LIBAN – LEBANON – لبنان

Arheoloske iskopine u Biblosu-Excavations in Byblos

Arheoloske iskopine u Biblosu-Excavations in Byblos

Bahusov hram u Balbeku-The Temple of Bacchus in Baalbek

Bahusov hram u Balbeku-The Temple of Bacchus in Baalbek

Bazilika Svetog Pavla-St. Paul's Basilica

Bazilika Svetog Pavla-St. Paul’s Basilica

Crkva Sv. Jovana u Biblosu iz vremena Krstaskih ratova-Crusader Church of St. John in Byblos

Crkva Sv. Jovana u Biblosu iz vremena Krstaskih ratova-Crusader Church of St. John in Byblos

Gospa od Libana u Harisi-Our Lady of Lebanon in Harrisa

Gospa od Libana u Harisi-Our Lady of Lebanon in Harrisa

Libanske zastave-Lebanese flags

Libanske zastave-Lebanese flags

Luka u Biblosu-Byblos Port

Luka u Biblosu-Byblos Port

Najzapadnija tacka Bejruta-Pigeons' Rock-Beirut's westernmost tip

Najzapadnija tacka Bejruta-Pigeons’ Rock-Beirut’s westernmost tip

Palata Vlade-The Government Palace or Grand Serail

Palata Vlade-The Government Palace or Grand Serail

Palme i snezni vrhovi-Palm trees and snow peaks

Palme i snezni vrhovi-Palm trees and snow peaks

Stari deo Bejruta-Old part of Beirut

Stari deo Bejruta-Old part of Beirut

Zgrada Parlamenta-Lebanese Parliament in Beirut

Zgrada Parlamenta-Lebanese Parliament in Beirut

Prema legendi, upravo ovde su stari Feničani izmislili novac i taj svoj izum pustili u svet. Ništa dobro on svetu nije doneo: i danas su se srećno mogla razmenjivati sva dobra kao nekada. A možda će tako i biti posle nekog velikog rata?
Liban je oduvek bio u središtu svih nesrećnih događanja, pa mu je i sudbina nekako slična našoj, srpskoj. Razaranja i građanski ratovi nikada ga nisu mimoilazili, ali je on svojom multietničkom i multikuturalnom snagom uvek svemu odolevao i uzdizao se iz ruševina. Ovde su svi ratovali: ulica sa ulicom, kuća sa susednom kućom. Ali islam i hrišćanstvo bili su jači od svih ratova, čak i onih koji su vođeni do istrebljenja. Ove religije su uvek preživljavale i ostavljale svoje brojne kulturne tragove na tim prostorima.
Čudesna prestonica Libana – Bejrut na svakom koraku odiše onom atmosferom, zbog koje su ga nazivali Parizom Bliskog istoka. Šezdesetih i sedamdesetih godina prošlog veka on je to zaista i bio, o čemu svedoče fotografije iz tog vremena na zidovima brojnih kafea i restorana u tipičnom francuskom stilu. Tu se mogu videti otmena gospoda u šetnji najpoznatijom avenijom Korniš; ona se pruža duž celog grada, koji je otvoren ka Sredozemnom moru. Uvek sam se divio kosmopolitskom šarmu Bejruta i sa nevericom posmatrao dugonoge lepotice koje u tri sata ujutru izlaze iz lokalne diskoteke i ulaze, na primer, u srebrni rols-rojs. Kao kontrast tom prizoru, pojavi se u to vreme poneki prodavac tipičnog okruglog i vazdušastog arapskog peciva, zvanog kaak, obešenog na biciklu. U obnovljenom modernom Bejrutu, izgrađenom u blistavom žutom kamenu koji krasi uređene trgove i spomenike novih i starih heroja, nalazi se i tradicionalna arapska pijaca, koju nazivaju souk, ali i poneka, totalno kontrastna ruševina, zaostala iz prethodnog rata.
Biblos je jedan od najstarijih gradova na svetu i nalazi se na približno četrdeset kilometara severno od Bejruta. Osnovan je pre osam hiljada godina. Deluje nestvarno izgubiti se u njegovim ruševinama, koje gledaju na Mediteran. Balbek je sigurno najvažnije arheološko nalazište u zemlji i, kao jedno od čuda starog sveta, imao je najveći značaj na Bliskom istoku u vreme Rimljana. Hramovi Jupitera, Baha i Venere vraćaju nas u tu drevnu civilizaciju i njenom punom sjaju na ovim prostorima. Tu su još i mitski gradovi Tir, Sidon, Tripoli i mnogi drugi, kao i dolina Beka koja je bila središte, kako biblijskih događanja iz Starog zaveta, tako i novih sukoba na granici sa Sirijom ili Izraelom. Sve to, sa visine od dve hiljade metara, posmatraju stoletna stabla kedrovih šuma, u čijoj je blizini poznati skijaški centar, odakle se može videti more.
Posle vekovnog uništavanja, kedar, kao simbol Libana na njegovoj zastavi, odoleva vremenu i ljudima, baš kao i zemlja čiji je on zaštitni znak, neuništiva i večna.

April 2001.
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According to legend it was here that the ancient Phoenicians invented money and from here launched it into the world. Money did not bring any good to the world: even today we could barter goods like in the good old times. Maybe that will happen after a big war?
Lebanon has always been in the epicentre of many unhappy events, so its destiny is similar to Serbia’s. Devastation and civil wars never bypassed Lebanon, but with its multi-ethnic and multicultural power it has always withstood everything and risen from the ashes. Everyone fought everyone here, a street with a neighbouring street, a household against a neighbouring household. But both Islam and Christianity were stronger than any war, even those wars leading to total annihilation. Both faiths survived leaving a lot of cultural heritage in this region.
The magical capital of Beirut exudes at every corner a peculiar charm and atmosphere due to which it has been called the Paris of the Middle East. In the 1960s and 1970s it really was like Paris, as documented by numerous photographs from that era, decorating the walls of many a café and restaurant in the typical French style. Here you can see refined gentlemen and ladies strolling down the most famous avenue – Corniche; it runs across the entire city which opens on to the Mediterranean. I was always delighted with the cosmopolitan charm of this city, as well as with the long legged beauties who, after leaving the local disco at 3am, could be seen entering a silver Rolls Royce. As a contrast to this, usually a seller of typical Arabic round puff pastry called kaak would appear, with his wares hanging from a bicycle. In modern day Beirut renewed and rebuilt in shiny yellow stone which has been used for city squares and monuments of heroes, old and new, you can find a traditional market called a souk, but also an occasional ruin of a building from one of the wars, standing in contrast to all this splendour.
Byblos is one of the most ancient cities in the world and is based around 40 kilometres north of Beirut. It was founded some 8000 years ago and getting lost in its ruins overlooking the Mediterranean feels surreal. Baalbek is for sure the most important archaeological site in the country, as well as one of the wonders of the Old World; it was the most important place in the Middle East during the Roman Empire. The temples of Jupiter, Bacchus and Venus bring back the full glory of the Roman Empire in this region. Also the mythical cities are here: Tyre, Sidon, Tripoli and many others, as well as the Beqaa Valley which was the centre of those Biblical events described in the Old Testament, as well as the more recent border clashes with Syria and Israel. Centuries old cedar trees perched at 2000 metres, near a famous ski resort from which you could also see the sea, stand above all these ancient cities.
The cedar tree exterminated by people and time for many centuries, resists them proudly, sitting on the Lebanese flag as a symbol and trademark of this country, which is indestructible and eternal, just like the tree itself.

April 2001

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