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Phoenicia: A Legacy of Maritime Power, Trade, and Winemaking

Phoenicia is the ancient civilization whose legacy still runs in the veins of the Lebanese people. The Phoenicians were a great maritime people who founded their empire in 3200 BC on the east shores of the Mediterranean Sea and flourished in their coastal cities. They were sailors known for their mighty ships adorned with horses’ heads in honor of their god of the sea, Yamm.

The island city of Tyre and the city of Sidon were the most powerful and glamorous of all, while Baalbek and Jbeil were more like religious cores. The Phoenicians crossed the seas and traded copper, silver, gold and beautiful hand-crafted faience, and especially the purple dye, Urjouwan, that they extracted from the Murex shell and used to color luxury fabrics that kings and princes ardently desired to wear. The Urjouwan owned them the name of “the purple people”.

Phoenician’s wine is another success story. They spread not only the first alphabet across the world but also their knowledge of winemaking, that still goes on from generation to generation until today.