Try to capture the sun-soaked skin and those visionary sparkles of the sea, which exist only between blinks. Some places you discover, somehow stay with you long after you’ve left. Places that seem to have lost their notion of time, where life seems to march to a different rhythm, a much mellower one.
The Phoenicians regularly sailed across and up the Atlantic to harvest tin from Europe at Cornwall but, to the Greeks, Europe was a dark continent (in the same way that 19th and early 20th century CE Europeans would later view Africa).
Underdeveloped infrastructure, overgrown vegetation and the sea overlooked by palm trees, as Banana grooves run for miles along the coast, act as a thick green barrier between the blue Mediterranean and the pot holed roadway running from Sidon to Tyre. The name of the city means, rock after the rocky formation on which the town was originally built.
The Cippi of Melqart are a pair of ornamental pillars with engravings found by the Knights of St. John on the Island of Malta in the village of Marsaxlloc, they are considered to be from the 2nd century BCE. It is in this village that the Phoenicians reputedly landed in the 9th CE BC and set up trading posts. In the temple of Tas-Silg, the Cippi were unearthed, one cippus being gifted to Louis XVI by the grand master of the knights of St. John in 1782. This cippus now sits in the Louvre and the other in the National museum of archaeology in Valetta.
In Lebanon there is a heritage so rich in history and an influence that pervades through the ancient Mediterranean basin. The mysterious nature of this time makes myth and legend the ancient’s form’s history. The mythological assimilation of ancient Gods and Goddesses creates a weave compounded by time, mystery and interpretation. In this way a beginning can be found in a seed or a stone and the worship of the mythological Astarte, the queen of heaven and her son, Baal.
Tyre is a fabled place where monumental ruins recall as they change character with the daylight, the grandiose architecture and the vision, which its roman conquers, acquired from the orient. It evokes in equal measure the splendors of Phoenician times and those of Rome and Byzantium.
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.”