Beirut city skyline in the early 2000s
Paris of the East
Location of Beirut within Lebanon
|• Mayor||Jamal Itani|
|• City||19.8 km2 (7.6 sq mi)|
|• Metro||67 km2 (26 sq mi)|
|• City||c. 361,366 |
|• Metro||c. 2,200,000 |
|Time zone||UTC+2 (EET)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC+3 (EEST)|
|Area code(s)||+961 (01)|
|ISO 3166 code||LB-BA|
|Patron Saint||Saint George|
Beirut (/ˈbeɪruːt/; Arabic: بيروت, Bayrūt, pronunciation (help·info); French: Beyrouth) is the capital and largest city of Lebanon. No recent population census has been conducted, but 2007 estimates ranged from slightly more than 1 million to 2.2 million as part of Greater Beirut. Located on a peninsula at the midpoint of Lebanon's Mediterranean coast, Beirut is the country's largest and main seaport.
It is one of the oldest cities in the world, having been inhabited for more than 5,000 years. The first historical mention of Beirut is found in the Amarna letters from the New Kingdom of Egypt, which date to the 15th century BC.
Beirut is Lebanon's seat of government and plays a central role in the Lebanese economy, with most banks and corporations based in its Central District, Badaro, Rue Verdun, Hamra, Ryad el Soloh street, and Achrafieh. Following the destructive Lebanese Civil War, Beirut's cultural landscape underwent major reconstruction. Identified and graded for accountancy, advertising, banking/finance and law, Beirut is ranked as a Beta World City by the Globalization and World Cities Research Network.
The English name Beirut is an early transcription of the Arabic name Bayrūt (بيروت). The same name's transcription into French is Beyrouth, which was sometimes used during Lebanon's French occupation. The Arabic name derives from Phoenician Berot or Birut (𐤁𐤓𐤕, BRT). This was a modification of the Canaanite and Phoenician word be'rot, meaning "the wells", in reference the site's accessible water table. The etymology is shared by the biblical Beeroth (Hebrew: בְּאֵרוֹת) which was, however, a different settlement somewhere near Jerusalem. The name is first attested in the 15th century BC, when it was mentioned in three Akkadian cuneiform tablets of the Amarna letters, letters sent by King Ammunira of "Biruta" to Amenhotep III or IV of Egypt. "Biruta" was also mentioned in the Amarna letters from King Rib-Hadda of Byblos.
The Greeks hellenized the name as Bērytós (Greek: Βηρυτός), which the Romans latinized as Berytus.[a] When it attained the status of a Roman colony, it was notionally refounded and its official name was emended to Colonia Iulia Augusta Felix Berytus to include its imperial sponsors.
Under the Seleucid Empire, the city was refounded and known as Laodicea in honor of the mother of Seleucus the Great. It was distinguished from several other places named in her honor by the longer names Laodicea in Phoenicia (Greek: Λαοδίκεια ἡ ἐν Φοινίκῃ, Laodíkeia hē en Phoiníkēi) or Laodicea in Canaan (Phoenician: 𐤋𐤋𐤀𐤃𐤊𐤀 𐤀𐤔 𐤁𐤊𐤍𐤏𐤍, LLʾDKʾ ʾŠ BKNʿN).
Beirut was settled more than 5,000 years ago and the area had been inhabited for far longer. Several prehistoric archaeological sites have been discovered within the urban area of Beirut, revealing flint tools of sequential periods dating from the Middle Paleolithic and Upper Paleolithic through the Neolithic to the Bronze Age.
Beirut I (Minet el-Hosn) was listed as "the town of Beirut" (French: Beyrouth ville) by Louis Burkhalter and said to be on the beach near the Orent and Bassoul hotels on the Avenue des Français in central Beirut. The site was discovered by Lortet in 1894 and discussed by Godefroy Zumoffen in 1900. The flint industry from the site was described as Mousterian and is held by the Museum of Fine Arts of Lyon.
Beirut II (Umm el-Khatib) was suggested by Burkhalter to have been south of Tarik el Jedideh, where P.E. Gigues discovered a Copper Age flint industry at around 100 metres (328 feet) above sea level. The site had been built on and destroyed by 1948.
Beirut III (Furn esh-Shebbak), listed as Plateau Tabet, was suggested to have been located on the left bank of the Beirut River. Burkhalter suggested that it was west of the Damascus road, although this determination has been criticized by Lorraine Copeland. P. E. Gigues discovered a series of Neolithic flint tools on the surface along with the remains of a structure suggested to be a hut circle. Auguste Bergy discussed polished axes that were also found at this site, which has now completely disappeared as a result of construction and urbanization of the area.
