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Lebanon Travel Guide: Lebanon Overview

The Lebanese Recipes Kitchen (The home of delicious Lebanese Recipes and Middle Eastern food recipes) presents Lebanon Travel Guide. This post is about an Overview of Lebanon.

Lebanon’s diverse patchwork of Mediterranean-lapped coast, rugged alpine peaks and green, fertile valleys is packed into a parcel of land some 225km (140 miles) long and 46km (29 miles) wide.

Once known as the ‘Paris of the East’, Beirut commands a magnificent position, thrust into the Mediterranean. Behind the city are towering mountains, visible when the traffic haze settles down. The Corniche seafront boasts beaches, restaurants, theaters and a dazzling variety of shops and restaurants.

Beirut suffered greatly from Lebanon’s 16-year civil war, but following an impressive and ongoing process of reconstruction, the city was poised to become one of the most popular tourist and business destinations in the Middle East before the Israeli attacks of 2006.

Outside of the capital, several UNESCO World Heritage Sites await, many of which reflect the country’s various ancient civilizations. Phoenician tombs, Roman temples, Crusader castles and Mamlouk mosques can be found in the cities and ruins of Baalbeck, Byblos and Tyre. The town of Aanjar in the Bekaa Valley contains an Umayyad site from the 8th century - a unique historical example of a commercial center that was inland. Within the mountainous interior of the Kadisha Valley, ancient monasteries and churches can be seen, including a chapel built into the rock face.

Lebanon lies to the east of the Mediterranean, sharing borders to the north and east with the Syrian Arab Republic, and to the south with Israel/Palestinian Territory. It is a mountainous country and between the two mountain ranges of Jebel Lubnan (Mount Lebanon), Mount Hermon and the Anti-Lebanon range lies the fertile Bekaa Valley. Approximately half of the country lies at an altitude of over 900m (3,000ft). Into this small country is packed such a variety of scenery that there are few places to equal it in beauty and choice. The famous cedar trees grow high in the mountains, while the lower slopes bear grapes, apricots, plums, peaches, figs, olives and barley, often on terraces painstakingly cut out from the mountainsides. On the coastal plain, citrus fruit, bananas and vegetables are cultivated, with radishes and beans grown in tiny patches.

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