Beirut History, Lebanon
Once known as the Paris of the Middle East, Beirut is the capital and the largest city of the country of Lebanon. It is strategically located almost midway the Lebanese coastline facing the Mediterranean. It has become the country’s major seaport where all businesses entering and leaving the city are anchored.
The city is also the seat of government and has been famous for its rich culture as evidenced by the numerous museums theatres and other sites for cultural activity. However, because of the destructive war, the blossom of the tourist hotspot that was Beirut was somehow dampened. With the current reconstruction and re-establishment of these famed buildings, the city has been slowly regaining its popularity.
While the history of Beirut dates as far as five thousand years ago, it first documented historical reference was written in the 14th century BC which is known as the cuneiform tablets of the Amarna letters. However, if history should be upheld, in 140 BC it was invaded by Diodotus Tryphon. After that, it was named the Laodicea in Phoenicia or the Laodicea in Canaan in honor of its conqueror the Seleucid Laodice.
Efforts to rebuild the city under the Hellenistic plan were initiated. In 64 BC, Agrippa conquered the city and renamed it after his daughter’s name Julia. This started the Romanizing of the city as evidenced by the large public buildings and monuments. When King Herod ascended to the throne of the dynasty the city became more enriched with the Roman culture and as well as the flourishing school of law in the city. From then on Beirut was passed on from one empire to another.
In 635, it was under the Arab regime where it became a major Mediterranean settlement always overshadowed by the city of Akka; it was under the Crusader’s rule in 1110 to 1291. Despite the rampage of the Crusaders during these times, the city remained under the rule of the Druze emirs. In fact Fakr ed-Din Maan II fortified it in time for the attacks of the Ottomans. However, the Ottomans were still able to capture it in 1763. When the clan of pashas captured Beirut in 1832 the city was transformed into a modern town. In fact, by then it had close links with Europe and the United States. This phenomenon persisted until its independence in 1943 with Lebanon becoming an official country.
The flourishing historical heritage of the city has been threatened in the past owing to the civil war. However, with the reconstruction efforts, its next rise is looming.
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