With the sun shining bright and warm all year through its four seasons, Lebanon located in Western Asia is a small but culturally rich nation on the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea. Bordering Syria to the north and east, and Israel to the south, Lebanon’s heritage lies deep with its cities being major outposts and seaports during ancient Phoenician and Roman times.
The ancient city of Byblos (Jubayl or Jbeil), considered to be one of the continuously inhabited cities in the world is situated in Lebanon. History goes back a long way in this country from stone age settlements to Phoenician states, from Roman temples to rock-cut Christian hermitages and from Crusader Castles to Ottoman hammams – they have it all!
Lebanon is home to a variety of ethnic groups and religions considering the country was ruled by several empires throughout time – The Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs, Crusaders, Mamlukes and the Ottoman. Its major religions are Christianity and Islam. Its people speak Arabic, English and French and are culturally more open in thought and place importance in education. Lebanese are known for their friendliness and generosity.
Mentioned more than seventy times in the Bible, Lebanon is definitely a place to go for travellers with a keen interest in past and glorious civilizations of old. The city of Qana where Jesus performed the miracle of turning water into wine is also situated in this beautiful terrain. Once called the Paris of the East, Lebanon today is a modern city amidst the many ancient ruins that struggles from time to time with political problems.
Beirut, its capital offers plenty of sightseeing, shopping, scrumptious food and exciting nightlife. Its countryside of mountain villages and small seaside towns offer adventure and excitement through its hiking trails and mountain streams. Outdoor activities like diving, windsurfing, snorkelling and sailing is also very popular in the Mediterranean coast.
The biggest city in Lebanon with about 2.1 million habitants and 9 districts. Ashrafieh is home to all major nightclubs while Downtown is filled with many cafes, restaurants and stores along the marina.
Home to many villages located between two mountain ranges and also famous for many wineries producing world-renowned Lebanese wines.
The place to go for adventure sports with snow-capped mountains. This rugged terrain is perfect for skiing, hiking, mountain climbing and many other winter sports. This region is also home to Byblos.
Home to the highest ski resort on the country’s highest mountain - Qornet es-Sawda.
This region is covered and dotted with historical and biblical sites and home to five main cities – Sidon, Jezzine, Marjayoun, Nabatiye and Tyre.
Chill in Beirut:
A vibrant capital with loads of fun things to do. Soak up the sun by the beach, take a balloon ride to capture its glory from an altitude of 300m or indulge in its lovely cuisine.
Rock the night away in its many nightclubs along Gemmayze and Monot Street. Alcohol is consumed freely in Lebanon with its national drink being an anise-flavoured liquor called Arak drank as an aperitif or with main dishes.
Shop till you drop:
Go shopping on Hamra Street, Mar-Elias Street or Rue Verdun for both local and international brands. Don’t forget to visit their many souks as well – Souk El Tayeb, Burj Hammoud or the Sunday Market next to the Beirut River.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, don’t miss the 12th century Crusader Castle, Tower Temple, the King’s Tomb, St. John’s Church and more!
Stop by the many cathedrals in town:
Visit the Cathedral of St. Elias (Greek Catholic), Cathedral of St. George (Greek Orthodox), Cathedral of St. George (Maronite) and the St. Louis Capuchin Church built in 1864 by Capuchin missionaries.
The Pyramid of Hermel:
This 27m high stone pyramid sits upon a black marble base is said to be a tomb for a 2nd century Syrian prince. The pyramid located in the Bekaa Valley can be seen for miles in several directions.
Take a walk along the Pigeon Rocks:
Located in Raouche, the natural rock arches on the Corniche stretch is a popular district with a lively seaside promenade located on the western tip of Beirut.
Monastery of St. Maron:
Also called the Maronite Syriac Church of Antioch, this Eastern Catholic Church is in full communion with the Holy See of Rome with its liturgical language being Aramaic.
The Roman Temples of Baalbeck:
Well preserved is Lebanon's greatest Roman treasure towering high above the Beqaa plain that is dedicated to the Gods Jupiter, Venus and Mercury. The Temple of Bacchus is one of the 3 main temples in the complex.
Visit the Al Omari Mosque:
Once the Cathedral of St. John built by the Crusaders, it was converted into a mosque in 1291 by the Mamlukes. Its breath-taking architecture and glory with astound any traveller.
Indulge in a Seafood Spread:
Visit Al Mina located at the port that caters to a variety of seafood restaurants. A gastronomical delight for sure!
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