Beirut & Cities

& Arwad, Arados Island, Zahle, Tripoli








 While  Byblos, Sidon and Tyre received most of the fanfare in the early days of the Phoenicians, other cities rose to prominence among them as time went on, including Beirut, Arwad, Tripoli, Zahlé and Baalbek.

Chief among these was Beirut, which held a key position halfway between Byblos and Sidon.  It gained great importance in Roman times, and has continued ever since to play a prominent role.  Carrying on the Phoenician tradition, it was regarded as a major financial center in the Mediterranean area until the debilitating fighting of 1975-1990.  Once called the Paris of the Middle East, it is gradually regaining its full stature and today is the capital city of Lebanon.

In Beirut the rebuilding after those years of destruction is very much under way.  Much of the city is fresh and new.  Unfortunately, part of the picturesque old city has been replaced in the process.  The good news from all this is that some ancient relics from the early days of Beirut have been unearthed in the downtown area and are likely now to be preserved.

The founding of Beirut is experienced in Chapter 9 of Phoenician Secrets: Exploring the Ancient Mediterranean, along with maps showing the original settlement.

About 86 miles north of Beirut, the island-city of Arwad also rose to prominence early in Phoenician history when it served as a major shipping port. After the Phoenician golden years, however, that commerce shifted from the island to the coast during the Roman era.  The nearest small town on the coastline was called Antaradus then, and is today known as Tartous, the second-largest seaport in Syria.

The island of Arwad, meanwhile, has become a quiet fishing port and vacation spot.  But the air of its past glory is still there.  A Phoenician wall is visible and other traces of the ancient empire must be there as well.  Permits for archaeological expeditions are apparently hard to obtain, but hopefully one day the island will be explored again, giving us another view into the history of these times.

Tripoli was a small outpost until three other Phoenician cities contributed people and resources to created this bustling city between Byblos and Arwad. It has grown to become the second-largest of Lebanon's cities, after Beirut.

The town of Zahlé in the Bekaa Valley is located on the route from Beirut to Damascus, making it a significant location for trade in this area. It is also reknowned for its many and varied restaurants and production of wines.


Zahlé     [click to enlarge]

Farther north in the Bekaa Valley is Baalbek,  famous for its huge Roman temple dedicated to Jupiter -- much of which is still standing. It has become tradtional to hold music festivals there which have become very popular and draw top performers from around the world.

Contents of This Site



Ancient Ships and Sea Trade

Carthage, Hannibal

Punic Wars, Peace

Ancient Mediterranean

Egypt, Pyramids & Cedar

Sea Peoples

The Minoans

Solomon's Temple

Templars in Lebanon



Phoenicians Images

Cedars of Lebanon

Byblos, Sidon and Tyre



Adonis Legend

Aphrodite Legend

Isis and Osiris Legend

Europa Legend

Elissa Legend

Phoenicians Home Page



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