Beirut sights of interest.

12 must-see places in Lebanon

The tiny country of Lebanon on the Mediterranean Sea is like a treasure chest: just open it and you’ll see beautiful things one by one. Here is a review of of what is worth seeing in the successor of ancient Phoenicia.

It takes only 3.5 hours by plane from Minsk and you are in Beirut. You can easily and quickly get to any point of Lebanon from its capital. What’s more, you can travel across the country in just 3.5 hours. But you can’t. There are so many historical treasures along the way, you won’t be able to resist seeing them. And if you can’t resist, you’ll regret it for a long time. Because almost nowhere in the world have remained such antiquities as in Lebanon.

The temples of Baalbek.

The most stunning and mysterious place in Lebanon is Baalbek in the Bekaa Valley, close to the border with Syria. The three temples of Baalbek – Jupiter, Bacchus and Venus – were built here in the 1st century BC. In spite of their robust age, the monumental buildings are well preserved. Among these columns you can feel the connection of times, the greatness of civilization. Only human. Today, 22 centuries later, they cause disputes among scientists and historians about who they were actually built by?

2. Mount Haris in Junia

You will be informed as you approach Junia, a resort town 20 km from Beirut, by the sight of the white statue of Mary spreading her arms over the town. It stands on Mount Harissa about 700 meters above sea level and can be seen from any point in Junia. As you climb the mountain you will see an unusual building next to the statue: the Catholic Cathedral of Our Lady of Lebanon, built in 1970. It is designed in the shape of a cedar, the national symbol of Lebanon. On the reverse side it resembles a Phoenician ship.

The bronze statue of the Lady of Lebanon, as the Lebanese themselves call her, was made in France and presented to the Middle Eastern people in the late 19th century. She is considered the patroness of Lebanon – every year in May, locals walk up to the mountain to light a candle in a chapel under a 2-meter statue. Tourists prefer to ride the 600-meter funicular. At the foot of the Virgin Mary itself is a small observation deck with a great view of the bay. On the left hand side of the Virgin Mary rises the Greek Catholic Church of St. Paul, as beautiful inside as it is outside.

3. The fortress at Byblos

Byblos, or Jbail in Arabic, 37 km from Beirut, is the oldest Phoenician city and one of the oldest cities on Earth. It dates back nine thousand years. It was in Byblos that one of the earliest records in Phoenician was discovered on the basalt sarcophagus of King Ahiram of the 9th century BC – it was the Phoenicians who gave the world the alphabet. The sarcophagus itself is now in the National Museum in Beirut, but interesting artifacts can be seen in the Crusader fortress of the 12th century. It was built on ancient Roman foundations, has a courtyard and five towers, and from its highest point you can see the Archaeological Park – the ruins of the Phoenician ramparts, the old traditional Lebanese house, the Roman columns and amphitheater, the tombs of the nine kings. Not all the sarcophagi have yet been raised from the ground. If you look carefully under your feet while walking in the Archaeological Park, you can notice an unsightly entrance to a cave – one of the sarcophagi still rests there.

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4. The old markets of Tripoli, Saida, Tira.

This is not just a sight to see, it is a world apart. Crossroads of ancient streets under stone vaults, intertwined wires, drying laundry, the sounds of mopeds and children’s laughter… Here the first floors in the shops are trading, and the second floors are life. Clothing and spices, gold and olive oil, coffee beans and sweets, fresh fish and fruit, handmade soaps and essential oils – there’s just about everything here! So it was here centuries ago and probably will be for many, many years to come. Unhurried life in the centuries-old walls of old markets in Lebanon – a must see.

5. The Citadel of Sidon

The ancient fishermen town of Sidon, nowadays Saida, is 30 km from Beirut. This city is famous not only for its old market. It is surrounded by Mount Makdush, where Mary waited for Jesus after his sermon in Sidon. And then there is the 6th century BC Phoenician temple complex of Eshmun, the healer god, known to us as Aesculap. The temple of Aeschmune is located about a kilometer from Saida, but the main attraction in the city itself is the Crusader fortress of Sidon, built in the 13th century. It was slightly rebuilt in due time by the Mamelukes, but until today it preserved almost in its original form.

