According to ehotelat, the capital of Lebanon, Beirut, is one of the oldest and most interesting cities in the Mediterranean, the “Paris of the Middle East”, as it was once called. Today, Beirut is the financial and banking center not only of Lebanon, but of the entire Middle East. The territory on which the city is located has been inhabited for thousands of years: the first mention of Beirut dates back to the 15th century. BC. under the Phoenician name “Barut”, although the settlement existed in the XXX century. BC. The city center, Hamra district, is the commercial and financial heart of the capital. There are countless banks, restaurants, shops, etc. here. It is worth visiting the Grand Serail (Grand Palace), the Clock Tower, the Archaeological Museum, next to which there is a huge beach, the National Museum, Etoile Square and the Parliament building, the Cathedral of St. Elias and St. George, the casino building, the Rausch and Corniche embankments, an amusement park, countless ruins from Roman times and, of course, the beautiful beaches of Rafik Hariri Beach. The area is predominantly Christian and offers endless possibilities for nightlife lovers. In the south of Beirut, it is worth visiting the mosques of Amir, Assaf and Omar, the Nejme square with its Roman columns, the Martir fortress, the building of the French embassy, and the “Dog River”, on the rocks near which you can find traces of the conquerors, starting with Ramses II and Nebuchadnezzar. In the resort suburb of Jounieh, you can visit the statue of the Virgin Mary, located on Mount Harris, the temple of St. Anthony of Padua and the temple of St. Paul, as well as the famous “Casino du Liban”. 50 km south of the capital is the summer residence of the President of the Republic, the Beit ad-Din palace complex, built at the end of the 18th century. Also nearby is Moussa’s castle and the Lebanese cedar grove. 37 km north of Beirut is the city of Byblos (Jbeil), one of the oldest cities in the world. It was here that the Phoenician alphabet and the Phoenician Mediterranean merchant fleet were born. On the territory of this ancient city, you can find monuments of many civilizations that have been here during its history: Les Dames de Byblos, religious buildings of the III millennium BC, and Temple en El, fortress walls of the same period; a theater built in 218 BC; ancient tombs of the Phoenician kings (XIX century BC); Church of John the Baptist; castle of the 12th century; watchtowers from the time of the Crusades, etc. Be sure to visit Baalbek, on the territory of which there is a huge temple complex from the time of the Roman Empire, preserved in excellent condition. Here you can see the main staircase, built of huge stone slabs, the main courtyard and the pool for ritual ablution, the temple of Bacchus, the god of winemaking, the acropolis, the pantheon with columns 22 m high, the temple of Jupiter and the ruins of the temple of Venus. The mystery of the creation of the temples of Baalbek still causes controversy among scientists – huge monolithic stone blocks were used in the construction, as in Egyptian temples. It is also worth visiting the city of Tripoli, where you can admire the narrow streets, ancient bazaars and architecture of the XII-XIV centuries. The Phoenician port, which was located on the territory of Tripoli and was one of the cultural and commercial centers of the Mediterranean, was first mentioned in records as early as the 9th century. BC. In the old part of the city, numerous mosques of the XIV century, medieval religious buildings, a caravanserai, many madrasahs, a fortress, etc. Local markets deserve special attention, many of which have been operating for several centuries. 30 km from Tripoli is Bsharre, near which is the famous “Cedar Forest of God”, Arts Ar-rab. Some of the trees in this forest are over 2000 years old, and the famous Five Christs sculpture was made from the trunk of one of the dead trees. Nearby is the Nahr-Kadisha gorge, in the rocks of which impregnable Maronite monasteries are cut down. It is also worth visiting the ancient cities of Tire and Saida, which are mentioned in the Bible. On the territory of these cities, countless ancient buildings have been preserved, including a necropolis and an aqueduct carved into the rocks, the fortress of Qalaat al-Bahr, the temple complex of Eshmun and much more. Ain Anjar, the ruins of the residence of the Umayyad caliphs, also deserves attention.
National cuisine of Lebanon
Lebanese cuisine combines Arabic and Mediterranean traditions. A characteristic feature is the use of a large amount of fresh vegetables, herbs and spices, pork, chicken, fish, olive oil and pine nuts. Most often, dishes are cooked on the grill or baked. The most famous local delicacy can be called a set of snacks “mezze”, which can include up to fifty different dishes: “burgul” (millet with onions), “tanklish” and “zhebne-baladiye” (sheep’s milk cheese), baked eggplant “babaganuzh ”, “mzhaddara” (lentils with rice and onions), “wara-orish” (parsley and onion salad), “hommos” (mashed chickpeas with sesame oil), etc. It is also worth trying “kibbe” – meat pate with crushed wheat, “lam-mishvi” – lamb with peppers, onions and tomatoes, “kafta” – lamb cutlets with greens, fried on coals, “kastaletu” – lamb chop, “dolma”, fried pigeons. Lentil stew “hinbi” and paper-thin bread “khabiz-libneni” are also traditional. For dessert in Lebanon, they serve oriental sweets, cakes, cheese and rice halva, dozens of types of baklava, mhalabie semolina pudding, fruits, as well as many local sweets such as maamul, knefe, karbuzh semolina biscuits. From drinks, strong Arabic coffee, tea with mint, ayran, fresh juices and “dzhelab” – raisin compote with pine nuts are used. Lebanon is also famous for its excellent wines. From strong drinks they use “arak” and cognac “Ksara”.