Lebanon has a heritage almost as old as the earliest evidence of mankind. Lebanon has an Arab culture colored by Western influences.
At different periods of its history, Lebanon has come under the domination of foreign rulers, including Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, Romans, and Ottomans. Despite foreign domination, Lebanon’s mountainous terrain has provided it with a certain protective isolation, enabling it to survive with an identity of its own.
Its proximity to the sea has ensured that throughout its history Lebanon has held an important position as a trading center. This tradition of commerce began with the Phoenicians and continued through many centuries.
Beirut is the capital of lebanon and its history dates back over 5,000 years. Under the city’s downtown area lie remnants of Ottoman, Mamluke, Crusader, Abbassid, Omayyad, Byzantine, Roman, Persian, Phoenician and Canaanite civilizations.
Baalbak, Lebanon’s greatest Roman treasure, can be counted among the wonders of the ancient world. The largest and most noble Roman temples ever built, they are also among the best preserved. Towering high above the Beqaa plain, their monumental proportions proclaimed the power and wealth of Imperial Rome.
The cedar forest, located in the North of lebanon, is mentioned in the Bible and other ancient texts and played a large role in the culture and religion in the Middle East. This symbolic national tree is currently protected, but open to visitors.
In ancient times, the cedars were used for roofs of temples, to construct tombs and other major buildings. The Ottomans destroyed quite a bit of the forest in the 19th century, and during World War II much of the wood was used for building railroads.