Lebanon – geography
Despite its limited extent, approximately 60 km wide and 210 km long, Lebanon has large natural geographical differences. Two mountain ranges, Lebanon and Antillibanon, divide the country lengthwise, parallel to the coast. The highest reaches the mountains within the coast between Beirut and Tripoli. To the west lies a fertile coastal strip, widest north of Tripoli and south of Saida. East of the Lebanon Mountains lies the Bekaa Valley, which geologically is a continuation of the East African Rift Valley, a 15-20 km wide agricultural area that stretches up through central Lebanon for approximately 1000 m altitude. The valley is drained by the Orontesand Litani, which run respectively. north and south. To the east, Antilibanon forms the border with Syria. The climate varies a lot. Bekaadalen has hot, dry summers and mild winters, while the coast has a Mediterranean climate with mild, rainy winters. In winter, a lot of precipitation falls as snow in the mountains.
Lebanon has limited natural resources, both in terms of minerals and agriculture. Despite obvious problems in deforestation of the Lebanese mountains, logging continues with extensive erosion as a result. The famous cedar trees are now only found in delimited localities. The narrow coastal plain is very fertile and intensively cultivated, while in the also intensively cultivated Bekaadal there are problems with falling groundwater levels due to overexploitation of the water.
There has been no official census in the country since 1932 for fear of destroying the delicate political balance based on the weight of the ethnic and religious groups at the time. The Christians then constituted a small majority. The population is estimated at approximately 3.6 million in addition to approximately 405,000 Palestinians, of whom 215,000 live in refugee camps scattered across most of the country. In addition, there are guest workers from several countries, so the total de facto population is probably approximately 4.5 million.
- Countryaah: Do you know how many people there are in Lebanon? Check this site to see population pyramid and resident density about this country.
The population is composed of several religious groups, and the number and influence of the various groups was a significant point of contention in the civil war. It is estimated that 28% are now Christians (60% of them Maronites), 28% Sunni Muslims, 36% Shia Muslims and 8% Druze. The share of Christians has been declining, and especially the rise of Shia Muslims. In addition to the religious, the social differences are also very large. Lebanon has a small but very wealthy and cosmopolitan-oriented upper class, a fairly large, well-educated middle class by Middle Eastern conditions, and a large, predominantly Shia Muslim underclass. Beirut holds approximately half of the country’s population and has large, impoverished Shiite neighborhoods to the south that are growing rapidly. The second largest city, Tripoli, has a Sunni Muslim character.
Agriculture is characterized by small farms and outdated forms of farming that do not effectively utilize Lebanon’s limited but fertile land. Much is grown for the domestic market, but the country’s tradition of large exports of citrus fruits and vegetables is being rebuilt after the Civil War. Limited fishing is also growing, but in total the primary industries contribute only one tenth of GDP.
The Lebanese industry has suffered a lot during the civil war and has far from returned to the level before 1975. Important products are cement, refined oil products, precious stones, electronic equipment and clothing. Of greater importance is the tertiary sector, where Beirut is in the process of re-establishing its position as the Middle East’s trade and finance center. Tourism, which was of great importance before the Civil War, is also on the rise again. Pga. the many conflicts, however, this factor is extremely unstable. The political assassinations of recent years and the war in 2006 have partially halted development. Lebanon has very great potential in this area: breathtaking nature and many, very well-preserved archaeological remains.
The mountainous terrain and the devastation of the Civil War created major traffic difficulties, which were remedied during the 1990’s. North and south of Beirut, the roads were put in good condition and expanded, but due to the rapidly growing number of cars, they are still heavily congested. The road to Damascus over the mountains of Lebanon and the valley of the Bekaa are far too narrow; only on the Syrian side of Antilibanon do the incessant queues cease. The railway network was destroyed during the Civil War and has not been restored. In general, public transport remains very deficient; this is especially true in Beirut, where traffic is breaking down daily. Large motorway, tunnel and bridge facilities were launched here as part of the capital’s ambitious urban renewal and to relieve the extensive traffic in and out of the capital. Part of the southbound road network was destroyed in the summer of 2006.
Lebanon – language
The spoken language is variants of Syrian-Palestinian Arabic, which is strongly influenced by Aramaic and by Turkish, Persian and French loanwords. English and French are frequently used. Official language is modern standard Arabic, which is also used in writing. For culture and traditions of Lebanon, please check animalerts.
Lebanon – religion
The population of Lebanon is divided into 18 different religious groups, the largest of which are Shia Muslims, Maronites and Sunni Muslims; in addition, Greek Orthodox, Druze, and Armenian Christians. The groups play a crucial role in the country’s political life, because a number of private law matters are decided by their representatives. A significant part of the Lebanese education system is controlled by the religious groupings through private primary schools, colleges and universities. Provisions of the Constitution ensure that representatives of all the major religions of the country have a permanent seat in Parliament.