The old city of Byblos has a peculiar aspect. As much as the city is famed for its role in the Mediterranean, and in relation to the interior of the eastern Mediterranean through history, it does not have monumental architecture. In addition, the stones of its Roman buildings were recycled into the buildings of the following period. This fact gives the city an intimate spatial rendition, yet its feels of history survive throughout its narrow streets, houses and the market stores. The harbour of the city remains pristine, perhaps as it was when the first Phoenician ship sailed from it.
Historic Quarter and Souks
Near the entrance of the archeological site there is a small square commissioned by the Emir Youssef Chehab in the 18th century with a mosque and a church. To the west of the square there is a vaulted passage leading to the harbour, and to the East of it lay the old cobblestone souks, restored in the 1970’s. There you will find shops to buy souvenirs, local crafts, small bars and pubs as well as restaurants; and in the small square of the souk, you can stop at the tourist information center and the offices of the Byblos festival.
The Souk is open every day from 10:00 am to sunset. Some shops open until late evening, especially on weekends.
Visit a Fossil shop
In the Old souks of Byblos, many fossil shops sell an array of fossils. These can only be found in Haqel, a mountainous area 23 km away from Byblos, famous for its wide variety of fish fossils. The various fossil shop owners in the historical center of Byblos will gladly explain how they are formed and extracted.
Visit the Island
Rent a small fisherman’s boat and go for a small tour. You can dive or simply stop at the small island.
Approximately 9 km from Byblos, Amchit is known for its basketry and palm leaves production. Further inland don’t miss the town’s winding streets bordered by 19th-century silk merchant houses and very old churches, built with Roman remains.
Like all cities on the Lebanese coast, Byblos is known for its seafood. Close to Byblos, in the town of Amchit, the “Mwarra’a” dessert at “Forn al Sabaya” bakery is still made with traditional phyllo sheets filled with nuts and flavored with orange blossom water.
This room contains treasures from the private Louis Cardahi collection, including:
- Phoenician artifacts, such as a statuette of Ishtar-Aphrodite taking her ablution;
- Oil lamps and small glass vases;
- Lithographs by the famous archeologist Ernest Renan;
- Reproduction from the Louvre Museum: bust of Osorkon, stone of Yehawmilk, basalt lion of the Persian fortress.
Access to the museum is free of charge. Its hours of operation are Tuesday to Friday from 08:00 AM to 04:00 PM and Saturday to Sunday from 10:00 AM to 08:00 PM. The museum closes on Mondays and official holidays. Please refer to the following link: Umayyad Museum