Lebanon is a state washed by the Mediterranean Sea


Lebanon is a small state in the Middle East, located on the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea. Its total area is 10,452 km².

It is bounded on the west by the Mediterranean Sea, with a coastline of 225 km. It borders Syria to the north and east and Israel to the south. The Syrian-Lebanese border is 375 km long, the Lebanese-Israeli border is 79 km long. A small section of Lebanon’s border with the Golan Heights (Shebaa Farms), which is occupied by Israel, is disputed territory.

Most of Lebanon is covered by mountains, except the Bekaa Valley in the northeast and a narrow north-south stretch of flat land along the sea. Coastal Lebanon is separated from the eastern regions by the Lebanon and Antilwan mountain ranges.

In ancient Lebanon, the forests of the Lebanese Cedar, which have become a symbol of the country, grew in great numbers. For centuries the trees were cut without replanting as a basic material in shipbuilding. This led to the fact that by the 20th century only isolated islands of greenery were left in the place of the richest forests.

Climate of Lebanon

Lebanon is characterized by a Mediterranean climate.

In coastal regions, winters are usually cool and summers are humid and hot. In the winter, temperatures drop below 0° in the mountains and snowfall is possible.

Although the average annual rainfall in Lebanon is much higher than in neighboring countries, an arid climate prevails in the northeast because the mountains block the flow of moist air from the sea.

Sand and dust storms are frequent.

Population of Lebanon

The population of Lebanon is 6.849 million (2018). Urban population: 87% of the total population.

Lebanon is a mono-ethnic Arab country (Arabs make up 95% of the population, while many Christians, especially Maronites, do not recognize themselves as Arabs), the country is also home to Armenians, Greeks, Turks, Kurds, etc.

Just under 60% of the population is Muslim. At the same time, Lebanon is an island of Christianity in the Muslim world. The number of Christians of different confessions in Lebanon is 40% of the population (according to other data about 30%).

Arabic is the official language. Many people are fluent in English and French. Most members of the intelligentsia and middle and senior management staff were educated in the Soviet Union and therefore have a good command of Russian.

About Money

The Lebanese Pound (LBP) is the currency of Lebanon.

One Lebanese pound is equal to 100 piastres. Bills in denominations of 50, 100, 250, 500, 1000, 5000, 10,000, 20,000, 50,000 and 100,000 Lebanese pounds and coins in 50, 100, 250 and 500 Lebanese pounds are in circulation.

U.S. dollars and euros are accepted everywhere. Money may be exchanged at any bank, hotels, specialized exchange offices and private money changers (the best exchange rates). Banks, large hotels and restaurants accept credit cards of the major international payment systems.

Traveler’s checks are accepted only by major banks, but it often takes a very long time to cash them.

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Phone Code: 961

Ambulance – 140, Fire Department – 175.

How to call

To call Lebanon from Russia: 8 – dial tone – 10 – 961 – city code + subscriber number.

To call from Lebanon to Russia: 00 – 7 – city code – subscriber’s number.


Stores are usually open from 9.00 to 19.00, large supermarkets – until 20.00 – 22.00. Many private stores have their own schedule.

Beirut’s three main shopping areas are Bourj Hamoud, an area of inexpensive stores in the Armenian Quarter. There are also the gold markets, where gold (18 carats and up) is sold at $9 per gram. Here mostly young people dress, but you can find goods for all ages. The area around Hamra street – you can buy shoes, clothes, and leather goods. The rich shopping district of Warda is for the gourmet shopper.

In Junia, there are both cheap bazaars and rich stores in the Kaslik area.

Tripoli is known for its gold rows. It is in Tripoli that connoisseurs acquire something “original-national” in the old souk (bazaar) area.

The Sea and the Beaches

Lebanese beaches are divided into basalt (rocky), whose rocky shores drop into the sea, and sandy.

Basalt beaches have very clear water, and all have easy access to the water. With sandy beaches, the water in the surf zone is sometimes turbid.

There are sandy beaches south and north of Beirut, in Junia and further north of it.

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The best sandy beach in Beirut, in the Ramlet al-Bayda area, is a municipal beach, i.e. entry is free, but you have to pay for a deckchair and an umbrella.

How to get to Lebanon

The easiest way is to take an Aeroflot flight from Moscow to Beirut (flight time about 3,5 hours).

The national carrier Middle East Airlines and Air France connect Beirut with all capitals of Europe and Middle East by daily flights.

