Friday, April 18, 2008


Beirut, was built on a rocky promontory, a site also occupied by prehistoric man. In ancient times it was overshadowed by more powerful neighbours, but when the city- states of Sidon began to decline in the first millennium B.C, Beirut acquired more influence. It was not until Romans times, when Beirut became a roman colony in about 15 B.C, that it became an important port and cultural centre.

Beirut was destroyed by a devastating earthquake in 551 A.D. a century later it was conquered by the Moslem Arabs and in 1109 it fell to the crusaders. The city remained in crusader hands until 1291, when it was taken by the Mamlukes. In 1516 the 400- year ottoman rule began. Later, in the 17th century, Beirut knew a period of great prosperity under the government of emir Fakhreddine II. Then with the break –up of the Ottoman Empire at the end of the World War I, the city became the capital of modern Lebanon. Beirut, with nearly a million inhabitants, remains the cultural and commercial centre of the country. Today the war- ruined city centre is being reconstructed under a 25-year project that envisages a new modern city that will also retain its familiar oriental flavour. Such landmarks as martyrs’ square, the souks and the parliament building, are part of the design, which covers 1.8 million square meters. In extensive archeological investigations, historical periods ranging from Canaanite (3,000- 1200 B.C) to ottoman (1516-1918 A.D) have been revealed.

Beirut, the capital of Lebanon, conveys a sense of life and energy that is immediately apparent. This dynamism is echoed by the Capital's geographical position: a great promontory jutting into the blue sea with dramatic mountains rising behind it. A city with a venerable past, 5000 years ago Beirut was a prosperous town on the Canaanite and Phoenician coast. Named Beroth, the city of wells, by the Phoenicians, it is one of the oldest settlements of man as evidenced by relics from prehistoric communities. Beirut entered the most glorious period of its ancient history when was occupied by Romans under the command of Emperor Pompey in 64 BC. In 15 BC it was named Colonia, Julia, Augusta, Felix, then Berythus and acquired the rights of a Roman city-state. What most contributed to its fame, however, was its School of Law which, under Septimus Severus (192-212 AD), excelled the schools of Constantinople and Athens and rivaled that of Rome. The school whose professors helped draft the famous Justinian Code.

No comments:

Naharnet Lebanon News

Marketing in Lebanon