Lebanon

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The Republic of Lebanon is a small country (10,452 km2 or 4076 sq mi in area with 3.7 million inhabitants) within the Middle East region with its capital being Beirut. It has a long coastline on the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea and shares a long land border with its much larger neighbour Syria to the north and the east, a much shorter (and currently "hot") border with Israel to the south.

Population: 4,131,583 people
Area: 10,400 km2
Highest point: 3,088 m
Coastline: 225 km
Life expectancy: 75.46 years
GDP per capita: $16,000
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Points of Interest

  • Beach Beach
  • Business object Business object
  • Casino Casino
  • Civic property Civic property
  • Education Education
  • Entertainment Entertainment
  • Golf course Golf course
  • Green space Green space
  • Harbor Harbor
  • Historic site Historic site
  • Interesting place Interesting place
  • Medical Medical
  • Monument Monument
  • Museum Museum
  • Shopping Shopping
  • Skiing Skiing
  • Sports facility Sports facility
  • Theater Theater
  • Winery Winery

About Lebanon

History

Lebanon is a country with a long and rich history. Roman ruins are scattered about the country and are easily accessible. Byblos, Beirut, and Sidon are among the oldest continuously populated cities in the world. There are Roman baths in Beirut, as well as the Cardio Maximus - to name a few. Byblos is also rich in Roman ruins and for a small fee you can view them (they are located near the bazaar). There are a lot of ancient mosques, synagogues, and churches in Lebanon. Also be sure to visit the Place des Martyrs (Martyrs' Square) in Beirut, a statue erected in memory of the Lebanese nationalists who were hanged by the Ottomans for revolting during World War 1 (the statue is now riddled with bullet holes from the civil war, but is still beautiful).

Climate

Lebanon has a temperate Mediterranean climate, with hot, humid summers and cold, wet winters.

Summer is usually the most popular time for people to visit, as there is virtually no rain between June and August, and the temperatures ranges between about 20-30°C (68-86°F). However, there can be occasional heatwaves with the temperature rising, and generally, it can be very, very humid along the coast line during the summer months. It is somewhat dryer and somewhat cooler in the mountains, and many Lebanese tend to visit and vacation in the mountains during the summer if they wish to escape the heat and humidity of the coastline.

Autumn and spring are also good times to visit, with a bit more rain, but without the tourist crowds attracted in summer, and also with considerable less humidity.

Snow falls for a large part of winter in the mountain regions that form a large portion of the country, and there are numerous ski resorts. However, the coast is still relatively mild, with maximums rarely falling below 13°C (55°F), although it can fall much lower than that and has on many occasions.

Activities

Night-Life

The Lebanese people have had to adapt to the political turmoil. Lebanon is easily the party capital of the Middle East. Beirut features many different and distinct nightlife neighborhoods, such as Gemmayze district, mostly full of bars and restaurants, or the Monot Street which features nightclubs and bars. Lebanon is also known for it's open-air nightclubs such as Sky Bar, White, and Isis. Greater Beirut is a sleepless city, as the great majority of it open 24 hours a day.

Lebanese nightclubs are widely diverse, as one can find both the "oriental" and "occidental" style, and in some cases, a mix of both.

Lebanon also has a huge beach party scene having exquisite beaches and beach resorts such as Sporting Club, Oceana, Laguava or Edde Sands and Janna Sur Mer. However, these places are not cheap, and can be very expensive, especially for the budget traveler.

Hike

  • Lebanon Mountain Trail (LMT) - 350-plus km national hiking trail extending from Al Qobaiyat in the north to Marjaayoun in the south. The Trail is not well marked and it is recommended that you get a guide because you will get lost. The guides can be expensive but it is worth talking them down on price. If you do decide to go alone, the country side is populated and you are never very far from people. This is by far the best way to see wild Lebanon!

Ski

Lebanon has six ski resorts with groomed slopes, catering to skiers and snowboarders of all levels. Beyond the ski-able domains await you kilometers of cross-country skiing and snowshoeing trails waiting to be explored; Lebanon has something for everyone. Each of the ski resorts has a different flavor.

Wine-tasting

Lebanon is one of the oldest sites of wine production in the world and today enjoys a burgeoning industry producing award-winning wines for export throughout the world, mainly in the UK, Europe and the United States. Wine Tasting is an absolute must with any visit to Lebanon. Below are some wine producers in Lebanon for you to keep an eye out for: - - * Chateau Musar [15] - * Chateau Ksara [16] - * Chateau Kefraya [17] - * Domaine Wardy [18] - * Vin Héritage [19] - * Chateau Fakra [20] - * Domaine de Baal [21] - * Chateau Nakad [22] - * Massaya [23] - * Domaine des Tourelles [24] - * Clos Saint Thomas [25] - * Cave Kouroum [26] - * Clos de Cana [27] - * Nabise Mont Liban [28] - * Enotica - * Chateau Khoury [29] - * Couvent St. Sauveur

Food

Lebanon fosters exquisite cuisine ranging from a mezza of vegetarian dishes such as tabouleh, fattoush, and warak anab to delicious dips like hommos and moutabal.

