BEIRUT — The "Phoenician Museum" was inaugurated today in Jounieh’s old market area during a ceremony held at the municipality premises, the National News Agency reports.
Here’s what we know:
• The spectacle coincided with Lebanon’s second day of celebrating being the 35th member state of the “Expanded Partial Agreement on Cultural Paths of the Council of Europe.” The EPA was adopted in December 2010 by the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe to enable closer cooperation between states interested in the development of Cultural Routes, a program launched by the Council of Europe in 1987 with the objective of demonstrating how the heritage of the different countries and cultures of Europe contributes to a shared cultural heritage.
• In his speech at the inauguration, Tourism Minister Walid Nassar stressed that Lebanon would benefit greatly from being “the 35th member and the only non-European country in [the] Council of Europe,” as it was often overlooked by tour operators in Europe, even when it came to Phoenician-related journeys. “Previously, all the tour operators in Europe who were working on plans to walk the four paths: Phoenician, Umayyad, wine and olive tree, used to arrive in Cyprus, Greece and Turkey without continuing to Lebanon,” Nassar said. “Today, Lebanon's affiliation with this Council has given more scope for these international organizers to contract with Lebanese tour operators so that our country becomes part of these trips.”
• The inauguration was held under the patronage of President Michel Aoun, represented by Nassar, in presence of Culture Minister Mohamed Al-Mortada, and Agriculture Minister Abbas El-Hajj Hassan, represented by the Agriculture Ministry Director General Louis Lahoud, alongside a crowd of dignitaries from the region.
• Nassar also took the opportunity to reiterate his Ministry’s plans to launch sustainable tourism for the city and district of Batroun, similar to Jbeil.