Reasons to Visit
Lebanon is a real melting pot: you'll find Lebanese Christians and Muslims of various denominations, as well as Armenians and Palestinians in smaller numbers. What all Lebanese have in common is their friendliness and hospitality towards strangers, and this, combined with the mix of cultures and religions, is what makes Lebanon a fascinating place to visit.
Countless great civilisations have left their mark on Lebanon - from the Phoenicians to the Greeks, the Crusaders to the Ottomans and many, many more in between. The ruined cities left behind are amongst Lebanon's greatest attractions.
One of the world's most vibrant cities, Beirut is a great place to enjoy a strong, thick cup of coffee, whilst watching the locals go about their business. There are a range of cafes - from cheap local student hangouts, to swish establishments that wouldn't be out of place in Paris or Milan.
Lebanese dishes such as tabouleh, hummus, falafel and baba ganoush are commonly replicated around the world, but the authentic dishes prepared in the country really are the tastiest and cannot be beaten.
Lebanon's second city of Tripoli is a traditional town which could not be more different to the glitzy capital Beirut. Tripoli is famous for its colourful and lively souqs, where the maze of narrow alleyways includes medieval mosques, madrassas and public baths which are well worth exploring.
Recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1998, the stunning landscape of the Qadisha valley is just a few hours drive from bustling Beirut and provides the perfect contrast. The exceptional backdrop is a great destination for activities ranging from gentle strolls to full day treks.
Lebanon is one of the oldest wine producing regions in the world, and its offerings rival some of Bordeaux's finest. The southern Bekaa Valley is home to many of the regions best wineries including Ksar Massa and Château Ksara, and you will find the world famous Châteaux Musar roughly 30km to the north of Beirut.
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North Africa & the Middle East
Beirut is now reconstructing and developing itself into a cosmopolitan city after the destruction of the civil war and is well-known for its café culture.
Now thought of as the riviera of the Middle East, Lebanon has witnessed many wars over the centuries and has been ruled by the Romans, Arabs, Crusaders, Mamluks and Ottomans.
Beirut is now reconstructing and developing itself into a cosmopolitan city after the destruction of the civil war.
According to tablets found in Egypt, Beirut dates back to around the 14th century BC, an era when both Tyre and Sidon (both cities in the south of Lebanon) were more important.
Beirut reached its peak in the Roman period, when under Roman rule a school of law was founded in the 3rd century AD. As a competitor of the law schools in Alexandria, Athens and Caesarea, this allowed Beirut to become an important centre for both learning and commerce.
However an earthquake in the 5th century AD obliterated Beirut and as a result the law school was moved to Sidon, robbing Beirut of much trade and prestige.
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Further reading:Tours in LebanonWhen to GoHighlightsItinerary IdeasPlaces to GoThings to DoAccommodationAbout LebanonCountry Guides
Other countries in North Africa & the Middle East:EgyptIranJordanLibyaMoroccoOmanSyriaTunisia
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