An "essence of Greece" will flood the town of Byblos, locally known as Jbeil, on the shores of the Mediterranean in Lebanon this June.
Byblos will host the Greek Festival of Lebanon, an event that is held for the first time in this country. For three days, starting on June 7, the Lebanese city will sample Greek music, food and dance.
"The Greek Festival of Lebanon is not only a festival. It is an experience for all the senses. Greek cuisine will meet the music and dance traditions of Greece...promising a unique experience for all visitors," said the organisers.
"This is the first time a large open air festival of this kind has been organised since the end of the civil war in 1975. We only had small-scale events in hotels or smaller venues, but nothing this big," George Eid, the festival's organiser and director of operations, told Athens-Macedonian News Agency (ANA). The help provided by Greece's ambassador to Lebanon Fragiskos Verros was crucial for the successful setup and management of the festival, Eid told ANA.
"Everything about this festival is authentic, it comes from the heart," says Eid, journalist and creator of 'Kalimera Men Beirut', which means "Good morning from Beirut", a documentary on Lebanon's Greek community. Eid is the grandson of a Greek refugee and has long historical ties with Greece through his lineage from the Greek island of Samos, as well as the city of Izmir on the Turkish coast.
Lebanon's Ministry of Tourism is sponsoring the festival in collaboration with the Greek embassy.
Jbeil has been declared a global monument of cultural heritage by UNESCO and is known for exporting cedar wood to the world from its port.