It is possible to enter the country by land through Syria. From Damascus, Latakia, Aleppo, Hama and Homs to Beirut and Tripoli there are frequent and inexpensive buses and shuttle buses.

From Syria: There are four border crossings between Lebanon and Syria.

Lebanon’s border with Israel is currently closed to tourists.

Lebanon can also be reached by ferry from Cyprus.


The border with Israel, the area of Tyre, the south and southeast of Lebanon, is considered an area that is not safe to visit because of the concentration of Hezbollah camps, which are regularly attacked by the Israeli army.

In southern Lebanon, almost all towns and villages have been badly damaged by the war, in many places the electricity and water supply has not yet been restored. The problem of minefields persists, making independent travel outside the main roads life-threatening.

Natural hazards include fairly frequent sandstorms.

Recommendations and Advice

One of the most important daily rules is not to drink raw water and not to eat unwashed fruits and vegetables. Always buy water in plastic bottles, which are sold almost everywhere.

Do not drink raw milk, drinks containing milk (shakes), freshly squeezed fruit juices and drinks with ice, all of which can contain pathogenic bacteria.

Avoid ice cream, as it may have melted and been contaminated by accidental water.

Only buy fruits and vegetables that can be peeled easily (bananas, oranges, etc.). Be sure to wash them thoroughly with boiled or sanitized water.

With the exception of some official rates, most prices are “free,” so you can haggle almost everywhere.

The system of weights and measures is metric, but in markets everywhere you can see weight in pounds, length in yards.

Liquor is sold everywhere and its use is not restricted.

Most towns have stores with a large selection of liquor at moderate prices. Pork is served and sold in non-Muslim areas.

There are no special restrictions on clothing. In some Muslim areas in the south and in the Bekaa Valley, it is advisable to abstain from wearing shorts (for men and women) and overt clothing for women. When visiting mosques, shoes should be removed (they should be deposited in a special checkroom or taken with you in a bag). In some mosques and holy places tourists are given a cloak to cover their hair, hands to the wrists and legs below the knees. On the beaches and resort areas is not forbidden to use open bathing suits, but topless and nudism is unacceptable.

Before photographing someone, be sure to ask permission from the subject. To avoid problems, you should not take pictures of military facilities and transport infrastructure.

In a conversation with a Lebanese should avoid topics related to politics and national characteristics of a particular ethnic group.

Most nightclubs are concentrated in Beirut along the waterfront and further north, in Ashrafia and Junia (especially in the bay area). The clubs tend to be expensive. Ordering food at them is not necessary.

Fans of the outdoors go to Beirut’s famous Rauscha promenade.


The Lebanese anthem

Lebanon is a small state located in the Middle East. This country is washed by the waters of the Mediterranean Sea and shares borders with Syria and Israel. Lebanon has about 4 million natives and 1 to 2.5 million refugees from neighboring Syria, who live mostly in the border areas, as well as the country’s capital, Beirut. A long period of military conflict has forced an estimated 12 million Lebanese to flee their homeland and resettle around the world.

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Video: Lebanon


Lebanon is often referred to as a state of contrasts. In this country, there is a great difference in the social status of people, and snow-capped mountains neighbor the warm sea. What sets Lebanon apart from most Arab states is the religious diversity and tolerance of the inhabitants towards those of other faiths. There may be a Catholic church on the street next to a mosque. And a gray, gunshot-wrecked structure may well coexist with modern, newly built houses. In Beirut, some of the buildings that have been bombed are deliberately not rebuilt to remind residents and tourists of the horrors of war. Today, it is possible to find military or police officers in almost every part of Lebanon. Representatives of the security forces do their best to ensure that peace and tranquility are maintained in the country.

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After the war in 2006 Lebanon is no longer considered a completely safe place for tourists, but this reputation has not affected the flow of tourists coming to the country. Many tourists hurry here to get acquainted with Arabian coloring and traditions of oriental hospitality, and absolutely all who have been in Lebanon, note the cordiality and peacefulness of locals.

The most popular among travelers is the long-suffering Beirut – a city that has been destroyed seven times and has risen from the ashes again. The second most important attraction is considered one of the oldest cities in the world – the legendary Byblos.

The Cities of Lebanon

History of Lebanon

On the land where Lebanon is located today, people appeared about 6,000 years BC. Archaeologists have found here the remains of prehistoric dwellings, as well as tools of labor and hunting. The first Lebanese cities began to form in the 3rd millennium BC. Phoenicia, the Mediterranean state where the alphabet was invented, was born on Lebanese soil. In 332 BC Alexander the Great destroyed the largest Phoenician city of Tyre. And at the end of I century BC the Lebanese lands became part of the province of Syria, becoming part of the mighty Roman Empire.

