I toured Lebanon in the summer of 1999. Lebanon has a lot of interesting history, especially that of the Phoenicians. However, since cities such as Byblos are literally thousands of years old and continuously occupied, much of that historical legacy remains in use. That's why you'll note that many of the best pictures are of nature, not of structures.

Unfortunately, a lot of Lebanon's history is about city-states either fighting one another or gettting conquered. Tyre, originally, had something of an advantage since it was an island, but the Assyrians and Babylonians both made their ravages of the coastal cities in search of loot.

Today's Lebanon is largely the work of the colonial powers who wanted to divide a British protectorate (Jordan) from a French one (Lebanon). The resulting state put three or four different groups, Maronite Christians, Druze, Shiite Muslem, and Sunni Muslim, all into a single state which eventually got its independence along with a complex power-sharing arrangement. Since then, most of the wars have resulted from either insiders or outsiders trying to shift the balance of power between the groups. A temporary Palestinian within a state and Israeli invasion to oust it did not help matter.

When I visited (1999), Syria had invaded most recently and imposed its own peace of Lebanon while Israeli still occuppied part of South Lebanon. Men with machine guns (as in Vietnam) stood at every street corner, and the Lebanese army was overshadowed by its Syrian counterpart. It was an uneasy peace shattered by the assassination of its president and then yet another Israeli invasion aimed at destroying the Iranian backed Hizballah.

Hopefully, outsiders will stop playing factions in Lebanon and just let the Lebanese come to a lasting peace in this ancient country.

The Lebanese National Anthem

Latin Transliteration

Lilouatann Liloula
Lil a Lam,
Milou ay
Nizzaman Sayfouna
Oual Kalam,
Sahlouna Oualjabal -
Manbi Tonn Lirrijal
Kaoulouna Oual Amal
Fisabilil Ka mal.
Koullouna Lilouatann Lil Oula Lil Alam,

Oualfata Indasaoutil
Oua Tann
Ousdou gha
Bin Mata Saouarat Nalfitann
Charkouna Kalbouhou
Aba Dann Loubanane
Sanahou Rab Bouhou
Lima dal Azmane
Koullouna Lilouatann Lil Oula Lil Alam,

Barrouhru Dourratouchchar Kain Rildouhou
Birrouhou Malioul
Ismouhou Izzouhou
Moun Zou Kanal Joudoude
Majdouhu Arzouhou
Ramzouhou Lilkhouloude
Koullouna Lilouatann Lil Oula Lil Alam,


All of us! For our Country,
for our Flag and Glory!
Our valour and our writings
are the envy of the ages.
Our mountains and our valleys,
they bring forth stalwart men.

And to Perfection
all our efforts we devote.
All of us! For our Country,
for our Flag and Glory!

Our Elders and our children,
they await our Country's call,
And on the Day of Crisis
they are as Lions of the Jungle.

The heart of our East is ever Lebanon,
May God preserve her until end of time.
All of us! For our Country,
for our Flag and Glory!

The Gems of the East are her land and sea.
Throughout the world her good deeds
flow from pole to pole.
And her name is her glory since time began.
Immortality's Symbol--the Cedar--is her Pride.
All of us! For our Country,
for our Flag and Glory!

This is the American University of Beirut, a beautiful school.

Beirut is called "The Paris of the Middle East." I can
imagine a starving artist staying in this place.

Beirut is mountains shoved against ocean, so scenery is often spectacular.

These hotels are where slightly more affluent people stay.

This is the old Crusader castle at Sidon.

This is the Great Mosque in Sidon.

Lebanon is littered with ruins of many eras.

This UN base is supposed to be preventing trouble in South Lebanon.

This is Tyre, another Phoenician City with Roman ruins.

This is Tyre at sunset. It used to be an island.

This clock tower is a symbol of Tripoli, a northern city.

The Lion Tower was built by the Mamelukes.

Massive St. Giles fort dominates the Tripoli horizon.

The Crusaders were always short of manpower. Here, the
author tries to dodge one of their recruiters.

This is how Tripoli might look to a Crusader.

This is a very old picture. It shows a Phoenician teacher
trying to educate a learning-disabled student. His slate
says: "All work and no play, makes Hamad a dull boy."

Tyre WAS an island until Alexander the Great built a a causeway to it during his siege. Here the city surrendures to him. Why did he build the causeway? It's because he got TYRED of waiting! In fact, with the road. He could always RETYRE to the city. :/

These Roman ruins are at Byblos, another ex-Phoenician city.
It was in a little better condition back then.

Byblos also has its Crusader castle.

This is Byblos coastline and the beach beyond.

Notice how much this Crusader church resembles a fort.

This is one of many coastal beaches.

These two stones are a Beirut landmark.

On the darker side: Desperate people sometimes jump from here.

Here, the author is about to climb down to the sea.

This is the beach and the luxury hotels.

As the sun sets, it's good-bye to Lebanon.


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