Must haves include Lebanese barbeque such as shish tawouk (barbequed chicken) - usually consumed with garlic, lahm mishwe (barbequed meat), and kafta (barbequed seasoned minced meat).

A full meal at an Arabic restaurant can cost as little as 15 us dollars (22500 LL) depending on where you go, though more expensive options can also be found.

Lebanese "fast food" is also available as sandwiches offered in roadside shops, such as shawarma sandwiches (known in other countries as doner - or gyros in Greece). Shawarma, as opposed to doner is seasoned with tarator sauce based on sesame oil, vegetables and is rolled in Lebanese thin bread. One popular place to eat Lebanese "fast food" is at BarBar Restaurant in Hamra . Various barbequed meat sandwiches are also available, and even things such as lamb or chicken spleen, brains, lamb bone marrow or lamb testicles can be served as sandwiches.

Breakfast usually consists of manaeesh which looks like a folded pizza, most common toppings are zaatar (a mixture of thyme, olive oil sesame seeds), jebneh (cheese) and lahm bi ajin (minced meat). Some new trendy places such as "zaatar w zeit" and "Leil nhar" experiment with new toppings, such as "halloum and bacon". Both places stay open 24 hours a day and partygoers often go there for a bite at 4 in the morning.

Another traditional breakfast food is knefeh, a special kind of breaded cheese that is served with a simple syrup in a sesame seed bread. It is also served as dessert.

Lebanon is also very famous for its Arabic sweets which can be found at leading restaurants. The city of Tripoli, however, is THE city for Lebanese sweets. Many critics refer to it as the "Sweet Capital" of Lebanon, the Hallab sweets is the place to visit when making a trip to Tripoli.

If taking a trip to the Bekaa, the restaurants known as the El-Wadi restaurants in Zahle serve exquisite Lebanese food. In Beirut, Abd el-Wahab in the "Monot" area also serves excellent Lebanese food in a traditional setting.

International food chains such as KFC, McDonald's, Pizza Hut, Burger King or Domino's pizza and many other are widely spread and easily found across the country. French Patisseries and Bistro's such as Couqley, Chinese, Italian, American and Japanese cuisine are also widely spread and are found in virtually all of the country's malls. Foreign restaurants are concentrated mostly in Beirut, although they can be found in some of the other larger cities like Tripoli and in some of the more tourist friendly smaller cities like Byblos.

Cafes also exist virtually everywhere and as with foreign restaurants, foreign chains like Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, Costa, etc., are also concentrated more in Beirut.

Drinks

Lebanon's wines have an international reputation. Grapes have been grown since antiquity, and the vineyards, largely in the Bekaa Valley, produce the base wine for distillation into the national spirit Arak, which, like Ouzo, is flavoured with aniseed and becomes cloudy when diluted with water. Arak is the traditional accompniment to Meze.

But the grapes have also historically been used to make wine. This used to be predominantly white and sweet, but the soldiers and administrators that came to administer the French mandate after World War One created a demand for red wine, and large acreages were planted especially with the Cinsault grape. Over the last 20 years these have been supplemented with the most popular international varieties, such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay.

Wineries often offer wine tasting and are very welcoming. The highly individual, old fashioned, Chateau Musar, is based at Ghazir, 15 miles north of Beirut, and trucks in the grapes from Bekaa. In Bekaa itself, wineries include the large Kefraya, Ksara, the oldest winery of all, Massaya, a fashionable new producer in Tanail, and Nakad in Jdeita, which like Musar has stuck with an idiosyncratic old fashioned approach. Kefraya, in the West Bekaa region, also has a nice restaurant attached and the region itself is beautiful to pass through.

Shopping

Currency

The Lebanese currency is the Lebanese pound, abbreviated "LBP" or "Lebanese Lira" abbreviated "LL", which is the most common abbreviation. Its value is kept stable relative to the US dollar, with a value of about LL1,500 to US$1. Either Lebanese pounds or US dollars are accepted almost everywhere, and it is common to pay in dollars but receive change in pounds (in which case, make sure you don't get short-changed).

Bills used are LL1000, LL5000, LL10,000, LL20,000, LL50,000 and LL100,000. p.s: you may find two forms of LL1000 and they are both accepted.

Bills not used are LL1, LL5, LL10, LL25, LL50, LL100, LL250, LL500.

There are LL25, LL50, LL100, LL250 and LL500 coins. LL25, LL50 and LL100 coins are virtually never used.

Exchange rates

Correct as of November 2009:

Money transfer

You may transfer money from/to Lebanon through Western Union. For more information about locations offering Money transfers you may contact BOB Finance - Bank of Beirut Group on the number 1262 from inside Lebanon or +961-5-955262 from outside with 24/7 Customer Service Support

This article is based on Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike 3.0 Licensed text from the article Lebanon on Wikivoyage.

