History. Food. Beauty.
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Not 1, not 2, but at least 17 civilizations
Lebanon sits at the crossroads between major civilizations. Greeks, Romans, Phoenicians, Egyptians, you name it!
Byblos is one of the cities I visited. It is said that traces of 17 civilizations were found on that single archeological site. 17 different people called that part of the world home. They built their dwellings on top of the previous inhabitants' homes and often used materials from the ruins they found. This makes for interesting findings and architecture.
The National Museum of Beirut is home to thousands of artefacts. Memories of times past. There's even a display of artefacts that bears the scars of the civil war.
The civil war. It may be Lebanon's most widely known piece of modern history. It has wreaked havoc in the country. Beirut, the capital city, still bears the scar of said war. Although this part of their history is still fresh, it's amazing to see new structures standing next to older, empty ones.
Lebanon will take your breath away
I've been in Beirut, Byblos, Annaya, the Jeita Grotto and Harîssa. And let me tell you that this country is breathtakingly beautiful. Photos don't do it justice.
The churches. The mountains. The architecture. The sea. The luxury cars. The people. Beauty touches everything without discrimination.
And there's almost something magical about the place.
If there's ever a reason for you to go, let it be food. The flavours were exquisite. Produce was fresh. The portions were plentiful. And the variety of dishes was impressive. The selection was quite healthy too.
Thanks to Nidal, our guide/driver, we had the opportunity to taste a variety of dishes. He even convinced us to drink arak--an anis-based spirit which turns milky white when mixed with water. Each meal was a feast fit for kings.
My suggestion is to let a local pick for you. You don't even need to be an adventurous eater. The options include meats (your usual chicken and beef), salads (fatouch, tabouleh, among others) and potatoes.
Lebanon is a gem of a country that has so much to offer.
It really stole my heart.