Beirut IV (Furn esh-Shebbak, river banks) was also on the left bank of the river and on either side of the road leading eastwards from the Furn esh Shebbak police station towards the river that marked the city limits. The area was covered in red sand that represented Quaternary river terraces. The site was found by Jesuit Father Dillenseger and published by fellow Jesuits Godefroy Zumoffen, Raoul Describes and Auguste Bergy. Collections from the site were made by Bergy, Describes and another Jesuit, Paul Bovier-Lapierre. A large number of Middle Paleolithic flint tools were found on the surface and in side gullies that drain into the river. They included around 50 varied bifaces accredited to the Acheulean period, some with a lustrous sheen, now held at the Museum of Lebanese Prehistory. Henri Fleisch also found an Emireh point amongst material from the site, which has now disappeared beneath buildings.
Beirut V (Nahr Beirut, Beirut River) was discovered by Dillenseger and said to be in an orchard of mulberry trees on the left bank of the river, near the river mouth, and to be close to the railway station and bridge to Tripoli. Levallois flints and bones and similar surface material were found amongst brecciated deposits. The area has now been built on.
Beirut VI (Patriarchate) was a site discovered while building on the property of the Lebanese Evangelical School for Girls in the Patriarchate area of Beirut. It was notable for the discovery of a finely styled Canaanean blade javelin suggested to date to the early or middle Neolithic periods of Byblos and which is held in the school library.
Beirut VII, the Rivoli Cinema and Byblos Cinema sites near the Bourj in the Rue el Arz area, are two sites discovered by Lorraine Copeland and Peter Wescombe in 1964 and examined by Diana Kirkbride and Roger Saidah. One site was behind the parking lot of the Byblos Cinema and showed collapsed walls, pits, floors, charcoal, pottery and flints. The other, overlooking a cliff west of the Rivoli Cinema, was composed of three layers resting on limestone bedrock. Fragments of blades and broad flakes were recovered from the first layer of black soil, above which some Bronze Age pottery was recovered in a layer of grey soil. Pieces of Roman pottery and mosaics were found in the upper layer. Middle Bronze Age tombs were found in this area, and the ancient tell of Beirut is thought to be in the Bourj area.
The oldest settlement was on an easily-defended island in the river that, however, progressively silted up and joined it to the mainland. Excavations in the downtown area have unearthed layers of Phoenician, Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine, Arab, Crusader, and Ottoman remains.
The Phoenician port of Beirut was located between Rue Foch and Rue Allenby on the north coast. The port or harbor was excavated and reported on several years ago and now lies buried under the city. Another suggested port or dry dock was claimed to have been discovered ~1 kilometre (0.62 miles) to the west, in 2011 by a team of Lebanese archaeologists from the Directorate General of Antiquities of Lebanese University. Controversy arose on 26 June 2012 when authorization was given by Lebanese Minister of Culture Gaby Layoun for a private company called Venus Towers Real Estate Development Company to destroy the ruins (archaeological site BEY194) in the $500 million construction project of three skyscrapers and a garden behind Hotel Monroe in downtown Beirut. Two later reports by an international committee of archaeologists appointed by Layoun, including Hanz Curver, and an expert report by Ralph Pederson, a member of the institute of Nautical Archaeology and now teaching at Marburg in Germany, dismissed the claims that the trenches were a port, on various criteria. The exact function of site BEY194 may now never be discovered, and the issue raised heated emotions and led to increased coverage on the subject of Lebanese heritage in the press.
In 140 BC, the Phoenician city was destroyed by Diodotus Tryphon in his contest with Antiochus VII Sidetes for the throne of the Macedonian Seleucid monarchy. Laodicea in Phoenicia was built upon the same site on a more conventional Hellenistic plan. Present-day Beirut overlies this ancient one, and little archaeology was carried out until after the end of the civil war in 1991. The salvage excavations after 1993 have yielded new insights in the layout and history of this Hellenistic period. Public architecture included several areas and buildings.
Mid-1st-century coins from Berytus bear the head of Tyche, goddess of fortune; on the reverse, the city's symbol appears: a dolphin entwines an anchor. This symbol was later taken up by the early printer Aldus Manutius in 15th century Venice.
Laodicea was conquered by Pompey in 64 BC and the name Berytus was restored to it. The city was assimilated into the Roman Empire, veteran soldiers were sent there, and large building projects were undertaken.
Beirut was considered the most Roman city in the eastern provinces of the Roman Empire. Furthermore, the veterans of two Roman legions were established in the city of Berytus by emperor Augustus: the 5th Macedonian and the 3rd Gallic Legions. Consequently, the city quickly became fully Romanized: it was one of four Roman colonies (coloniae) in the Syria-Phoenicia region and the only one with full Italian rights (ius Italicum) exempting its citizens from imperial taxation.
