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Beirut Travel Guide


Beirut Introduction


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Lebanon has been busy rebuilding its capital, Beirut, since peace returned to the embattled city in the early 1990s. Though the scars from years of civil war remain, life has returned to downtown Beirut. The former "Pearl of the Middle East" is once again an exquisite experience, a beguiling composition of cultures and faiths, perched on a breathtaking sweep of Mediterranean coastline. Beirut is now one of the most cosmopolitan and vibrant cities in the Middle East, and it's on the way to becomi...  Click here to see the full Beirut travel guide on Travel42 »

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Beirut Geography


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Beirut enjoys a spectacular setting: It doesn't so much lie on the Mediterranean as it juts out into the blue-green sea. Its shape resembles a big right triangle, bordered on one side by the foothills of Mount Lebanon and on two sides by water.   Click here to see the full Beirut travel guide on Travel42 »

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Beirut History


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Commerce and conquest, destruction and reconstruction have all played pivotal roles in Beirut's 5,000-year history. The city most likely began as a fortified city for the Canaanites before becoming a Phoenician port. A succession of empires and armies—Assyrians, Egyptians, Persians and Greeks—later conquered the city. The Romans then colonized Beirut (calling it Berytus) in 64 BC. They gave the city a distinctively Roman organization, building streets, temples and other public structures (such as the Roman Baths). Under Byzantine rule, Beirut continued to develop as an important cultural and commercial center, but in the sixth century a massive earthquake, followed by a tidal wave and fires, destroyed the city. An estimated 250,000 lives were lost.   Click here to see the full Beirut travel guide on Travel42 »

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Beirut Sightseeing & Things to Do


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Atmosphere—not necessarily a long list of sights—is what Beirut delivers best. Its mix of peoples, religions and cultures gives the city a dynamic edge, and watching Beirutis go about their everyday business is an interesting form of sightseeing. One of the best places to take it all in is along the Corniche. In a city of few open green spaces, this long seaside promenade functions as a public gathering space, almost like a park. You'll see people of all ages, in all forms of dress, walking, jogging, eating and talking there. The Corniche also has wonderful views of the coast. Pigeon Rocks, a group of rock formations set in a cove in Raouche, is the most dramatic of the views and a popular backdrop for evening drinks.   Click here to see the full Beirut travel guide on Travel42 »

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Beirut Nightlife


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The Lebanese approach to nightlife involves eating as much as drinking, and the combination can make for late nights. From the quietest to the most decadent, your options include sipping drinks at a cafe, taking in a movie or a live show, or dancing until dawn (even on tabletops) at the multitude of clubs and bars available. Of course, you can do all three. Many nightspots don't keep precise hours, but dance clubs generally open in the early evening and stay open until sunrise. Especially on weekends, many clubs charge a (sometimes hefty) minimum consumption fee, which is paid up front.   Click here to see the full Beirut travel guide on Travel42 »

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Beirut Restaurants & Dining


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One thing that unites most Lebanese is a love of eating. Beirut is awash with restaurants, cafes and snack bars offering everything from traditional Lebanese fare to sushi and salad bars. If you're craving international cuisines, you'll find plenty of restaurants serving up French and Italian fare. Japanese, Chinese and Thai foods are increasingly popular, too. Still, the overwhelming majority of restaurants serve Lebanese food. Once you have sampled it, it's obvious why. At its best, Lebanese food is typically Mediterranean, with a few exotic extras thrown in for good measure. The average meal is high on vegetables, low on meat and big on flavor.   Click here to see the full Beirut travel guide on Travel42 »

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