When the period of formation of the Caliphate began in the Middle East, Islam penetrated into Lebanon. From the 16th to the early 20th century the country was ruled by the Ottoman Empire. After its collapse, Lebanon was separated from Syria and was ruled by France under the mandate of the League of Nations.

This state gained formal independence in 1943, and 5 years later it took part in the first Arab war with Israel. In 1958, the first civil war broke out in Lebanon, and it was stopped, thanks to the intervention of American troops. The second civil war lasted for 15 years, from 1975 to 1990. During the bloody conflicts more than 150 thousand Lebanese were killed.

From 1976 to 2006 there were Syrian troops on Lebanese territory and twice the Israeli IDF entered the country. Since 2006 there have been no regular hostilities on Lebanese soil.

Climatic features

Lebanon lies in a warm Mediterranean climate zone, but its territory is covered by mountains, which affects the weather. In January, the coldest month of the year, the air on the coast warms up to +13 ° C, but in the mountainous areas there is snow and the thermometer shows below zero. The steady snow cover in the mountains holds from November to April, and during this time Lebanon attracts fans of alpine skiing and snowboarding from the Middle East. At the end of the ski season in April, people who want to get a portion of adrenaline on the slopes, and then relax in one of the seaside resorts. At this time of year the coast is warm: +25 ° C during the day and +15 ° C at night.

August is the hottest month in Lebanon. With an average temperature of +28 ° C at the sea during the daytime it is very hot – the air heats up to +35 . +40°С. Because of this, almost all modern Lebanese homes and, of course, every hotel has air conditioning. But the heating system is usually not provided, because on the coast the temperature below +10 ° C is a rarity. Even if such a cold snap comes, it lasts only a few days.

Moist air is typical for Lebanon. There is no distinct rainy season, but the greatest amount of precipitation occurs from late fall to early spring. If you travel in the country during this time, can not do without an umbrella.

Beach Holiday

On the coast of Lebanon is very sunny. There are about 300 days a year without inclement weather. This is a paradise for lovers of warm sea and sunbathing! Along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea stretches well equipped and wild beaches, whose total length exceeds 200 km.

In the capital of the country’s beaches are both within and outside the city limits. In the summer on some beaches of Beirut are on duty lifeguards, and you can also rent a water scooter and relax in the coastal cafe or restaurant. However, most of the capital’s beaches are wild.

The most popular among tourists and Lebanese themselves are beaches in Junia, which is located 16 km from Beirut. The local beaches are always clean and the sea is calm, even if there are storms outside the bay. Many hotels have been built in Junia. Some of them stand near the shoreline, while others are a 10-15 minute walk from the sea. And of course, during the holiday season, tourists can get any beach services.

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Almost as popular are the excellent beaches of Byblos, which is only 40 minutes drive from the Lebanese capital. Importantly, Biblos, Beirut and Junia are quite tolerant of open women’s swimwear, especially on foreign tourists. In these places, even Lebanese women can afford to appear on the beach in separate swimsuits. But in the south of the country, where residents are more radical and traditional, this can cause serious problems.

Holidays in Lebanon in winter

From November to April, and in some places till May, in Lebanon falls ski season. It attracts to the country a lot of fans of skiing and snowboarding from all over the Middle East. This is not surprising. Lebanon is the only state in the region, where the snow lies for several months. In addition, you can get here from neighboring Arab countries quickly and cheaply, so the Lebanese hotels during the ski season is quite crowded.

Lovers of winter holidays in Lebanon takes six ski resorts. The highest of them – Cedars – is more than two hours drive from Beirut. Its equipped slopes have a total length of 120 km and are located at altitudes between 2000 and 3000 m above sea level. They are served by five elevators and are designed for both beginners and experienced skiers. Cedars was built relatively recently, in mid-2000s, so there is a well-developed infrastructure: comfortable hotels and modern equipment rental stations.

Another popular place for winter entertainment – Mzaar – is significantly inferior to Cedars in overall length of slopes. There are only 80 kilometers of slopes. But this ski center offers tourists 42 slopes equipped with 18 ski elevators. And the road from Beirut to Mzaar is shorter and takes only one hour.

