Lebanon's Christian heritage can be traced back to the Old Testament. The famed Cedars of Lebanon are referred to numerous times in the Bible as symbols of beauty and strength. Moreover, Lebanese cedar wood was sent to Jerusalem for the construction of Solomon's Temple. Jesus and his disciples preached in the cities of Sour (Tyre) and Saida (Sidon), and Christianity was brought to Lebanon by the apostle St. Peter.
Lebanon is mentioned over 70 times in the Bible, and there are ancient Christian sites of interest scattered throughout the country. For example, the village of Qana, where it is believed Jesus performed the miracle of turning water into wine, is located in South Lebanon. In addition to the many Biblical sites in the South, the Qadisha Valley ("Holy Valley"), the seat of the Maronite Church, offers a wealth of hidden, rock-cut monasteries, grottoes, and sacred sites waiting to be explored. Visit the ancient ruins of Sour (Tyre), Baalbek, or other sites to discover traces of Lebanon's Byzantine/Orthodox heritage.
Lebanon's Muslim heritage can be traced to the 7th century A.D., when Islam was introduced to the region by conquering Muslim armies from the Arabian Peninsula. The two major Muslim dynasties following the prophet Muhammed, the Umayyads and the Abbasids, ushered in a rich period of Islamic art, architecture, learning, and culture, and this tradition continues to flourish today.
The ancient trading city of Aanjar is the best example of the flourishing 8th century Islamic civilization under the Umayyads. Or, visit Tripoli, which has many ancient mosques and madrassas, to explore Lebanon's vibrant Islamic culture.
There are numerous mosques and spiritual places from the Sunni, Shiite, and Druze Muslim traditions throughout the country. A visit to the great medieval mosques in Beirut, Tripoli, or Saida (Sidon) can give you a taste of the long Islamic tradition of the country.
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