The archaeological site of the ancient city of Byblos is located in Lebanon, on the Mediterranean coast, 40 kilometers from Beirut. Byblos (Arabic name Jebel) claims to be the oldest city on the planet, which has remained continuously populated from its founding to the present day. Already in 8000 BC, during the Neolithic, there was a small fishing settlement here, in 5000 BC, a city was founded on the site of the village by the Phoenicians, whose original name was Gebal. By the III millennium BC, the city became the largest shopping center, the main source of prosperity of which was the sale of wood, especially Lebanese cedar, and olive oil. These products were in great demand in Egypt and in the Mediterranean countries. Gold and alabaster, linen and papyrus scrolls were brought to Byblos from Egypt. In 2150 BC, the city was captured by the Amorites (desert nomads) and burned, but as soon as the territory was conquered, the Amorites rebuilt the city and resumed trade relations with Egypt. In the XII century BC, the city was called Byblos, which means papyrus in Greek. It was in Byblos in the VIII century BC that one of the first alphabetic scripts in the world arose - the biblical pseudo-hieroglyphic script, which later became the prototype of the Greek and Latin alphabets. One of the oldest inscriptions using this alphabet was engraved on the sarcophagus of the biblical king Ahiram (currently kept in the National Museum of Beirut). In the 1st millennium BC, the city was under the rule of the Assyrians, Babylonians and Persians. The Persians made Byblos one of their outposts in the eastern Mediterranean. In 333 BC, the city was conquered by Alexander the Great and quickly adopted the culture, language and customs of the Greeks, and graceful Hellenic temples appeared on the site of ancient sanctuaries. From 64 BC until 395 BC, Byblos was ruled by the Romans, pompous temples, baths, public buildings appeared in the city, roads were built. In the years 395-637 the city was under the rule of Byzantium, in the years 637-1104 - under the rule of the Arabs, from 1105 the Crusaders ruled in Byblos, leaving a medieval fortress and church of John the Baptist in memory of themselves. In 1266, the city was invaded by the Mamluks led by Sultan Beibars, and after 200 years came under the control of the Ottoman Empire. The once rich and prosperous Byblos, gradually losing its power, turned into an ordinary fishing town. In 1860, on the territory of the ancient city of Byblos, the French historian Ernest Renan carried out archaeological excavations that amazed historians and archaeologists around the world with their results. Over its long history, the city has "accumulated" many archaeological and historical sites dating back to different eras and cultures. On the territory of Byblos are the ruins of the first settlements of the Neolithic era, the ancient Phoenician temple of the Obelisks, nine royal tombs in the form of vertical mines carved into rock (II millennium BC), an Egyptian temple and Persian fortifications, Hellenic and Roman temples, an amphitheater and nymph Roman roads and Byzantine churches, a crusader castle of the XII century, as well as the Church of John the Baptist, built in the XII century, and the medieval city of the Ottoman period. In 1984, the ancient city of Byblos was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.