Lebanon is a small but interesting state in the Middle East with rich history and culture. Cities in Lebanon date back to thousands years ago, and still preserve the ambience of the past.
Lebanon is a small Mediterranean country, which is known for a great number of monuments of history and culture located in its territory, as well as the extraordinary mixture of East and West in its traditions. Mild climate, various natural attractions, numerous outdoor activities, and a considerable length of the sea coast make a rest in Lebanon a desirable thing. At the same time, Lebanon is a secular state, and there are no restrictions, which are characteristic of the majority of Islamic countries. Nightlife is busy here, and there are various discos, numerous sports clubs and restaurants.
Beirut is one of the oldest cities in the world. Once it was nicknamed the ‘Paris of the Middle East’ and has been inhabited since the Paleolithic era. Today, this city is a real gem of the eastern Mediterranean Sea, and even the legacy of the civil war could not rid it of its charm.
The heart of Beirut is Hamra district, which is a commercial and financial core of the capital. The majority of shops, banks, restaurants and cinemas are located here. It is interesting to see the Grand Palais, the Clock Tower, the Archaeological Park and the Archaeological Museum of American University of Beirut. Other attractions of the capital include numerous ruins of Roman buildings, the magnificent National Museum, the private Sursock museum, the House of Parliament on Place de l’Etoile, the Lebanese National Museum, the Cathedral of St. George and St. Elias, the Pigeon Rock, and famous Manara lighthouse. Tourists with children often go to the local Amusement Park and visit beautiful sandy beaches of Rafik Hariri Beach. This part of the city is populated mostly by Christians, that is why nightlife is rather lively here.
Special attention should be given to the resort suburb of Jounieh and the statue of Virgin Mary on Haris Hill, the churches of St. Paul and St. Anthony of Padua, the residence of the Papal Nuncio and the Patriarch of the Armenian Church. The resort town of Zahle is the location of the famous palace complex of Beit al-Din, which is the official summer residence of the President of the Lebanese Republic.
Byblos is one of the oldest cities on Earth. According to historians, it is the oldest continuously inhabited city. It was here that Phoenician alphabet originated, having become the progenitor of many alphabets of the existing languages. On such a small piece of land, one will find the traces of many civilizations manifested in numerous historical monuments. The ruins of ancient places of worship and the remnants of the walls from the period of the Bronze Age, Phoenician tombs of the kings, the castle of the 12th century, and the Church of St. John the Baptist are now vast areas of archaeological excavations.
Baalbek includes one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. A huge temple complex, built in Roman times on the site of a Phoenician temple, is situated here, and some parts of it are in almost pristine condition, including two towers, a huge altar, the Acropolis, the Temple of Bacchus, the temple of Jupiter, and the Pantheon. Perhaps, Baalbek is the most famous monument of the Lebanese Republic.
Tripoli is the second largest city of Lebanon and the main port of the north. It used to be a cultural center of the Mediterranean Sea in ancient times. It is known for its preserved mosques, medieval places of worship, religious schools, over 20 other madrasas, the fortress of Saint-Gilles, the Lion Tower, medieval markets, narrow streets and many well-preserved buildings of the 14th century.
Cedar forest reserve in Lebanon still has a few hundred of the legendary cedar trees which once covered the mountains of Lebanon. Some of the trees are 1500-2000 years old.
Other destinations of the country include Tyre, the legendary city founded by the Phoenicians, Saida, and Ayn Anjar with the ruins of its picturesque fortress, numerous mosques and shopping malls.