What to See in Beirut (Lebanon)

By | July 9, 2022

According to ITYPEMBA, Beirut is the capital of Lebanon and the largest city in the country. It is located in the central part of the Mediterranean coast on the hilly peninsula of St. George and is separated into a separate administrative unit. Here is the main port of Lebanon and the largest port on the eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea.

The first mention of Beirut dates back to the 18th century BC. The city became known during the reign of the Phoenicians under the name of Berytus. Berit was one of the most important trade centers in the Mediterranean. Beirut became the country’s capital in 1943, when Lebanon gained independence from France.. Beirut has been dubbed the “Paris of the Middle East” for its special appearance, in which the architecture of a wide variety of epochs, from the reign of the powerful Phenicia to the Ottoman Empire, has been mixed. Unfortunately, during the civil war of the late 20th century, the city was badly damaged. However, today the restoration of Beirut is proceeding at a rapid pace: most of the historical monuments have been restored, and modern buildings are growing next to them.

The main attractions of Beirut are located in the Central District. In the very heart of it is the Star Square., which is similar to the Parisian square of the same name. It got its name because of the streets that radiate from it, like the rays of a star, in all directions. There is a clock tower in the center of the square. Star Square is a great place for walking, in its surroundings there are many attractions of Beirut, and on the nearby streets there are shops, restaurants, cafes and bars. Near the square , the Grand Serail Palace is interesting. It was built in 1853 as the residence of the Ottoman sultans. After Lebanon gained independence, the Grand Serail turned into the Government House, now the Lebanese Prime Minister holds meetings and meetings here. A little further south is the Archaeological Park. where you can see the ruins of the Roman baths. To the east of Star Square rises the Cathedral of St. George – the main Maronite temple of the country. It was built in 1888 in neoclassical style. Roman columns have been preserved near the cathedral. Not far away is the Mosque of Omar or, as it is called, the Great Mosque. Initially, this place was the Cathedral of St. John, which was erected by the crusaders in 1113 – 1115. It was rebuilt into a mosque by the Mamluks in 1291. The mosque was badly damaged during the Israeli-Lebanese conflicts, but has been restored. In the vicinity of the Cathedral of St. George and the Mosque of Omar is the Martyrs’ Square. The square was built in the 30s of the 20th century in memory of the Lebanese who fell in the struggle for independence from Ottoman rule. Celebrations of one of the main national holidays of the country – the Day of the Martyrs, which is celebrated on May 6, take place here.

In the southern part of Beirut are the most famous museums of the city – the Lebanese National Museum and the Sursok Museum. The Lebanese National Museum was opened in 1942 in an Egyptian-style building. It is the largest archaeological museum in the country. About 100,000 exhibits are stored here, most of which belong to ancient and medieval times. The museum is known for one of the world’s largest collections of ancient Phoenician finds. The total exhibition area is 6000 square meters. m. The galleries of the museum follow according to chronology: from prehistoric times to the era of the Mamluks. The museum halls display the tools of labor and hunting of the most ancient tribes, ancient Phoenician texts, ceramic, glass and purple products that glorified Phenicia, Roman and Byzantine mosaics, as well as Arab and Mamluk coins and gold jewelry. The Sursock Museum features contemporary art. The museum is located in the building of the Sursok family villa, which was built in the late 19th century in the Italian style. The museum’s collections include 5,000 works from the 18th to 20th centuries: paintings, sculptures, ceramics, glass and icons, as well as some historical exhibits, such as one printed in Lebanon in 7 languages under the direction of Cardinal Richelieu 10-volume Bible. Also in the southern part of the city is the building “Pines”, which houses the French Embassy. From the south, it is adjacent to the largest park in the city with a pine grove.

The main place for walking in Beirut is the promenade, called in the French manner “Corniche”. Here you can have a great time in numerous restaurants and cafes, just walk or ride a bike. On the waterfront is the American University Beach . The University itself is located nearby. It houses the Archaeological Museum, which contains archaeological finds from both Lebanon and and from various parts of the Middle East. From the embankment you can see the symbol of Beirut – Pigeon rocks. These are two small rocky islands that rise right out of the water. Many romantic legends are associated with the Pigeon Rocks, ending with the lovers throwing themselves from the rocks into the sea. Not far from here stretches the vast beach area of ​​Rafik Hariri, which is full of tourists and locals during the summer months.

In the western part of Beirut is the commercial and financial center of the city – Hamra district. Most shops, banks, restaurants, clubs and cinemas are concentrated here. The Hamra area has a wide variety of shops – from souvenir shops to chic boutiques. This part of the city is populated predominantly by Christians, and therefore a lively nightlife is in full swing here. Other popular club areas in the city are the Mono, Jameisi and Ashrafi neighborhoods located near Star Square. In addition to Hamra, Burj Hamud street in the Armenian quarter and Verdun street are suitable for shopping.

From Beirut you can easily get to any part of the country. The city is surrounded by all sorts of attractions: natural, cultural and historical. Excursions to the ancient cities of Jebel, Tripoli, Bietddin, Saida, Sur, Anjar and Baalbek depart from here, and in the vicinity of Beirut along the Mediterranean coast there are numerous sandy beaches where you can not only sunbathe and swim, but also go diving, not far from the city in The mountains of Lebanon are home to famous ski resorts and nature reserves, where sections of ancient cedar forests are protected.

Beirut (Lebanon)