25th Jun, 2024

Discover Lebanon: A Timeless Blend of Culture, History, and Natural Beauty


With a history spanning over 7,000 years, Lebanon is a unique fusion of Western and Middle Eastern cultures, blending tradition with modernity and Christianity with Islam. This captivating mix, combined with luxurious beach resorts, delectable cuisine, and a vibrant capital city, makes Lebanon an attractive destination for tourists. Are you drawn to the cultural melting pot of the Middle East? Here are some intriguing facts about Lebanon that might pique your interest:

1. A Magnificent Roman Ruin

Among the world's best-preserved Roman temple ruins is the Temple of Bacchus, also known as the Baalbek Temple. Situated in the Bekaa Valley's Al-Biqā, this impressive site was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984. Likely commissioned in the second century AD by Roman Emperor Antoninus Pius, the temple's detailed history is largely unknown until the Greek takeover in the fourth century AD. A German expedition began restoring the monument in the late 1800s after excavating two of the larger temples. During the Lebanese civil war in the 1970s, the site became a stronghold for Syrian and Palestinian forces. Although currently within an FCO no-go area near the eastern border, future changes could make it more accessible. The Temple of Bacchus, with its massive columns and intricate carvings, is a must-see for history enthusiasts and a stunning example of Roman architecture.

2. Numerous Holidays Are Observed

Lebanon observes one of the highest numbers of public holidays worldwide, with sixteen official holidays, surpassed only by Colombia and India. Why so many? Public holidays help maintain harmony across Lebanon’s various sects, with the country recognizing 18 different sects and a governmental structure that divides power among them. Most holidays are religious, reflecting Lebanon’s cultural diversity and religious tolerance. For instance, Lebanon celebrates two Easter holidays to honor both Orthodox and Catholic Christians, unlike many countries that observe only one. Eid al-Fitr, a significant Muslim holiday, is also widely celebrated, showcasing the country's inclusive nature.

3. French Influence

Lebanon and France have shared a close connection since at least the thirteenth century, with Louis IX said to have safeguarded the Maronites, Lebanon's largest Christian group. The alliance with France strengthened in the sixteenth century under François I and the Ottoman Empire’s Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent. By the late 1800s, French Jesuit missionaries had established schools and founded Saint Joseph University in 1875. As a result of the 1916 Sykes-Picot Agreement during World War I, France annexed Lebanon. The Lebanese Republic's constitution, written in 1926, remained under French control until Lebanon gained independence in 1943. Today, French influence persists in Lebanon’s culture, cuisine, and education, with many Lebanese speaking French. About 23,000 French nationals live in Lebanon, and 210,000 Lebanese reside in France, reflecting this enduring connection.

4. The Oldest City in the World

Byblos, located about 20 miles (30 km) north of Beirut, is the world's oldest continuously inhabited city. Its name derives from the Greek word for papyrus, which was exported to the Aegean through Byblos. Interestingly, the English word "Bible" originates from Byblos, meaning "papyrus book." Archaeological findings suggest Byblos was inhabited as early as the Neolithic era (8000-4000 BC). Known to ancient Egyptians as Kubna, Byblos was a major harbor for shipping timber and cedar to Egypt. The city is also the birthplace of the Phoenician alphabet and served as a significant trading hub, connecting ancient civilizations and cultures.

Relax on the beautiful Mediterranean coast, explore the historical city of Byblos, or go wine tasting in the Bekaa Valley. Lebanon's tourist destinations are safe and welcoming, with stringent security measures ensuring your peace of mind. Find your perfect Lebanese adventure—start planning your trip now!


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Written by Daniel.

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