Destination Lebanon, The Paris Of The Middle East

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Officially known as the Lebanese Republic is a sovereign state in Western Asia. It is bordered by Syria to the north and east and Israel to the south, whilst Cyprus is west across the Mediterranean Sea.

Lebanon’s location at the crossroads of the Mediterranean Basin and the Arabian hinterland facilitated its rich history and shaped a cultural identity of religious and ethnic diversity.

At just 10,452 km2 (4,036 sq. mi.), it is the smallest recognized country on the entire mainland Asian continent.

Lebanon is famous for its exquisite beauty, diversity, glamor, European flavor, and hospitable people. Its rich culture and history have placed it on the “must see” list of every world traveler. Lebanese cities are among the most famous names in ancient history and majestic ruins still stand today as a testimony to the greatness of people who lived in this land.

The nature of Lebanon makes it the only country in the Arab world that embraces four seasons yearly. No matter what the season, there is always something special to enjoy. In the winter season, ski resorts offer tourists slopes that are comparable to even the best resorts in Europe. In the summer, international festivals all over the country – in Baalbek, Byblos, Beiteddine, Batroun, and Jounieh – bring together Lebanese and foreign artists to perform in stunning archaeological and historical sites. These events have given Lebanon an enviable place on the cultural map of the Middle East.

Lebanon has it all!  Visitors to Lebanon enjoy outstanding service in world-class hotels and resorts, restaurants, casinos, theaters, cinemas, and nightclubs and luxury shopping centers along with advanced communication and transportation services. Lebanon also offers access to cutting-edge medical centers.

Lebanon’s diverse patchwork of Mediterranean-lapped coast, rugged alpine peaks, and green fertile valleys is packed into a parcel of land some 225km long and 46km wide – an area approximately the size of Cyprus or Connecticut. An ancient land, Lebanon features in the writings of Homer and in the Old Testament. Its cities were major outposts and seaports in Phoenician and Roman times, just two of the great civilizations that touched this important Middle Eastern crossroads.

The cosmopolitan flair of modern-day Beirut, the gastronomic renown of the country’s food and wine, and an educated and outward-looking population complement a country that is both traditional and progressive in outlook. For all the flavors of its storied past and rugged natural beauty, Lebanon is a well-kept tourist secret that begs exploration.

There are four main geographic regions in Lebanon, differentiated by topography and climate. From west to east, they include: the coastal plain, the Mount Lebanon Range, the Békaa Valley, and the Anti-Lebanon Range.

The Anti-Lebanon Range is a stretch of arid mountains that rise to the east of the Békaa Valley and form part of the country’s eastern border with Syria.

The Békaa Valley, known in ancient times as “the breadbasket” or “granary” of the Roman Empire, is still the country’s main agricultural region. Located on a high plateau between the country’s two mountain ranges, the river-fed Békaa supports the production of tomatoes, potatoes, wheat, olives, and grapes, even despite summers that are hot and dry.

Besides some of Lebanon’s best wineries (Ksara, Kefraya, Massaya), the Békaa’s major attraction is the ruins at Baalbek. Originating as a place of worship to Baal, the Phoenician Sun God, Baalbek was known in Greco-Roman times as the famous Heliopolis, or “City of the Sun.” Perhaps because of the region’s agricultural importance in feeding the inhabitants of the Roman Empire, some of the largest Roman temples ever constructed were erected at this site. The construction lasted over 200 years, and the well-preserved temples honor Jupiter, Bacchus, and Venus.

The lovely Lebanese coast is framed by the Mediterranean Sea to the west and the Mount Lebanon Range to the east, its temperate climate bringing in sunny, hot summers and cool, rainy winters. The daytime temperature in the summer, which averages 30°C (86°F), encourages people to head to the beach or to the higher, altitude-cooled mountain slopes. In the coastal cities of Saida (Sidon) and Jbail (Byblos), tourists can enjoy the rare opportunity to snorkel amongst long-submerged Phoenician ruins, while excellent hiking is a mere hour away in the Chouf region of the Mount Lebanon Range.

The Mount Lebanon Range includes numerous rivers that fizz with snowmelt, steep-walled gullies that shade grottoes once the hideout to those fleeing persecution, and also Lebanon’s highest summit, Qornet Es-Saouda (3,090m). In winter, the high peaks are blanketed with snow, lending Lebanon its name, Lubnan, the Arabic word for “white.” Lebanon boasts a number of world-class ski resorts, one of only a couple countries in the Middle East where you can ski. The ski season runs from December until April.

The Mount Lebanon Range is also the location of Lebanon’s Cedar Reserves. The great cedar forests of Lebanon, now protected, are famous for their use in the construction of some of the holiest buildings in the region, indeed the world, including Jerusalem’s Dome of the Rock and Solomon’s Temple.

To visit Lebanon is to dispel preconceived notions that linger from a relatively short moment in a long, vivid, and fascinating history: drink in the energetic, urbane vibe of revitalized Beirut; explore a diverse and beautiful landscape that lends itself easily to an unforgettable (and largely untrammeled) multi-sport adventure; marvel at archaeological wonders that are windows into the cradle of civilization; and simply enjoy the welcome of a people who are naturally hospitable, friendly, and gregarious.

General Quick Facts

Capital: Beirut
Population: Approximately 4.5 million
Area: 10.452 square kilometers
Monetary Unit: the Lebanese Lira
Flag: The Lebanese flag is divided into three wide horizontal stripes with red on top and bottom, and a wider white stripe in the middle. In the center of this stripe is a green cedar tree, the emblem of the country.

Beirut was destroyed and rebuilt 7 times (this is why it’s compared to the Phoenix.)

Lebanon is the only Asian/African country that doesn’t have a desert.

Lebanon is one of the most populated countries in its archeological sites, in the world!

There are 15 rivers in Lebanon (all of them coming from its own mountains)

There’s 4.5 Million Lebanese in Lebanon. There’s around 10 Million Lebanese outside Lebanon!

People say that the cedars were planted by God’s own hands (This is why they’re called “The Cedars of God”, and this is why Lebanon is called “God’s Country on Earth.”

The first alphabet was created by Cadmus in Byblos (city in Lebanon)

The only temple of Jupiter (the main Greek god) is in Baalbeck, Lebanon (The City of the Sun)

Lebanon’s name has been around for 4.000 years non- stop (it’s the oldest country/ nation’s name in the world!)

Lebanon is the country that has the most books written about it.

The name LEBANON appears 75 times in the Old Testament

Lebanon has been occupied by over 16 countries/civilizations: (Egyptians-Hittites-Assyrians – Babylonians- Persians- Alexander the greats Army- Romans -Byzantine- Arabian – Crusaders- Ottomans -Britain- France- Israel)

Wikipedia & Lebanon ministry of tourism