Beirut Travel Guide
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Beirut Travel Guide
Beirut is the capital city of Lebanon with a population of approximately 2.1 million people in its metropolitan area. The city is on a relatively small headland jutting into the east Mediterranean. It is by far the biggest city in Lebanon. Due to Lebanon’s small size, the capital has always held the status as the only true cosmopolitan city in the country, and since independence, has been the commercial and financial hub of Lebanon.
Following World War II, Lebanon gained its independence from France and Beirut became its capital in 1943 – Bechara El-Khoury and Riad El-Solh, Lebanon’s first president and prime minister respectively, are considered the founders of the modern Republic of Lebanon and national heroes. Beirut thrived as a major commercial and tourist center of the Middle East. It was a top destination among wealthy Arabs and European tourists, due to Beirut’s unique geography, climate, diverse culture, and freedom. Beirut was seen as the “European gateway to the Middle East” and vice versa, and was often called the “Paris of the Middle East”.
Beirut is home to more than 10 recognized religious sects. Religious tension between the Christian and Muslim factions sparked a brutal civil war in 1975. The conflict lasted nearly a decade and a half, ravaging the city. The central area of the city, previously the focus of much of the commercial and cultural activities, became a no-man’s land. Throughout the war, the city was divided between the Muslim west part and the Christian east, and tensions between different sects remain to this day.
Since the end of the war in 1989, the people of Lebanon have been rebuilding Beirut. The city has undertaken an aggressive rebuilding policy. The city is working hard to regain its status as a tourist, cultural and intellectual center in the Middle East which it has lost to Cairo as well as a center for commerce, fashion and media which is dominated by Dubai and other rich Gulf states. However Beirut with the rest of the Middle East has gained momentum.
When to visit Beirut
Beirut enjoys a Mediterranean climate. Come in April to June for warm, dry days and long, cool evenings (19–25 °C). Temperatures in July and August rise to around 30 °C (86 °F) and humidity can be somewhat overwhelming – make sure your hotel has air conditioning. The wettest months are December to February so bring a good coat, rain boots, and umbrella because the rain often comes in torrential downpours. Streets have poor drainage and can quickly turn into rivers, so waterproof boots are highly recommended for the rainy season. Lebanon’s ski season runs from December till early April.
Despite the diverse climate that changes noticeably per season, the weather is very predictable; the weather forecast, on radio and TV stations are normally very accurate, so you normally shouldn’t find yourself caught in a sudden downpour in the winter months.
Lebanon Vacation Rentals
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