Attractions in Lebanon

You can travel in Lebanon by yourself or as part of an organized group. There are no tours in Russian, but you can always join an English-speaking tour.

There is a lot to see in the capital of the country. Everyone who comes to Beirut, tries to visit the beautiful city promenade. At any time of day and in any weather this part of town is crowded. Many people come to the promenade to exercise, others to sit in the cozy cafes and restaurants.

In the heart of Beirut is the Square of the Star or Sahat al-Nejma. It truly resembles a star. From the center of the square the little streets diverge on either side. Near the tall clock tower is a popular place for tourists to take pictures and the neighborhoods around the square have long been a center of nightlife in the Lebanese capital.

Beirut’s oldest architectural monument is the Mosque of Omar. The building was erected during the Crusades. It was owned by both Christians and Muslims and the mosque has been here since 1291. To learn the history of the capital of Lebanon, it is worth checking out the National Museum of Beirut. Another interesting museum – Sursok – is located in the district of Ashrafia. It houses private collections of modern art and a rich collection of ancient books.

Of great interest to travelers is a visit to one of the oldest cities in the world, Byblos, which is not far from the capital and today bears the name Jebeil. This is a real adventure for history lovers! The city has a mighty fortress and the ruins of a Crusader castle. Here you can see a Roman amphitheater and a royal well, an ancient necropolis with sarcophagi and the ruins of Phoenician temples.

In the northern part of the country at an altitude of 2000 meters above sea level is the largest cedar grove in Lebanon, which is called the Divine Cedar Forest Horsh-Arz-er-Rab. The natural monument can be reached by cab from Tripoli, the second largest city in Lebanon. While traveling through the country, the 9th century mountain monastery of Deir Mar Antonius Kozhaya, the temples of Bacchus, Venus and Jupiter in Baalbek, the nature park in the Qadisha Valley, the Roman Hippodrome in Tyre, St. Paul’s Cathedral in Junia and the Jeita Caves are also worth seeing.


In Lebanon, cabs are considered the most convenient means of transportation in the cities and within the country. There are a lot of cabs here, so travel at any time of day is not a problem. You should not count on the meters, especially since they are installed far from everywhere. Usually the price for the trip negotiated in advance with the driver, and it is better to do so before you get in the car. Lebanese cab drivers accept payment in both local pounds and dollars.

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Catch a car on the street is not difficult, but if you want, you can call a cab and on the phone. It is also convenient that the fare in any city in Lebanon will be about the same. And in Beirut, and in the distant from the capital of the cab driver will ask the same money for the same distance. However, cab drivers charge a lot for travel between cities. Such trips are about 10 times more expensive than traveling by minibus. So, for example, a cab ride from Beirut to Byblos will cost $25, although the distance between the two cities is only 35 km.

In addition to the usual personal cab, there is a “service taxi” in Lebanon. These cars have drivers who pick up other passengers on the way. “Service taxi” are three or four times cheaper, but there are significantly fewer amenities on the road. According to a local tradition, in a five-seater car sit six passengers: two in front, next to the driver, and four in the back seat. However, if any passenger wants more comfort, he can pay a double fare.

There are no domestic flights or railroads, so buses have become the main mode of public transport here. With a well-developed road network and an equally well-developed bus service, Lebanon has no shuttle buses and no bus terminals that we are accustomed to. There are spontaneous parking lots in large cities where buses from various places gather. The largest bus gathering point in the capital is under the Charles Helou highway interchange, near the port.

Most buses and minibuses do not have clearly marked routes, so you can only ask the driver where the car is going. Sometimes tourists have to stand at the highway and stop all the buses in a row to get to the right destination. The fare is traditionally given to the driver when getting off the bus. There are no fixed price tags and no tickets. Roughly, the trip at a distance of 30 km costs 2 dollars. Buses move around the country around the clock, but at night there are significantly fewer of them.

Large tour buses in Lebanon are used only for organized groups. For independent travel, large minibuses are considered safer. Foreign travelers are not recommended to use the small 9-seater cars. Their drivers are often reckless and get into accidents.

If you want, you can rent a car in Lebanon. As in the rest of the civilized world, in this country, there are international rights, and the cost of renting a car is determined by the class of the car. Prices start from $25 for a day.

Peculiarities of national cuisine

Traditional Lebanese cuisine is characterized by an abundance of vegetables and fish. Meat dishes, except for chicken or lamb, are rare, and there is almost no pork. Vegetables are prepared in different ways and many spices are added to them. In addition, the local cuisine is full of dishes made of beans.

