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Lebanon

Lebanon

About Lebanon

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. 

Profile of Lebanon

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).

TRAVEL INFO

Entry Requirements

All foreigners must have a valid passport and visa to enter Lebanon. Passports must be valid for at least six months. Visas can be obtained in advance at Lebanese embassies and consulates around the world. Nationals of many countries can also obtain business or tourist visas upon arrival at the Beirut Airport and at other ports of entry on the Lebanese border. At the Beirut Airport, visa stamps can be purchased at a window directly across from passport control.

Currency

The official Lebanese currency is the Lebanese pound or lira (LL). Notes are available in denominations of: LL1,000; LL5,000; LL10,000; LL20,000; LL50,000; and LL100,000. There are also LL250 and LL500 coins.  U.S. dollars are used widely throughout the country. Restaurants, hotels, and stores often quote their prices in U.S. dollars, and many establishments will convert and provide U.S. dollar prices for you upon request.

Language

While Arabic is Lebanon’s official language, English and French are widely spoken. Most Lebanese speak at least two or three languages, and visitors will find no problems communicating. Many establishments provide signs, menus, and information in both Arabic and English.

Time

Lebanese time is G.M.T. +2 hours in winter (October to March) and +3 hours in summer (April to September), when daylight savings time is observed.

Business Hours

Shops and businesses are typically open Monday through Saturday, 9:00-18:00. Hours vary, and in summer many establishments close early. Restaurant hours vary, and many restaurants, especially in Beirut, are open late. Sunday: official shutdown (Except big stores and trade centers).
Private institutions open from 8:00a.m. to 6:00p.m.
Shops open from 9:00a.m. to 7:00p.m. except on Sunday.
Big stores and trade centres open daily even on Sundays and holidays (from 9:00a.m. to 11:00p.m.). Small shops open in local areas almost all day long.
Museums open daily from 9:00a.m. to 5:00p.m.
Historical sites maybe visited every day from 9:00a.m. till sunset.
 
Banking hours are Monday through Saturday, 8:30-14:00. Working hours for government offices and post offices are typically 8:00-14:00 from Monday to Thursday.
Friday: 8:00-11:00-  Saturday: 8:00-13:00.

Holidays

Thanks to its diverse population and different religious groups, Lebanon has a full calendar of official holidays. Although all banks, government offices, and schools are closed on holidays, it is often possible to find shops and restaurants open for business.
Most important Islamic holidays are based on the Lunar calendar and therefore their dates are not fixed.
 
Holidays with Fixed Dates:

  • New Year’s Day – January 1
  • Christmas (Armenian-Orthodox) – January 6
  • St. Maroun’s Day – February 9
  • Commemoration of the assassination of PM Rafic Hariri - February 14
  • Labor Day – May 1
  • Martyrs’ Day – May 6
  • AnnunciationDay / Resistance & Liberation day – May 25
  • Lady Mary Assumption– August 15
  • Independence Day – November 22
  • Christmas – December 25

 
Religious Holidays with Moveable Dates:

  • Catholic Good Friday
  • Orthodox Good Friday
  • Catholic Easter
  • Orthodox Easter
  • Ras As-Sana - Hegire (Muslim New Year)
  • Eid Al-Fitr (two days)
  • Eid Al-Adha (two days)
  • Al-Ashoura: in memory of the death of Hussein (the prophet’s grandson).
  • Mawlid An-Nabi (Prophet Muhammad’s Birthday)

Communications

Telephones: While the telephone system in Lebanon is well-developed, there are few public pay phones, and international phone calls are expensive. Most Lebanese use mobile phones, and coverage extends throughout the country. 
The country code for Lebanon is (961). This is followed by the local area code and the telephone number. The area code for mobile phones is (03) and the area code for Beirut is (01).

Electricity

Electric current is 110/220 volts, 50 cycles. A two-pin plug, with round pins is commonly used (Type C, similar to many European countries), but other types of plugs are also in use so it is best to check before you go.

Health

Lebanon is a developed country with relatively good health facilities. Similar to travel to other foreign countries, hepatitis A and B vaccines are recommended; also make sure tetanus-diphtheria and measles vaccinations are up-to-date. A typhoid vaccine is also recommended for travel to Lebanon...

 

Information Courtesy Of Tourism in Lebanon 

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