Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 80 miles, approximately 2 hours on local roads. Walking up to 2 miles; steps and stairs at museum, walking and standing approximately 2 hours. Extent and duration of elective walking and other free time activities according to personal choice.
In the Terrace Café or on the Lido Deck in nice weather.
We will step off the ship, board a motorcoach, and set out on a field trip to Beirut via the coastal road. Upon arrival in the city center, we will see Martyrs’ Square, memorializing Lebanese nationalists executed under Ottoman rule during World War I. Much of the area was destroyed during subsequent warfare and the monument we see today was erected in 1960. Next, we will visit the National Museum. Damaged during the civil war and closed, it reopened in 1999. In addition to prehistoric artifacts, the collection features works from the Mamluk period as well as an overview of Lebanon’s pre-war history. A local expert will provide an introduction to highlights of the collection followed by time for independent exploration to see what interests each of us most.
At a local restaurant.
We will board the motorcoach and journey along the coastal road to Byblos, known as Jbail from the ancient Phoenician name, Gebal. Scholar estimate that it has been inhabited continuously for more than 7,000 years. It is said that the art of shipbuilding was first perfected here, which led to Phoenicians becoming “princes of the sea” as described in the book of Ezekiel. Today, it is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site. From the UNESCO inscription: “The ruins of many successive civilizations are found at Byblos, one of the oldest Phoenician cities. Inhabited since Neolithic times, it has been closely linked to the legends and history of the Mediterranean region for thousands of years. Byblos is also directly associated with the history and diffusion of the Phoenician alphabet. The origin of our contemporary alphabet was discovered in Byblos with the most ancient Phoenician inscription carved on the sarcophagus of Ahiram.” Ahiram was a king, c. 1000 BCE, whom some scholars suggest might be the biblical King Hiram. A local expert will provide background on structures we will see from the Bronze Age, Persian, Roman Byzantine, and Crusader eras, as well as medieval walled fortifications. On our return to Beirut, we will be able to see some breathtaking panoramas at the coastal city of Jounieh and the statue of Our Lady of Lebanon in Harissa. The 15-ton statue, nearly 30 feet (8.5 meters) tall, is bronze painted white. Returning to the ship, we will meet with our Group Leader for a port talk at the end of the afternoon.
Your choice of the Terrace Café or Marco Polo Restaurant.
At leisure. Enjoy activities aboard ship, spend time with fellow Road Scholars, and be sure to check the briefing memo/daily bulletin placed in our cabins with highlights for tomorrow. The ship will remain in port overnight.