Byblos July 2018

About an hour north of Beirut is Byblos.  Byblos is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, believed to have been first occupied between 8,800 and 7,000 BC.  It was built as the first city in Phoenicia by Cronus.  In the middle of the 3rd century BC, Byblos was already an important … Continue reading Byblos July 2018

Anjar July 2018

The ancient ruins I have visited in the past were normally of Greek and Roman origin.  Rarely have I come across an Islamic one.  Not far from Baalbek is the Umayyad city of Anjar founded by Caliph Walid bin Abd Al Malik in the 8th century.  The Umayads were the first Muslim dynasty to pass … Continue reading Anjar July 2018

Baalbek July 2018

Baalbek is an ancient Phoenician city about 2 hours northeast of Beirut in the Beqaa Valley.  It was a religious center attracting thousands of pilgrims who worshipped the Phoenician sky-god Ba’al and his consort Astarte, the Queen of Heaven.  There was once a grand temple here dedicated to these two pagan gods which was later … Continue reading Baalbek July 2018

Beirut July 2018

This year, my summer holiday starts in Beirut, Lebanon, which used to be regarded “The Paris of the Middle East”.  Being one of the oldest cities in the world, I didn’t imagine it to be a metropolis complete with skyscrapers, new glass buildings, trendy restaurants etc.  The Central District area was completely rebuilt due to … Continue reading Beirut July 2018

Doha Oct 2017

We made a pit stop in Doha, Qatar on our way back from Africa.  Qatar Airways has very good connections from Asia to the different African countries.  We had two days to explore the city.  Of particular interest is the Museum of Islamic Art, designed by I.M. Pei, located on an artificial peninsula off the … Continue reading Doha Oct 2017

Kashan Apr 2016

Today we left Isfahan to begin our drive to Kashan.  On the way we stopped in Abyaneh Historical Village, one of the oldest villages in Iran.  All the buildings in the village have a reddish hue.  The women here typically cover themselves in a white scarf with colorful floral designs that is mid-waist in length … Continue reading Kashan Apr 2016