The city of Gubla is said to be the first city in the world in Greek legend. Founded as a settlement at some point around 5000 BC, Byblos was originally home to a small Neolithic fishing community. The first signs of a town appeared in the third millennium BC. By the beginning of the Early Bronze Age in 3000 BC, it was a prosperous Canaanite city with one of the most important export, the cedar trees of Lebanon to Egypt in exchange for papyrus, ivory, ebony and gold, making it one of the most important trading centers on the coast with close ties to the fourth dynasty Egypt. Egyptian influence can be seen in its art and its religion. Trade goods from as early as Egypt’s 2nd dynasty have been found there.
Winter and spring long since passed, as cold wind, rain and frost now belong in the past, Lebanon’s starts brewing for a season of festivals taking place all over the country. Darkness thankfully no longer descends, as fast as long hot summer days arrive at long last. All around the country there is a festive atmosphere. This land becomes all flickers of light in warm weather and we know that music will fill its air from north to south, enchanting the spectators from one performance to the other.
Funeral rites were one of the major types of religious cultic activity among the Phoenicians. It appears that burial of an intact body was the preferred method for dealing with the dead, though some examples of cremation have also been found. The wealthiest Phoenicians and members of royal families received elaborately decorated stone sarcophagi, which were placed in tombs cut directly out of rock. The bodies were typically given objects from their lives to accompany them: coins, food, cosmetics, toiletries, figurines, and so forth. The inclusion of both ritual and practical objects is often cited as evidence of belief in some sort of afterlife, possibly one in which the deceased could make use of these objects. This may be a case where the funeral rites of Egypt influenced the religious beliefs of the Phoenicians as for a long time.
It is said that Adonis was born of the illicit union between King Theias of Smyrna and his daughter Myrrha at Byblos. Urged on by Aphrodite herself, the goddess of beauty, love and sexual desire, who had been offended when King Theias forgot to make a sacrifice for her, Myrrha had made unsuccessful amorous advances towards her father. One night, she managed to lure him out into the open and there under cover of darkness she laid with him. As dawn broke, Theias discovered to his utter disgust the deception of his daughter and with sword in hand chased her into the wild, wanting to punish her.
Gebal, Byblos, Jbeil, three names for one place, encapsulating a historical unity, dating from the dawn of time and still evocative. This picturesque town raised above the sea that breaks onto its shores, with its temples shining with the first sunlight like guardians on its slight hill, narrates humbly the story of mankind.
Lebanon has 4 of the worlds oldest cities, dating as far back as 5000BC:
Tyre: 2750 BC
Beirut: 3000 BC
Sidon: 4000 BC
Byblos: 5000 BC
And as Martin Luther King once said “we are not makers of history. We are made by history.”