The Lebanon is not your average Middle Eastern country, though it
embodies aspects of them all. Today it is a melting pot of Sunni and Shia
Muslims, Palestinians, Druze, Maronite and Orthodox Christians, Syrian refugees
and wealthy Arabs from the Gulf, but beneath the vibrant surface it is possible
to discern the traces of an equally unique and rich past.
For thousands of years it was the Canaanite and then Phoenician cultures that flourished in this tiny sliver of land sandwiched between the Mediterranean and two large mountain ranges. This was the time when Astarte, Queen of Heaven, was worshipped as a goddess of fertility and sexuality, bringing abundance from the sea and nourishment from the land, and ensuring together with her consort Baal, that all things were in balance above and below. She herself was derived from the older Mesopotamian goddess Inanna and…
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