Lebanon is very interesting country. Paradise with Meditorinian Sea, crystal water, with high mountains, where in winter is many snow, despite the temperature in the lowlands. Also ancient monuments are making this country more interesting. I made the list with best attractions of that beautifull country.
The second largest city of Lebanon, which is so different from the capital of the country! Here you can feel the spirit of the Middle East and Islam. No wonder, because Tripoli is mostly inhabited by Muslims, who constitute 80% of the population. Therefore, e.g. in Tripolis it is difficult to get even alcohol.
Tripolis was still founded by the Phoenicians, constituting a powerful port that it is still with today. The city was conquered by the Crusaders, which is why you will find here the largest crusader fort in Lebanon, which is the local citadel. Picturesquely situated on a hill in the heart of the city, it provides excellent views of the surroundings! During the Ottoman times, the citadel was rebuilt, hence you can find here a lot of typical Ottoman details. Interestingly, there are supposedly underground tunnels here that were used by leaders to escape in the event of an enemy attack. Today, tunnels are reportedly mostly flooded. The admission ticket costs 5000 Lebanese pounds.
An absolute firecracker when it comes to Tripolis attractions is an abandoned train station! It’s a bit distant from the city center, so you will have to drive here, but you will easily get it by typing on the map Historic Railway Station Tripolis. It is located in the Al-Mina district, which is a part of the city inhabited mainly by Christians. The local railway station was once an extension of the famous Orient Express – a railway created at the end of the 19th century, which led from Paris to Istanbul! For many years of activity, it changed its routes, and at the beginning of the 20th century branches were created, which also led to Tripolis! This extension operated since 1911, but it suffered greatly in World War I. It hasn’t operated for years, but you can still see old trains left behind and halls full of street art! Free admission, hardly anyone here, so you won’t meet crowds here.
It was here that the powerful Jupiter Temple was built, which was to be up to 2x larger than the Parthenon on the Athenian Acropolis! Only 6 columns have survived to this day, but their diameter is 2.2 m, and their height is up to 22.9 m. Standing near them is incredibly tiny! To this day, the mystery is how these powerful columns were transported in ancient times. The temple of Jupiter comes from 60 C.E. and is built of the largest rock blocks ever machined by man! Legends speak of a race of giants who were to be descendants of angels and were able to build this temple. Calculated with the rest that to transport the local Stone of the South – the largest rock block, weighing 1170 tons, you need as much as 40,000. strong men!
Interestingly, in ancient times, every year priests and authorities of Rome traveled thousands of kilometers to get here on the day of the spring equinox! Then, at sunrise, the sun’s rays fell into the temple, illuminating the central part of Jupiter’s temple. Such a solar performance took place only once a year.
An absolute pearl of Lebanon’s nature and a place not to be missed! Jeita Grotto consists of 2 caves – the upper and lower, located only 18 km north of Beirut. When choosing here, do not forget to check if the caves are open on that day, especially in winter, as the caves are often closed for the winter break in the low season. In the upper cave we can see the world’s largest stalactite, over 8 meters! In addition, the largest cave in this cave reaches a height of 120 meters!
We visit the bottom cave by boat, because it is almost completely flooded. Interestingly, you can’t take photos there, and catching a photo sample can result in a high penalty. The guides themselves cannot explain the ban. They cite the decision of the Minister of Tourism. However, it used to be a munitions depot. Perhaps this is the reason for this strange policy.