For over 7,000 years Byblos (or Jbeil) has been a bustling cultural crossroads, passing through the hands of the Phoenicians, the Assyrians, the Greeks, the Romans, the Persians, and the Crusaders. Established as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1984, the ruins of Byblos date back to 5,000 BC, making Byblos one of the world’s oldest, constantly inhabited cities. Pay an enriching visit to the archeological site and museum, then wander through Phoenician temples, a Crusader castle, and the medieval city walls.
There, in the archaeological site of Byblos, lie the remains of an ancient yet never lost civilization. Visit the Great Temple built in 2700 BC, the Temple of Baalat Gebal built in 2700 BC and the Temple of the Obelisks built around 1600 BC.
In the heart of the old town, adjacent to the port, stands the Byblos Castle, proud and defying the passage of time. Built by the crusaders in the 12th century, it is a must see during your visit to the city.
Medieval City Wall
Byblos is surrounded by ramparts running about 270 meters from east to west and 200 meters from north to south. While in the city, delight your senses with an excursion around these historic walls where the scent of jasmine and the sight of the old city will carry you back to enchanting medieval Byblos.
The Old Souks
Shopping takes on a whole new meaning in the old souks, where people have been treading across its narrow pebbled paths in search of textiles, pottery, glass, jewelry, and more for thousands of years. Today the souks feature artisan workshops, trendy boutiques, galleries, and many delightful cafes, bars, and restaurants with sidewalk terraces ideal for soaking up the lively ambiance. To try a hand at living like a local, barter with the souk merchants and enjoy the sweet satisfaction of walking away with a special deal or two.
St. John the Baptist Church
This medieval cathedral in the old city was built in 1116 by the crusaders. It was transformed into a stables during the Ottoman rule, but restored to its original function as a cathedral and given back to the Maronite Christians in the mid-1700’s as a gift from Prince Youssef Chehab, in return for helping him to capture the city.
Pepe’s Fishing Club
For a dose of contemporary legend, no visit to Byblos is complete without passing by Pepe’s Fishing Club. Have a look at Pepe’s collection of photos featuring fascinating celebrities who have visited Byblos throughout the 20th century, as well as a display of artifacts that were either discovered off the coast of Byblos or given to founder Pepe Abed from exotic destinations.
Byblos Fossil Museum
Located in the old souk, the Byblos Fossil Museum contains a rich fossil collection that includes fish, sharks, eels, shrimps, squids, rays, and other remarkable creatures from the depths of the Mediterranean Sea.
Byblos Wax Musuem
To see local history take shape, visit the wax museum and meet some of Byblos’ heroes, from the age of the Phoenicians to the 20th century.
Byblos International Festival
During the summer, Byblos hosts one of country’s most famous festivals, hosted in an outdoor amphitheater at the edge of the seaside ruins. International talents headline throughout the season. Contact the front desk to inquire about ticket bookings.