Cities in Lebanon

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Beirut is the capital city of Lebanon with a population of approximately 2.1 million people in its metropolitan area. The city is on a relatively small headland jutting into the east Mediterranean. It is by far the biggest city in Lebanon. Due to Lebanon's small size the capital has always held the status as ... (read more)

Interesting places:

  • Clock Tower
  • Mohammed Al Amin Mosque
  • Martyrs Square
  • Nejmeh Square
  • Parliament Building of Lebanon
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Jounieh is a city in Lebanon. It is closely associated with Beirut, the capital.

Interesting places:

  • Our Lady of Lebanon
  • Teleferique Gondola
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Beirut is the capital city of Lebanon with a population of approximately 2.1 million people in its metropolitan area. The city is on a relatively small headland jutting into the east Mediterranean. It is by far the biggest city in Lebanon. Due to Lebanon's small size the capital has always held the status as ... (read more)

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Jezzine is in South Lebanon.

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Byblos بيبلوس, also known by its Arabic name of Jbeil جبَيل, is an ancient phoenician city located about 35 Kilometers (23 miles) north of the capital Beirut in modern day Lebanon. The city has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Interesting places:

  • Byblos Castle
  • Roman Colonnades
  • Byblos Old Souk
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Interesting places:

  • Faraya Mzaar Kfardebian
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  • Cedars of God
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Tripoli is a city in northern Lebanon.

Interesting places:

  • Tripoli Stadium
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Points of Interest in Lebanon

Lebanon is a country rich in natural scenery from beautiful beaches to mountains and valleys. Lebanese people take pride that Lebanon is one of the few countries that gives you the opportunity to go skiing in the morning and going to the beach in the afternoon (although it is impossible to actually do that because of traffic). Keep in mind that this is only actually possible for a few days in the year, usually in the few days when winter shifts to spring and/or summer shifts to autumn

Beirut Downtown Visitors from all around get astonished by the beautiful downtown. At Place de l'Etoile, tourists can enjoy a delightful meal or a cup of coffee at the outdoor cafes. In addition to those, the capital provides other restaurants and hangouts that people of all ages can enjoy. There are many also many nightclubs, bars, cafes, and restaurants, catering to a diverse amount of styles and budgets.

Baalbeck Roman Temples in the city of Baalbeck are among the largest and most beautiful Roman ruins.

Al Bass Archaeological Site, Tyre, a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the largest and best preserved Roman archeological sites in the world. The site is made up of a huge Necropolis, a massive monumental arch leading to a Roman Road, alongside which there is an excellent example of an acqueduct as well as the largest and best preserved Roman Hippodrome found to date.

Jeita Grotto Jeita Grotto is nominated to be one of the new Seven Natural Wonders of the World. Jeita Grotto is the jewel of tourism in Lebanon offering to its visitors 2 fabulous grottoes. It is a source of attraction for whole the families wishing to discover a mysterious world in the heart of the earth. The “Touristic Site of Jeita” gathers all elements of nature such as stone, water, trees, flowers, air and animals in a venturous environment and with a touch of Lebanese cultural heritage. It is one of the most impressive and interesting natural sites in the world.

Beiteddin One of the most authentic Arabic architectural jewels is the palace of Beiteddine. This historic monument comprises two large courtyards: the “midane”, a vast rectangular place for visitors, and a smaller one for the royal private apartments, with a magnificent fountain in its centre.

Qadisha Valley (Holy Valley) Located in north Lebanon, the “Holy Valley” spreads from Bcharreh to the coast. Classified under UNESCO's world heritage, it is full of countless caves, chapels, and monasteries.

Byblos also known in Arabic as "Jbeil", is an ancient Phoenician city that had been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its touristic attractions include a medieval castle and a Roman amphitheater, as well as many seaside cafes and restaurants serving fresh seafood.

Anjar is a city in the Beqaa Valley with many local restaurants where you can enjoy the unique Lebanese cuisine. The city is home to the unique ruins of an 8th-century Umayyad city.

Clock Tower - Beirut

Byblos Castle - Byblos

Cedars of God - Bsharri

Our Lady of Lebanon - Jounieh

Tyre Hippodrome - Sour

Anjar Ruins - Anjar

Sidon Sea Castle - Sidon

Beiteddine Palace - Beit Al Dine

Monastery of Qozhaya - Ehden

Tripoli Stadium - Tripoli

Mohammed Al Amin Mosque - Beirut

Martyrs Square - Beirut

Nejmeh Square - Beirut

Parliament Building of Lebanon - Beirut

Pigeon Rocks - Beirut

Roman Colonnades - Byblos

Byblos Old Souk - Byblos

American University of Beirut - Beirut

Sanayeh Park - Beirut

Hamra Street - Beirut

panoramio Photos are copyrighted by their owners
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