6. Al-Amin Mosque in Beirut

One of the most beautiful mosques in Lebanon is the Al-Amin Mosque in Martyrs’ Square in Beirut. Locals call it the Hariri Mosque because it was built by Prime Minister Rafik Hariri in 2002-2007. Rafik Hariri himself was assassinated and buried near his brainchild, and it was his son who inaugurated the mosque in 2008. The architect of the Al-Aminah Mosque Atmi Fakuri was inspired by the Blue Mosque of Istanbul; you will immediately notice the resemblance: the blue dome, four minarets 72 meters high… The mosque is beautiful not only outside but also inside – gilding, stone, wooden imitations, delicate Arabic ligature. It is obligatory to come in!

7. Beitaddin – the palace of Emir Bashir II

Beit al-Din (Beit al-Din – House of Faith) is a palace built in the mountains of Lebanon in the 19th century by Emir Bashir al-Shehab II. He received from the Ottoman Empire the right to rule the region and removed the capital of the Druze state established on these lands from the town of Deir el-Qamar higher up in the mountains. Today Beitaddin Palace is not only a sightseeing place and an example of Lebanese architecture but also the summer residence of the Lebanese President, a venue for music festivals and a museum with perfectly preserved Byzantine tiles of the 5th and 6th centuries.

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8. The Xara Caves in Zahleh

The caves, where the Lebanese brand Xara wine is now stored, were created back in the Roman era. For a long, long time, they were simply covered with earth and stones. They were discovered in 1889 thanks to… a chanterelle. The animal stole chickens from the local Jesuit monks and each time disappeared without a trace. Once they had stalked the chanterelle, she hid in a crevice in the ground, which led to a 2 km long cave. The caves are located at a depth of 8-12 meters, the air temperature is kept at a temperature of 11-13 C and the humidity is 88%. In addition to the stock of “Xara” there is a collection of wines from 1930-1960 years of production. The oldest wine in the Xara caves dates back to 1918. Above the caves there is a Wine House, where you can taste free white, red and rose wine, buy the wine you like as a souvenir. Tours of the caves are free for groups.

9. Lebanese Cedars in the Shuf Reserve

To understand why the cedar is the symbol of Lebanon and featured on the national flag, you need to do two things. First, learn that the Phoenicians many years ago floated their cedar to Egypt and beyond along the Mediterranean coast, built ships out of cedar, and Egyptian and Persian kings built their palaces and sarcophagi. And it was from Lebanese cedar that the cross on which Jesus was crucified was built. Secondly, you need to visit the cedar reserves of Lebanon to see this mighty long-lived tree. It grows up to 15 meters in height, its trunk diameter is 2.5 meters, and its crown spread is 7-12 meters. In Lebanon, there are a total of 15 protected cedar areas with trees that are 2,000 years old.

Tourists most often go to the Shuf Biosphere Reserve – mountains at an altitude of 1,250 meters above sea level, studded with cedars, with trails for hiking and sites for birdwatching. Here you can stay in hotels and hostels, houses belonging to the reserve, or with locals. There are 12 villages in all, whose residents specialize in home winemaking, honey making, jam making, local cooking and baking. Yoga in the summer, the dabke festival “Zhabalna” in the fall – you can go to the Shuf region not only for walks among the cedars.

10. Pigeon Cliffs in Beirut

Walking along the Corniche promenade in Beirut, you are sure to see the only natural wonder of the Lebanese capital, the Pigeon Cliffs. They are located right in the Mediterranean Sea in front of the prestigious Rausche neighborhood. They are nicknamed “pigeon cliffs” because of the large number of pigeons that live there. You can see the natural landmark of Lebanon from the embankment, as well as from a motorboat. Is there any legend associated with the rocks? The locals say there isn’t. Unless there are stories of suicides, the Lebanese shrug sadly.

