The name of Lebanon meaning ‘white’ is seen everywhere. This small country, only 10.452 km2 in size, has an interesting diversity in history, culture, religion, landscape, climate and altitude. The capital is Beirut. Lebanon has nearly six million inhabitants. Its highly heterogeneous population includes 18 acknowledged religious groups, the largest being the Shiites and Sunnites, followed by the Maronites, Greek, Protestant and Armenian Christians.
History and Government
Lebanon’s history and politics have been shaped by inner-state conflicts. Since 2006 the country has been divided into two rivaling political camps. The armed conflict in neighboring Syria has contributed to a worsening of the situation. Modern Lebanon is a unitary republic with a parliamentary system of government. The head of state is the president, who is elected for a term of six years and is eligible to serve consecutive terms.
Geography and Environment
Lebanon is located on the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea; it consists of a narrow strip of territory and is one of the world’s smaller sovereign states. It is mostly mountainous country. The country has greater water resources than many other Middle Eastern countries. Beirut, also known as the Paris of the Middle East, is the largest town in the country. The Lebanese Pound is the currency of Lebanon. The official language is Arabic.
Lebanon is a Middle Eastern nation with a rich and unique culture. The culture and customs of the country have evolved and grown over thousands of years. Several communities and people have influenced culture. The population has several religions and practices including festivals, cuisine, architecture, music styles, and other things.
Lebanon’s diverse and rich history has left the country with some interesting and beautiful cultural, archeological and historical sites, buildings and museums. Although many of these sites were destroyed, plenty remains untouched or have been renovated. In addition, Lebanon’s natural reserves and its beautiful mountains, valleys, rivers and ponds make Lebanon a great place for nature lovers.
As the country has a significant following of both Muslims and Christians, it is not a surprise that it observes both Muslim and Christian holidays and festivals. Some of the Muslim holidays include the popular Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha. These two are possibly the biggest festivals since the former ends the holy month of Ramadan while the latter is simply one of sacrifice. On the other hand, Christians celebrate popular holidays such as Christmas on December 25 and Easter.
Unsurprisingly, the food is similar to other countries in the Middle East such as Syria and Cyprus. Some of the main national dishes include kibbe and the tabbouleh. The former is simply a meat pie prepared out of burghul and minced lamb while the latter is a salad prepared out of tomatoes, burghul, and parsley.
Arak is the national beverage and is prepared by fermenting grape juice. The drink is usually served with ice and water as well as food. In recent times, other drinks such as wine and beer are gaining popularity among the population as the diversity increases.
Best Time to Visit Lebanon
Lebanon's summer period is the best time to visit. The beaches simply beckon to you then and the weather is bright and warm, making outdoor activities not only possible but something you can look forward to. The nightlife is also supposed to be better during the summer.
Winters here are relatively mild, with the days being warm and the nights, cool. It is also not very crowded during this time, as peak tourist season would have ended. Winter sports also begin in full force, making it even more enjoyable.
Tourist Attractions in Lebanon
The vibrant nightlife, cultural traditions, mountainous ski resorts and carefully preserved heritage sites join to offer an unforgettable adventure to the tourists. Bacchus is the best-preserved ancient shrine with majestic towers. Another famous tourist spot is the Temple of Jupiter with its prodigious columns. Annually, the place hosts Baalbek International Festival which is attended by international organizations and artists to work on the ruins of the medieval town. The Beirut Central District is the historical square in Beirut known as the financial, cultural and commercial core of Lebanon.