For a different taste of history and a great time out, one city to visit is the ancient coastal town of Byblos, located some 37 Km beyond Beirut to the north. A true microcosm of the civilizations that have populated Lebanon over the centuries, Byblos, or Jbeil as it is know to Lebanese, is believed to be one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. This modern port city is built upon multiple layers of ruins, dating back to as early as the Stone Age and extending to the more recent Ottoman days. During the time of the Phoenicians the city was called Gebal however this name was changed by the Greeks to Byblos because it was through Gebal that Egyptian papyrus (known as bublos to the Greeks) was imported into Greece. Hence the English word Bible is derived from Byblos meaning "the (papyrus) book”. Byblos was a very important city in ancient times! As an important ally to the Egyptian Pharaohs of the time, it was a prosperous and rich city in the region. In fact, one of the first mentions of a boat in ancient Egyptian scriptures was “Byblos Boat” which used to bring timber all the way from ancient Phoenicia! A visit to Byblos is a chance to walk through the annals of Lebanese history and experience firsthand the diverse cultures that have made this area a mosaic of civilizations. Byblos is not simply a picturesque seaside town, but has a history that has been closely tied to the Mediterranean for millennia.