11. The Fortress in Tripoli

In the medieval fortress of the Crusaders of Saint Gilles in Tripoli not so long ago performed… the Pesnians and the Khoroshki. Before becoming a major tourist attraction, the fortress in Tripoli served as a prison during the last war and before that as a defensive structure. The huge four-story citadel was built in the 13th century. Today it is the best preserved fortress of its age in Lebanon. It offers a good view of the city and the Arab neighborhoods – Tripoli was for a long time in the possession of the Arab rulers, which is still felt not only in the architecture, but also in the rather strict manners of the locals. If you don’t want to be seen in Tripoli, don’t wear loose-fitting clothes and go there unless you want to catch the indignant looks of the Tripolians. Tripoli itself is one of the oldest cities in the region, dating back almost 3 thousand years, the first settlements were here in 1400 BC. It is also the second largest city in the country, famous as the capital of handmade sweets and soaps.

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12. Jeita Cave.

The two-level stalactite cave of Jeita with an underground river is the main natural attraction of Lebanon and the most visited place by tourists. Because of its stunning acoustics, organ music concerts are organized here, and newlyweds hold marriage ceremonies. It is also the location of the longest stalactite in the Guinness Book of Records. Its length is 8.2 meters. The length of the cave itself is 2.5 kilometers. One can see a lot of things in the patterns of stalactites and stalagmites – the images of jellyfish and heroes, faces of people and frozen waterfalls. And at a depth of 8 meters you can swim in the underground river length of 6 kilometers.

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Beirut Attractions

Roman Thermae National Museum Clock Tower Grand Palace Martyrs Monument Corniche Quay Soursault Museum National War Museum

This site contains Beirut attractions – photos, descriptions and travel tips. The list is based on popular travel guides and presented by type, name and rating. Here you can find answers to questions: what to see in Beirut, where to go and where are the popular and interesting places in Beirut.

Roman Thermae

Roman Baths (photo)

The most interesting place in Beirut are the baths of the Roman period, the so-called thermae, decorated with mosaic designs. They are located between the Gran Serail (Grand Palace) and the Riad as-Solh Street.

Some of the thermae are well preserved and it is possible to distinguish the individual rooms which differed in their temperature regime: the cold in the frigidarium, the warm in the tepidarium, and the hottest in the caldarium.

These thermae are part of the “Archaeological Park” of ancient sites in Beirut.

Coordinates: 33.89704700,35.50265900

National Museum

National Museum (photo)

The National Museum is Lebanon’s premier historical and archaeological museum and has one of the most extensive collections of antiquities in the entire Middle East. It preserves about 100,000 antiquities and other antiquities, 1,300 of which can be seen in a permanent exhibition.

The National Museum was opened in 1942 and is located on one of the main streets of the Lebanese capital, Abdallah al-Yafi, in the southeast of Beirut. The Egyptian-style museum building was designed in France, by architects Pierre Leprince-Ringuet and Antoine Nahas. The total exhibition area of the museum is 6,000 square meters.

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It has several departments: prehistory, the Bronze and Iron Ages, the Hellenistic, Romanesque and Byzantine periods, as well as the Arab conquest and the Mameluk period. Most notable in the museum is the Phoenician exhibition, which features beautiful ceramic and metal objects as well as precious stones and ivory.

Coordinates : 33.87838400,35.51495900

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Clock Tower

The Clock Tower (photo)

The Clock Tower in Beirut is a beautiful five-story Seral tower with a clock designed by engineer Aftimus Yousef. The clock was installed in 1897 to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the coronation of Sultan Abdul-Hamid II. Seral Tower was fully restored in 1994.

The clock tower is located near the Grand Palace of Lebanon, the Grand Seraglio, in the northern part of Beirut. It was built using many local materials – Beirut sandstone, Junia limestone, Damascus basalt and red stone from Deir el Qamar. On the third floor of the tower is a huge bell that weighs 300 kilograms. At the end of the 19th century the Seral Tower was the tallest structure in Beirut and today it is 25 meters high.

Coordinates : 33.89668800,35.50153600

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Grand Palace

The Great Palace (photo)

The Grand Palais or Grand Seral is the government palace known as the headquarters of the Lebanese Prime Minister. The building was built for barracks in 1853 and fully restored in 1998. Near the government palace you can see a beautiful clock tower, 25 meters high.

The Grand Palais is on a hill near the Armenian Orthodox Church of St. Nishan and other important landmarks of the Lebanese capital, in the northern part of Beirut. The Grand Seral is a blend of nineteenth-century architecture with modern interiors and high-tech amenities.

