A quick guide on travelling Lebanon, and visiting beautiful preserved historic sites.
UNESCO site 1
This was our first time travelling to Lebanon. We landed into Beirut, the capital of Lebanon at around 4am. The first historical spot to visit was the Anjar ruins that date back to the 8th century. It takes about 1 1/2 hours to reach this place by car from the airport. It’s located close to the border of Syria.
It’s a safe place to explore, although the time we visited we could hear the war zone on the other side. We got there around 6am, with not 1 person in site. With its remnants still intact, you could still get a feel of what use to be a city.
UNESCO site 2
This area of Lebanon impressed me the most. If you intend to visit Lebanon, the Temple of Bacchus is a must. It sits in Balbaek, and is ample in scale, and honestly the structure looks more preserved than the acropolis citadel in Greece. The preservation of the site began in the 1990s following the end of the Lebanon civil war.
From the pictures below you can get a slight feel for scale.
The longest cave in the Middle East.
Another must, when planning to visit Lebanon is Jeita Grotto, hidden in the North side of Beirut, and glorified as the longest cave in the Middle East. It’s a natural cave that sculpted itself over time which stretches around 9km long.
There are 2 parts to the cave - upper and lower. The upper cave has the worlds largest stalactite (those things that look like dripping ice). We weren’t able to visit the lower section as it was closed due to high water levels.
What I love about ancient religious pilgrimages, they usually sit high up in the mountains, just like the Saint Charbel monastery based in Lebanon.
If you are travelling Lebanon, it is good to note that the streets are busy, however once you are out the capital, it is more peaceful to drive. There are many winding roads till you reach the top, located 1200m up in the mountains of Byblos. This place is serene, spiritual or not, this place gives you a feeling of your soul being cleansed.
Religions in harmony
Apart from the delicious food and energetic nightlife, what I loved about the country was the openness to all cultures and religions.
There was still so much we didn’t discover in this diverse city and we hope to return one day to this beautiful gem in the Middle East. If you are travelling Lebanon, or considering to visit Lebanon, we hope you involve the above as a part of your travel itinerary.