In Lebanon they make excellent shawarma, which is called here “shawarma. It tastes different from shawarma from Turkey because the Lebanese use special sauces for it. Roadside shawarma is large and costs $2.

There are about 400 restaurants open to the public in Beirut. They serve both Lebanese and international cuisine. The most expensive restaurants exist only in the capital, in all other places the catering looks much more modest.

Excellent Lebanese wine is known throughout the Middle East. The most popular is Château Ksara. It comes in different colors. You can taste the local wines in any restaurant.


In Beirut there are not many places where you can buy “themed” trinkets with national attributes or views of Lebanon. To buy souvenir magnets, mugs and T-shirts, you should go to the city center and visit the shopping center “Sauks. Here, in the store “Virgin Megastore”, there is the largest selection of such products, as well as books and CDs.

You can also buy souvenirs in the small shops open in the museums, and fossils for memory – in historical places. You can take them out of the country with complete peace of mind. As for the famous Lebanese cedar, there are many bans. Cedar in this Arab country is considered a sacred tree. Tourists are not allowed to take its seeds out of Lebanon. As a souvenir you can buy small cedar crafts, which, according to the sellers, are made exclusively from the broken branches.

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Tips for tourists

  • Despite the presence of national currency – Lebanese pounds – dollars are widely accepted in the country. You can even use them to pay in public institutions.
  • Money can be exchanged at banks. There are no small currency exchange offices in Lebanon.
  • You can bring dollars in cash into Lebanon or withdraw money from ATMs. There is a network of ATMs not only in Beirut, but also in small towns. They receive money in your choice of local currency or dollars.
  • You can only pay with a card in large supermarkets in Beirut. In other places, only cash is accepted.
  • Arabic and French are spoken in Lebanon. Most street signs are also in these two languages. A large part of the population also speaks English. There are more young people among the English-speaking Lebanese, and older residents tend not to speak the language.
  • The Lebanese, like the inhabitants of all Arab countries, are very fond of bargaining. It is quite normal to haggle between the owner and the seller in small stores and souvenir shops. It is customary here to bargain with cab and bus drivers, and try to bring down the price of any service.
  • Stores are open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Few supermarkets are open until 10 p.m. It is very rare for a retail establishment to close for a lunch break, as a rule, there are simply fewer salespeople in it during the day. On Saturdays and Sundays, most stores are closed.
  • The tap water is not suitable for drinking, it is best to use bottled water.
  • Tipping for service in this Arab country is never included in the bill. If you want, you can encourage the waiter, porter or cab driver. However it is customary here not to leave money on the table – it is handed from hand to hand.

Visa and security features

Modern Lebanon is a state that has just begun the transition to a peaceful life after the great war. In the southern regions, where there are pockets of conflict between Hezbollah and Israel, gunshots can still be heard.

The border between Israel and Lebanon is now closed. If a traveler has a stamp in his passport about visiting Israel, he will not be allowed to enter Lebanon. Even if the passport is new, all tourists during border control are asked if they have been to Israel. A similar situation applies in Israel. With a stamp in your passport about a visit to Lebanon, it is impossible to enter this country.

The situation on the territory bordering Syria is not stable enough either. The central part of Lebanon, where the capital of Lebanon is located, is considered safe. Foreign tourists are not recommended to travel south of Tyre and north of Tripoli.

Inside the country, security is provided by the regular army of Lebanon, the police and members of Hezbollah. On the streets of the capital there are a lot of people with guns. Inspections of the contents of backpacks or checks on the highways are quite common. Nevertheless, the Lebanese capital is recognized as a quite safe place. Tourists are only asked to observe simple rules regarding personal safety and the safety of property while walking around Beirut. Thefts are common in districts far from the center and at night.

How to get there

Beirut is the only Lebanese airport that is accessible to civil aviation. Planes fly here from Moscow as well as from some cities in Europe and the Middle East. You can get to Lebanon by direct flights as well as with a connection.

Although the country has three major seaports, they stop only for cruise ships. In the past, Lebanon and the island of Cyprus were connected by sea ferry, but today there are no passenger services in this direction.

It is possible to get to Lebanon by land only through Syria. There are several checkpoints between the two countries on the main highways – El-Arida, El-Aboudie, Masnaa and Kah. They are well controlled, but at the moment this option cannot be considered completely safe. There is fighting in Syria, so the checkpoints are periodically closed indefinitely.

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