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Wednesday 26th November
Lebanon Facts
The Arabic name for Lebanon is Lubnan which means white - the colour of the Lebanese snow-covered mountains.

Byblos, one of the world's oldest cities, has been inhabited since Neolithic times.

Tyre is thought to be one of the oldest urban areas in the world.

Phoenician cities included Byblos, Baalbek and Tyre. These ancient cities are inscribed on the World Heritage List.

Phoenicians were seafarers and traders. They used the North Star as a point of reference for navigation.

The Phoenicians were famous for producing glass, purple dye and cedar wood.

Purple dye was very expensive as it took many shellfish (murex) to produce a small amount of dye.

Salt, evaporated from sea water, was used by the Phoenicians to preserve tuna which they sold around the Mediterranean.

The Phoenicians colonised the Aegean Islands, Cyprus , Rhodes, Sardinia, Sicily and Carthage (Tunisia).

It is known that the Phoenicians traded as far away as Spain.

The Phoenician alphabet, which consisted of twenty-two consonants, provided the foundation of the alphabet used today.

The famous Cedars of Lebanon were valued as building materials in the ancient world.

Solomon's temple and palace were built using Lebanon's cedar trees.

Jezebel, the wife of King Ahab of Israel, was a Princess of Sidon who became the Queen of Israel.

The philosopher and mathematician, Zeno of Sidon (around 150 BC-70 BC), was born in the Phoenician city of Sidon.

One of the most important ancient Roman law schools was founded in Berytus.

During the Islamic invasion in the early seventh century, the Christian sect that became the Maronite Church took refuge in the mountains.

Lebanon was part of the Ottoman Empire for four hundred years.

In the middle of the nineteenth century many Lebanese people began to move to the USA.

During the Lebanese civil war, towards the end of the twentieth century, Iranian supported Shiite groups in Lebanon held a number of western hostages including John McCarthy, Jackie Mann and Terry Waite.

In February 2005 Rafiq Hariri, a former prime minister of Lebanon, and at least eight other people were killed in a car bomb explosion.

Fighting broke out in the summer of 2006 between Lebanon's Hezbollah group and Israel. The fighting, which lasted thirty-four days, was sparked off by the capture of two Israeli soldiers.

Pierre Gemayel, a government minister, was assassinated in November 2006.

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