Silk Road Tours offers private tailor made journeys to Lebanon
The smallest country in continental Asia, Lebanon stands at the crossroads of the Middle East. Over the millennia different civilisations have passed through, each leaving their mark and making for an incredibly rich assortment of cultural sites. Ancient Byblos is one of the oldest continuously inhabited settlements in the world, with a history spanning at least 7000 years, whilst the Roman temples of Baalbek and the Umayyad city of Anjar are incredibly well-preserved. Vibrant and cosmopolitan Beirut, rebuilt after the civil war, is again taking its place as the ‘Paris of the East’, whereas something of old Lebanon can be found in the picturesque villages of the Qadisha Valley and the coastal town of Batroun. Alongside its man-made delights, Lebanon also offers beautiful scenery, and the Mount Lebanon range, home of the famous cedars, has excellent walking trails with spectacular views.
The complex mix of cultures and religions has made for a vibrant and friendly people with lively and welcoming outlook. Lebanese cuisine is rightly regarded as one of the world’s finest, and the wines of the Bekaa Valley are beginning to make a name for themselves. Lebanon is truly a country that enchants the visitor.
Tours that visit Lebanon
Lebanon’s capital Beirut, once known as ‘The Paris of The East’, is a vibrant and fascinating city where the modern and historical collide. Areas such as Badaro and Gemmayzeh contain an attractive historical core but are also known for their lively atmosphere being lined with chic restaurants, cafes and bars making them interesting places to explore during the day and soak up the atmosphere in the evening. Beirut’s National Museum contains an excellent collection of antiquities as does the nearby Robert Mouawad Museum. In 2015 Beirut was recognised as one of the New7Wonders Cities in the world and makes for an excellent place to stay to dip into Middle Eastern culture and life.
Located some 40kms north of Beirut claims to be one of the oldest inhabited settlements in the world with continuous habitation traceable back at least to 5000BC. The UNESCO listed World Heritage site is an archaeologists dream with different layers of building work visible from just about all periods of antiquity with temples dating to 2700BC and 1600BC clearly visible alongside Roman and Crusader ruins. The town also has a lovely old souk which makes for a very pleasant wander and enchanting harbour lined with fish restaurants making it the perfect place to relax for dinner surrounded by pictures of Frank Sinatra and Marlon Brando who frequented Byblos in its heyday.
Some 90kms from Beirut the UNESCO listed Qadisha Valley winds for some 35kms and offers some of the most spectacular scenery in Lebanon offering fine walking trails. Carved over millennia by the River Qadisha the valley has long been seen as a place of security and refuge and as such is home to some of the oldest monastic communities in the world such as the Monastery of St Anthony of Qozhaya which is believed to have been founded in the 4th century. Close by stands The Forest of The Cedars of God which contains some of the oldest Cedars in Lebanon.