The palace was originally two stories, but after a three-year renovation in 1998 an additional floor was added. The upper floors of the Grand Seraglio include the residence of the prime minister and the offices of his aides, as well as the offices and cabinets of other ministers. The first floor consists of a banquet hall, a press center and an inner courtyard. The underground level includes a parking lot, offices and special rooms for staff. The Grand Céral has a surface area of 39,700 square meters.

Coordinates : 33.89592600,35.50093400

Monument to the Martyrs

The Monument to the Martyrs (photo)

The Monument to the Martyrs was erected in Bourj Square in Beirut in the 1930s. Then the square itself was renamed Martyrs’ Square.

The monument is dedicated to the Lebanese who fell in the struggle against the Turkish occupation of Lebanon.

During the war, the Green Line passed through this area. It divided the city into Muslim and Christian sectors. The battles in this area were fierce and unceasing.

Coordinates: 33.89644100,35.50710100

Corniche Quay

Quay Corniche (photo)

The Corniche Promenade is one of the favorite seafront promenades of locals and visitors in Beirut where you can admire the beautiful scenery of the Lebanese Ridge and the magnificent views of the Mediterranean Sea.

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The Corniche promenade covers a large section of the city of Beirut, from the beginning of Avenue de Paris to the St. George Motor Yacht Club on Avenue Rafik El Hariri.From the Corniche promenade you can see the famous Pigeon Cliffs, which rise above the sea only a few dozen meters from the shore.Incidentally, on the promenade you can even smoke hookah, if you are comfortable at a table in a cafe.You can also see the buildings damaged during the war from here. The vivid contrast of modern architecture and dilapidated buildings contribute to the atmosphere on the Corniche Promenade. Fishing, diving, walking, jogging, cycling and hiking are the favorite things to do here, and you can also sit and relax in the charming benches under the palm trees, or in the local restaurants and cafes, of which there are many on the boardwalk at Corniche.

Coordinates: 33.90262100,35.49165000

Sursok Museum

Sursok Museum (photo)

Sursok Museum is a private museum located in the heart of Beirut in an area where there are many preserved villas of the Lebanese nobility of the 18th and 19th centuries. The building was built in 1912 and belonged to the Soursok nobility.

It is a beautiful white stone building in Venetian style with a magnificent staircase and a rich external decoration which shows the influence of the Ottoman period. The interiors of the palace are decorated in the Eastern Baroque style.

In 1950 the owner of the building, the Lebanese scientist Nicolas Ibrahim Soursok, gave it to the state on the condition that a museum would be founded there. In 1961 the first exhibition was held there. Now the museum has more than five thousand items, among which many artifacts of Lebanese culture and paintings of modern artists.

The museum is open daily from ten in the morning until one in the afternoon. In 2012 the museum was extensively reconstructed.

Coordinates: 33.89315900,35.51631500

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National Military Museum

National Military Museum (photo)

The National Military Museum in Lebanon is an old military antiques museum responsible for documenting the history of the Lebanese army and preserving its heritage. It is part of the Lebanese Armed Forces. It was opened in 1974, although the idea for the museum dates back to 1948, after Lebanon’s independence.

The National Military Museum is located in the village of Yarze near the Ministry of National Defense, in the Baabda area in western Lebanon. The main element of the museum is the old weapons of the Lebanese army, swords and axes hanging on the walls, old guns as well as photographs, paintings and icons. In addition, the military museum features gifts, shields, and commendations from the Lebanese army. There is also a section dealing with the contemporary history of the Lebanese Armed Forces.

Coordinates : 33.83333300,35.53333300

The most popular attractions in Beirut with descriptions and photos for all tastes. Choose the best places to visit famous places in Beirut on our website.

More Beirut attractions

Muhaydse Village, Beirut, Lebanon Muhammad Al-Amin Mosque, Beirut, Lebanon Musa Castle and Museum, Beirut, Lebanon Beirut Archaeological Park, Beirut, Lebanon Rafik Hariri Beaches, Beirut, Lebanon Pigeon Cliffs, Beirut, Lebanon

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