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Why visit 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.