The Lebanese Republic, more commonly known as simply Lebanon, is a small country in Western Asia bordered by Syria to the north and east and by Israel to the south. Lebanon also has a long coastline on the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea. Before the Lebanese Civil War (1975-1990), the Lebanese capital Beirut was known as the ‘Paris of the Middle East’ because it attracted so many tourists. Today, the nightlife and hospitality of the people in this culturally rich country still attracts tourists to the original land of milk and honey.
What to see & do
Jeita Grotto – Jeita Grotto is a system of two separate but interconnected karstic limestone caves in the Nahr al-Kalb valley. It has an overall length of almost 8 kilometres. Jeita Grotto is a national symbol of Lebanon and a top tourist destination. The Upper Grotto allows for walking tours of the extraordinary stone forms, while in the Lower Grotto, visitors can take a short cruise on a rowboat. As a major tourist destination, there are other facilities and attractions in Jeita Grotto, including ropeways, gardens, traditional shops, restaurants, several sculptures, and a miniature zoo.
Beirut International Exhibition & Leisure Centre – BIEL is the largest multi-purpose facility in downtown Beirut. Since its opening in November 2001, it has been the venue for many concerts, exhibitions, conferences, and private events. BIEL is well-equipped with technologically advanced systems and has food and beverage outlets.
Sursock Museum – Sursock Museum, officially Nicolas Ibrahim Sursock Museum, is an art museum in the street of Rue Sursock in Beirut. The building itself is an excellent example of Lebanese architecture, and has housed over a hundred exhibitions and 5,000 pieces of modern and contemporary artwork by local and international artists dating from the 18th, 19th, and 20th
centuries, as well as Islamic art and Japanese engravings. A recent expansion project has increased the museum’s exhibitions room and added a library, bookshop, and auditorium.
How to get around within Lebanon
The main modes of local transportation are bus, taxis, and car rentals. Public transportation is distinguishable by their red-coloured license plates. Buses are frequent and cheap. The most important departure bus stations are the Charles Helou Station east of downtown (for north-bound routes) and the Cola “Station”, the intersection adjacent to the Cola bridge/overpass (for going south- or southeast of Beirut). Service taxis generally operate like buses with set routes, but can be hired to go to other places with some negotiation. The taxi usually accepts 4 to 6 passengers who share the fare. Car rental is available but quite expensive, as is fuel. The roads are more or less in poor condition.
How to get there
The primary air passenger gateway into Lebanon is Beirut-Rafic Hariri International Airport, formerly Beirut International Airport, located 9 kilometres from the city centre of Beirut. It is currently the only operational commercial airport in the country. Direct flights to Lebanon are available from Athens, Moscow, Algiers, Sharjah, Alexandria, Paris, Belgrade, Rome, Minsk, Adana, Stockholm, Cairo, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Berlin, Düsseldorf, Bahrain, Tehran, Baghdad, Kuwait, Frankfurt, Istanbul, Doha, Casablanca, Amman, Bucharest, Tunis, Istanbul, Jeddah, Lagos, Larnaca, Erbil, and Doha. Airlines that use the airport include the following; Aegean Airlines, Borajet, British Airways, Qatar Airways, Iraqi Airways, Iran Air, and the Lebanon’s flag carrier Middle East Airlines.
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