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Lebanon: a small nation rich in history and archaeological riches

If we talk about Lebanon in the current imagination, people remember a place of war and instability, but today the country is a quiet destination with splendid archaeological sites and a thousand-year history. The civil war that destroyed the country lasted between 1975 and 1990. Today the country has been largely rebuilt, even the capital, Beirut which had been largely destroyed in the war years now has a modern appearance, a tremendous traffic and a relaxed lifestyle. The country continues to be an important banking center, in the past it was known as the Switzerland of the Middle East.

Cradle of one of the first civilizations in human history. Lebanon, is the ancient homeland of the Phoenicians, a population of sailors and merchants that in ancient times dominated the Mediterranean Sea. That of the Phoenicians was a mercantile civilization, made up of city states that had maritime trade as their main activity. One of the main aspects of a trip to Lebanon is archeology. In this small area there are ancient cities such as Byblos, Tyre and Sidon. Monumental Roman cities such as the splendid Baalbek, the ancient Heliopolis, in the Beqa Valley. Crusader castles such as in Tripoli, Byblos and Sidon. Archaeological remains from the Arab period such as those visible in the splendid Anjar in the Beqa Valley.

The country has always been a land of conquest, it was in fact in a strategic position among the main empires of the area. The archaeological remains reflect the past dominations, Egyptians, Persians, Macedonians, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs, Crusaders, Ottomans, etc. A visit to the splendid National Museum of Beirut allows you to get a picture of the rich history of this small nation.

The country is a mixture of races and religions, Lebanon is the most religiously diversified country in the entire Middle East. This aspect is of further interest to a traveler. The majority of the population professes the Muslim religion (65%) – there are Shiites, Sunnis and Druze – but a strong minority is Christian (35%), there are Maronite Catholics, Greek Orthodox, Melkite Catholics, Armenians etc … This difference of cultures can be seen in lifestyles, customs and gastronomy.

From the naturalistic point of view, in the mountains of Lebanon the last specimens of the majestic Cedars of Lebanon resist. They are millennial trees, which now a special program tries to replant in the mountains of the country. Already at the time of the Roman emperor Hadrian the problem of deforestation in the mountains of Lebanon was serious. In fact, Hadrian created an imperial forest reserve to preserve the cedars of Lebanon.

See all my photos on Shutterstock.

Typical Lebanese desserts. Author and Copyright Marco Ramerini
Typical Lebanese desserts. Author and Copyright Marco Ramerini
The National Museum of Beirut, Lebanon. Author and Copyright Marco Ramerini
The National Museum of Beirut, Lebanon. Author and Copyright Marco Ramerini
The forest of the Cedars of God, Lebanon. Author and Copyright Marco Ramerini
The forest of the Cedars of God, Lebanon. Author and Copyright Marco Ramerini
The entrance to Baalbek, Beqa Valley, Lebanon. Author and Copyright Marco Ramerini
The entrance to Baalbek, Beqa Valley, Lebanon. Author and Copyright Marco Ramerini
The marina of Biblo, Lebanon. Author and Copyright Marco Ramerini
The marina of Biblo, Lebanon. Author and Copyright Marco Ramerini

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