Lebanon – Beirut

As the capital of Lebanon and its largest city and port, Beirut is the gateway to this intriguing land. The area around Beirut has been inhabited for at least five thousand years, making it one of the oldest cities in the world.

It is hard to forget the 15 years of civil war that ravaged most parts of the city and it may be even hard to remember a time before the war when Beirut was probably the most westernised city in the Arab Middle East.

For those who do visit 21st century Beirut, you will find a city that is sophisticated and cosmopolitan but at the same time reserved and aware of its past and place in history.

Beirut has a reputation. There is no getting away from it. As with many reputations, it may have been well earned at one time but as time passes the reputation bears little resemblance to the reality. Such it is with Beirut.

It is over 30 years since the civil war in Lebanon ended and in that time Beirut has developed in to a chic and modern capital city, much as it was before the war. The nickname of the ‘Paris of the Middle East’ was well deserved and even now you can get the same sense from the European buildings and the French influence throughout the city.  Anyone who now wants to visit Beirut will find a vibrant and confident city. The young of Beirut are looking to the west as well as to their history and heritage and this melting pot of cultures creates a city that is always changing.

Believe it or not, Beirut is now one of the premier party destinations in the Middle East. World famous DJ’s play sets in an array of world class nightclubs and there are a vast range of bars, restaurants and a booming night time economy.

Beirut is no ordinary capital city. It is one with a reputation. A good reputation that is getting better all the time.

As Seen in…

 

Places to visit on our Lebanon Holidays

Lebanon was a great surprise. A warm welcome and a great tour. Beirut was not what we were expecting at all and somewhere I would like to go back to and spend more time.

Pete Buchanon, Australia

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Why visit Beirut?

Beirut is famous for many things. One of the highlights of any visit to Beirut is the food. Lebanese food is renowned all over the world and for very good reason. Packed full of flavours, fresh, light and great value eating out in Beirut is a true pleasure. The only thing to worry about is which of the multitude of fantastic cafes, restaurants and bars you will choose! Beirut has it all covered from cheap and tasty street food to the latest international trends. Eating out here is an event and one of the best things to do in Beirut.

There are plenty of reasons why you should visit Beirut. Any tour of Lebanon is going to visit the capital city but make sure that you take your time to see the city and get a feel for the ‘real’ Beirut. Your first stop should downtown Beirut and a visit to Martyrs Square. The square is named after the martyrs who were executed there during the Ottoman rule. Nowadays the square is a great example of the religious mix of the city with the Saint George Cathedral and the Blue Mosque both dominating the square.

Another landmark of Beirut that you should make time to visit is the Pigeon Rocks, otherwise known as the Rock of Raouché. These limestone formations are a great place to relax and look out over the sea with the many locals who will join you. It may be a bit of a tourist trap but it is still worth the visit. For the more adventurous a visit to Luna Park allows for great views of the Pigeon Rocks from a top the Ferris wheel.

A visit to the Downtown region of the city, located around Place d’Etolie, is also recommended. During the civil war, this area was split in two by the Christian and Muslim factions along the infamous Green Line. It has now undergone a multi-billion dollar programme of restoration and is one of the most attractive localities in Beirut. A great way to see this part of the city is on a walking tour with a local guide who will be able to point out to you the repair and restoration that has been done.

Beirut is a mesmerising city. It is not a restful place and there is a lot of hustle and bustle but for those that visit and enjoy a surprise and having their preconceptions challenged, then Beirut is a must visit destinations.

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