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Byblos is largely believed to be the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world, having been settled more than seven thousand years ago. The name of the city means book, owing to its historical trade in printed material, which also once earned it the moniker "papyrus". It has been variously live in by the Eqyptians, Phoenicians, Greeks, Persians, Romans, Crusaders, Ottomans and French, to name but a few.

I took a tour to Byblos from Beirut for a day, which also took us to nearby Jounieh on the Lebanese Riviera. The previous day in Beirut had been chucking it down with rain, so it was a relief to get some sun up the coast, and refreshing to see the snow-topped peaks at the same time.

Byblos Harbour

Byblos harbour has a very quaint setting by the Mediterranean, with little cafes and boats bobbing about.

The famous La Perla Bar and fishing club at Byblos Harbour.

La Perla Bar, Byblos

Byblos Harbour

The harbour at Byblos as seen from La Perla Bar.

Looking down the coast of the Lebanese Riviera, with beaches in the foreground contrasting against the snow topped mountains in the distance.

Lebanese Riviera

View from Byblos to Beirut

Beirut itself is not far away, its skyline seen in the distance behind the restored traditional Lebanese house.

Roman ruins in Byblos, with the Crusader castle sitting behind.

Roman ruins in Byblos

Roman columns

Roman columns and the beautiful blue waters of the Mediterranean. I've really liked everywhere I've been around the Mediterranean, from Spain to Malta, Tunisia and Lebanon.

Byblos boasts its own mini Roman theatre, backed by the Mediterranean vista no less.

Mini Roman theatre

Crusader castle

The Crusader Fort of Byblos was built during the 12th and 13th centuries, and remains one of the most intact of the ruins in the city.

The fort even has its own step well, not unlike those which can be seen in India.

Step well

Church of St John

The Church of St John is still in use today, and is just near to the World Heritage Site ruins.

Finally, no tourist trap would be complete without a tourist market, and this one was just as pleasingly tacky as I'd expected.

Byblos tourist market

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Copyright © Ross Wattie 2011