The most picturesque part of town, the tranquil harbor of Jbeil (Byblos) is nowadays mainly a fishing port. These lazy wooden boats rest by the calm quays that were once the ancient world’s most vibrant entrepôt, where not only valuable merchandise was exchanged, but also knowledge and ideas. It is from this harbor that a Phoenician invention, the linear alphabet, was exported to the rest of the world.
The significance of the port rose and fell in history depending on prevailing powers. In mediaeval times, when Byblos became one of the bases for Crusaders, the town known to them as Gibelet regained importance, which led to the construction of a protective wall that wrapped around the town and its port. Two fortified towers flanked at the entrance of the port and a heavy iron chain prevented unwanted ships from entering the harbor. Only the northern tower has survived.
Nowadays, local families and visitors flood the charming area around the port for a stroll and a drink or a meal at one of many popular open-air cafés and seafood restaurants, a nice way to end a day trip to Byblos.