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Past to Present

lebanon history
A woman walks past a building bearing bulletholes from the civil war and a large portrait of former Prime Mininster Rafik Hariri in Beirut /Photo The New York Times

Due to its location on the sea and its many ports, Lebanon has always been a mercantile region. Canaanites, Phoenicians, Romans and Byzantines traded the local products, among which the famous purple-dyed fabrics. For a long time Tyre was the most powerful city, founding colonies as far away as Carthage on the Tunisian coast.

In the 20th century Beirut became an important commercial and financial centre and was called the ‘Paris of the Levant’. The Civil War of 1975-1990 and Israeli bombings in the 1980s ravaged most of the city.