People

The Lebanese people are known for being sociable and outgoing. Although racism and classicism may be evident due to French influences, people do give courtesy when it is given to them. A simple “Bonjour” could give you special discounts in cafes and shops or even prevent you from getting overcharged in a taxi. Anything offered to you must be accepted, or you say “Thank You” and then smile so you are not perceived as being rude. Lebanese people are also very hospitable and welcoming. Most of them are likely to help you the best way they can, especially when getting around, although topics like politics and religion are generally avoided.

Geography

The country is mostly mountainous, with a long coastline on the west. Lebanon is surrounded by Syria to the north and east, and by Israel to the south. The Beqaa Valley, situated between Mount Lebanon in the west and the Anti-Lebanon mountain ranges in the east, has played a major role in the country’s agriculture and has remained as one of the most important farming regions there. Generally, winters in Lebanon are cool and will go below freezing temperature in elevated areas and summers are hot and humid. Winter and summer sports activities are also possible in the country, and its mountains are mostly covered with snow caps. Cedars, the national emblem, used to populate most of Lebanon’s forests, although they have been depleted due to man’s activities. The capital city of Beirut and Tripoli are among the country’s largest cities in terms of area and population.

History

Lebanon was home to the Phoenicians, a maritime culture in the ancient times. They paid their taxes well to invading colonies to let them live off in the mountains on their own. Later in history, they were invaded by many ancient civilizations like the Assyrians, Persians, Greeks, Romans, Arabs, the Ottoman Turks and the French. The Lebanese have adopted much from the different cultures that have come and gone in the country and this has contributed greatly in the country’s festivities, music, literature, cuisine, and religious and ethnic groups. In more recent times, Hezbollah, a political organization based in Lebanon, came in conflict with the Israeli military that led to the Lebanon War in 2006. The conflict ended with the help of the UN Security Council and the country has been able to revive from the destruction in both their economy and government. Lebanon had also been in conflict with neighboring country Syria because of their occupation in the country, although that has already been resolved, too.

Famous Attractions

Tourism in Lebanon still remains as a major industry in the country. There are many sights to see like museums, galleries, landmarks and world heritage sites like Anjar, Baalbeck, Byblos and Tyre. The Qadar Valley and Cedar Forests are also famous attractions because of their spectacular view of nature. Aside from that, many sports and other events can be enjoyed in Lebanon. The country has six ski resorts that offer visitors various winter activities like cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and snowmobiling. Camping, caving, hiking, cycling and many other leisure sports are also possible all throughout the country. In autumn and spring, one may be able to play both winter and summer sports on the same day. There are also many international music festivals held in the country and concerts are also held throughout the entire year in different public places.

Nightlife

The nightlife in Lebanon can be considered world-class. Eating out is a particularly frequent choice of night activity in the metropolitan city of Beirut. Restaurants and cafes become full at night with customers ranging from very young to very old people. Most of the teenagers and adolescents party after eating out. Two of the most famous nightspots in Beirut are Gemmayze and Monot Street, both located in the Ashrafieh District of Beirut. There are also many other clubs, discos and dancing halls that dot the city. It is expected for people who are clubbing to dress up as this will give a good impression to the Lebanese. Many clubs close, open or change their names in just the blink of an eye, so to stay updated, it is best to check out the local press or better yet, see the place for yourself. There are no curfews in Beirut, so parties can last until the wee hours of the morning.

Cuisine

Lebanese cuisine has the class of European cooking mixed with exotic ingredients from the East. Today, it is known for giving more importance on the health benefits like in the Mediterranean style of cooking. In Beirut, a real visit could be considered once one has tasted the traditional Lebanese Mezza, a mix of hot and cold dishes, which includes salads, caviars and patties. (Editor's Note: The previous sentence was ambiguous to me. I'm not entirely certain what is trying to be said, so I may have corrected it incorrectly). Lebanon is also known for its sweets and the city of Tripoli is the best place to get them. Tripoli has been dubbed the “Sweet Capital” of Lebanon. The country is also well-known for its wines, which are made from grapes, plantations of which are found mostly in the Bekaa Valley.