Despite its small size, Lebanon has some outstanding ancient historical sites to discover, as well as a naturally diverse cultural make-up. Sadly, Lebanon has been at the center of Middle Eastern conflicts, in part due to sharing a border with both Syria and Israel, but also because of its complex communal population groups. However, the country is peaceful, the people of Lebanon have a reputation for being warm and affectionate, the small country has 5 listed UNESCO World Heritage sites and then, of course, there’s the food…
The capital, and by far the country’s largest city, is the commercial and financial hub of Lebanon as well as being considered truly cosmopolitan. The people of Beirut have a reputation for being polite and sociable, many are happy to get to know foreigners and even show them around. The seafront Corniche is a wonderful place to people watch, from old men playing chess through to trendy Beirutis smoking water-pipes and eating meze.
Within the sprawling complex of the ruins of Baalbek, are a profusion of temples and platforms filled with a stunning collection of fallen columns and sculptures. According to theories stated by the mainstream archaeological community, the history of Baalbek reaches back approximately 5000 years.
The great mystery of the ruins of Baalbek, and indeed one of the greatest mysteries of the ancient world, concerns the massive foundation stones beneath the Roman Temple of Jupiter. The reason these stones are such an enigma to contemporary scientists is that their method of quarrying, transportation and precision placement is beyond the technological ability of any known ancient or modern builders.
Byblos, one of the oldest Phoenician cities and a UNESCO World Heritage site, has been inhabited since Neolithic times. It has been closely linked to the legends and history of the Mediterranean region for thousands of years. Byblos is also directly associated with the history and diffusion of the Phoenician alphabet. The origin of our contemporary alphabet was discovered in Byblos with the most ancient Phoenician inscription carved on the sarcophagus of Ahiram.
Out of all the cities in Lebanon, Sidon is the most mysterious as its history has been tragically looted. Throughout the 19th Century, treasure hunters and amateur archaeologists have made off with many of its most beautiful and important objects, some of which can now be seen in foreign museums.
Since Persian times this was known as the city of gardens and even today citrus and banana plantations surround it. Sidon is famous for a variety of local sweets that you can watch being made in the old souk or in shops on the main street. The particular specialty of Sidon is known as “senioura,” a delicious crumbly cookie.
Visa on arrival for most nationalities.
Along the coast, Mediterranean like climate with mild winters and hot summers. In mountainous region colder winters and summers.
For up to date exchange rates please have a look at www.xe.com
Two prong system common to the USA (type A and B). The European, British and Indian/ African style systems can also be found (type C, D and G).
Most guesthouses and hotels have adequate Wifi. In cities 3G works well.
Chickpeas are a staple found in traditional dishes such as hummus and falafel. Meat is most commonly lamb. Fish very common due to long coastal line. Vegetables and fruit are also popular with lots of dishes based around aubergines/eggplant, tomatoes and pomegranate.
Alcohol is permitted and is widely available
Christian and Muslim.
No special dress code.
SAFTEY & SECURITY
The FCO considers Lebanon to be a low risk travel region. However it does advise against travel to the regions bordering Syria and Israel. Contact us for information on how we work to minimise risk for our guests and staff
An Unnecessary Woman – Rabih Alameddine
Pity The Nation: The Abduction of Lebanon – Robert Fisk
I Remember Beirut – Zeina Abirached