This Is Why the Old Souk Market in Byblos, Lebanon Is Such a Tourist Hot Spot

Sunset, Byblos | © Karan Jain/ Flickr
Sunset, Byblos | © Karan Jain/ Flickr
Photo of Amani Sharif
Freelance Writer10 April 2017

One of the best tourist spots in Lebanon is Byblos, in Jbeil district, northeast of Beirut. Not only is it visited by travelers but it’s also part of the weekend plans of most locals. This Mediterranean city is always teeming with activity and the souk is never empty of people.

To understand why the souk is so important, one must also look back at the city’s history. Byblos was an important site for civilizations like the Phoenicians and the Greeks. Its historical remnants are made up of layers and layers of ruins accumulated from the Stone Age. Some of these sites include various ancient churches, a castle and a beautiful harbor. It’s no wonder then that Byblos was made a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1984.

Castle, Byblos | © Keith Yahl/ Flickr

The most important tourist spots of the bunch is the old souk. Built during the Ottoman reign, the market is a show of their economic spirit. It was made up of several khans (inns), shops and horse stables.

Shore, Byblos | © Youssef Chaker/ Flickr

Today, the souk is filled with small local shops that sell souvenirs, local crafts and various other merchandise. There are also cozy bars and cafes littered along the walk, waiting for you to go in. The scene shifts from day to night as during the day you may find tourists and school children on a field trip exploring. At night, however, the place changes and most bars look like a dream venue for a night out.

Sunset, Byblos | © Karan Jain/ Flickr

Jbeil in general is always a fun place to visit, as it is home to the Lebanese American University and a lot of national events. For example the city has been a top contender year after year for the best Christmas tree in Lebanon. It is also relatively small and worth a walk around. Discover the various alleyways and ancient sites as this is one place you’ll never get enough of.

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