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.
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.
This cosmopolitan and modern city is the home of more than 1 million people, and constitutes the very heart of the country’s economic and cultural life.
Beirut teems with a perceptible vitality and energy that are reflected through its position as the Lebanese capital from a geographic standpoint: a headland that drives through the deep blue sea while dominated in the background by the breathtaking mountains.
Daughter of Venus, Beroë mother of the laws, Lebanon’s star … all these epithets do not suffice on their own to summarize several centuries of rich history.
It is one of the oldest cities in the world. It is also one of the rare sites that have continuously been inhabited since their foundation excavations show that it dates back to the 6th millennium B.C. Its ancient inhabitants did not call it Byblos, but rather “Jubla” and later “Jebal”. Around 1200B.C. the Greeks named it Byblos or “Papyrus”, because it traded in this product.
Byblos (Jbeil in Arabic) is today a very charming city distinguished for its neighborhood that dates back to the Middle Ages with its historic sites and ruins.
On a hill that reverently overlooks the Bay of Jounieh and contemplates Beirut and the vast horizon stands the sanctuary of our Lady of Lebanon. It’s a place that shines with devotion to Saint Mary. Believers constructed this place to worship the Virgin Mother, our Lady of Lebanon. The statue of Saint Mary stands at the top of the structure. It is a white statue that touches the blue sky and is surrounded by roaming clouds. It has been here since 1908, resting on a cement foundation. The statue is reached by means of a spiral flight of stairs. Inside there is a small church where to thousands of believers come to pray and to hold marriage ceremonies.
Jeita Grotto is the jewel of tourism in Lebanon offering to its visitors qualified modern services and accommodation in harmony with a fascinating nature. It creates a magical trip which enables them to spend a day of wonder-filled adventure by being carried away from a tangible world to a wonderland where are found 2 limestone crystallized grottoes characterized by extraordinary concretions of stalactites and stalagmites sculpted naturally in different forms, sizes and colors. It is a source of attraction for families wishing to discover a mysterious world in the heart of the earth.
Sidon (or Saidoon) is a vital commercial and administrative center. Its star is a Crusader Castle overlooking the harbor. The old town is still standing with its alleys and its souks (markets) which have maintained their Middle Age features. Its ancient history is obscure not only for lack of archeological excavations, but also for the plundering of its antiquities and ancient monuments at the end of the nineteenth century and beginning of the twentieth century. A lot of monuments and antiques from Sidon are displayed along with other antiquities in international museums.
Tyre, the Phoenician city, was the queen of the seas. It was built on an island, and became well known to the people who lived around the Mediterranean Sea for its wealth and prosperity. It was famous for its industry of purple-dyed textiles, thus attracting the great conquerors in ancient times. Among them we mention the Babylonian king, Nebuchadnezzar and Alexander the Great.
At an ancient cross-road connecting the coast with the Syrian interior and North Syria with North Palestine, Baalbek lays with its huge temples considered among the wonders of the Ancient world. Baalbek overlooks the Bekaa Plain and is a witness of an imperial project that embodies the Roman determination, wealth and power.
Earthquakes, wars and raids left their traces on these temples throughout the ages. As a result, they were destroyed and rebuilt in the Middle-Ages. Thanks to the efforts of archeologists and Lebanese, French and German architects, this site lost nothing of its beauty and glory.
The Shouf Cedars are considered as the largest nature reserve in Lebanon, stretching north from Dahr El Baidar to the Niha Mountain south. The reserve covers intensive forests of oak trees on its north-eastern and south-eastern slopes. It is mostly distinguished by the three magnificent cedar forests: Maaser El-Shouf cedar forest, Barouk cedar forest and Ain Zhalta-Bmohray cedar forest. Its surface constitutes about the quarter of the total surface area of the remaining cedar forests in Lebanon. The age of some cedars in the reserve is estimated at around two thousand years. From the top of the mountain, visitors can enjoy the exceptional panoramic view of the rural countryside and the lake of Qaraoun stretching from the Bekaa Valley east, to the Mediterranean Sea west.