Lebanon is a country in western Asia, located at the crossroads of the Mediterranean Basin and the Arabian hinterland. Its location has enabled its rich history, shaping a cultural identity of religious and ethnic diversity. In Lebanon, the earliest evidence of civilization spans back more than 7,000 years. The homeland of the Canaanites/Phoenicians encompassing their great coastal trading emporia traded globally with luxuries, which included cedarwood, spices and metals. Lebanon became part of the province of Syria, when Pompey the Great merged the region into the Roman Empire in 64 CE. The cities of the Levantine coast thrived, under the rule of Pax Romana, and the Romans built their biggest temple ever in the center of Baalbek. During the medieval period, Lebanon was a battleground between the Crusaders and Islam, and a vibrant mixing bowl of religions and cultures are reflected in their castles, churches, mosques and souks.