic Encyclopedia, 1907.







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