Its territory under Claudius reached the Bekaa valley and included Heliopolis (Baalbek): it was the only mostly Latin-speaking area in the Syria-Phoenicia region, because it was settled by Roman colonists who even promoted agriculture in the fertile lands around Yammoune. From the 1st century BC, the Bekaa Valley served as a source of grain for the Roman provinces of the Levant and even for Rome itself. In 14 BC, during the reign of Herod the Great, Berytus became a colony. Its law school was widely known; two of Rome's most famous jurists, Papinian and Ulpian, both natives of Phoenicia, taught there under the Severan emperors. When Justinian assembled his Pandects in the 6th century, a large part of the corpus of laws was derived from these two jurists, and in AD 533 Justinian recognized the school as one of the three official law schools of the empire. After the 551 Beirut earthquake the students were transferred to Sidon.
The post-war salvage excavations since 1993 have yielded new insights in the layout and history of Roman Berytus. Public architecture included several bath complexes, colonnaded streets, a circus and theater; residential areas were excavated in the Garden of Forgiveness, Martyrs' Square and the Beirut Souks.
Beirut was conquered by the Muslims in 635. Prince Arslan bin al-Mundhir founded the Principality of Sin el Fil in Beirut in 759. From this principality developed the later Principality of Mount Lebanon, which was the basis for the establishment of Greater Lebanon, today's Lebanon. As a trading centre of the eastern Mediterranean, Beirut was overshadowed by Acre during the Middle Ages. From 1110 to 1291, the town and Lordship of Beirut was part of the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem. John of Ibelin, the Old Lord of Beirut (1179–1236) rebuilt the city after the battles with Saladin and also built the House of Ibelin palace in Beirut.
Under the Ottoman sultan Selim I (1512–1520), the Ottomans conquered Syria including present-day Lebanon. Beirut was controlled by local Druze emirs throughout the Ottoman period. One of them, Fakhr-al-Din II, fortified it early in the 17th century, but the Ottomans reclaimed it in 1763. With the help of Damascus, Beirut successfully broke Acre's monopoly on Syrian maritime trade and for a few years supplanted it as the main trading centre in the region. During the succeeding epoch of rebellion against Ottoman hegemony in Acre under Jezzar Pasha and Abdullah Pasha, Beirut declined to a small town with a population of about 10,000 and was an object of contention between the Ottomans, the local Druze, and the Mamluks. After Ibrahim Pasha of Egypt captured Acre in 1832, Beirut began its revival.
By the second half of the nineteenth century, Beirut was developing close commercial and political ties with European imperial powers, particularly France. European interests in Lebanese silk and other export products transformed the city into a major port and commercial centre. This boom in cross-regional trade allowed certain groups, such as the Sursock family, to establish trade and manufacturing empires that further strengthened Beirut's position as a key partner in the interests of imperial dynasties. Meanwhile, Ottoman power in the region continued to decline. Sectarian and religious conflicts, power vacuums, and changes in the political dynamics of the region culminated in the 1860 Lebanon conflict. Beirut became a destination for Maronite Christian refugees fleeing from the worst areas of the fighting on Mount Lebanon and in Damascus. This in turn altered the ethnic composition of Beirut itself, sowing the seeds of future ethnic and religious troubles there and in greater Lebanon. However, Beirut was able to prosper in the meantime. This was again a product of European intervention, and also a general realization amongst the city's residents that commerce, trade, and prosperity depended on domestic stability.
In 1888, Beirut was made capital of a vilayet (governorate) in Syria, including the sanjaks (prefectures) Latakia, Tripoli, Beirut, Acre and Bekaa. By this time, Beirut had grown into a cosmopolitan city and had close links with Europe and the United States. It also became a centre of missionary activity that spawned educational institutions, such as the American University of Beirut. Provided with water from a British company and gas from a French one, silk exports to Europe came to dominate the local economy. After French engineers established a modern harbor in 1894 and a rail link across Lebanon to Damascus and Aleppo in 1907, much of the trade was carried by French ships to Marseille. French influence in the area soon exceeded that of any other European power. The 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica reported a population consisting of 36,000 Muslims, 77,000 Christians, 2,500 Jews, 400 Druze and 4,100 foreigners. At the start of the 20th century, Salim Ali Salam was one of the most prominent figures in Beirut, holding numerous public positions including deputy from Beirut to the Ottoman parliament and President of the Municipality of Beirut. Given his modern way of life, the emergence of Salim Ali Salam as a public figure constituted a transformation in terms of the social development of the city.
In his 2003 book entitled Beirut and its Seven Families, Dr. Yussef Bin Ahmad Bin Ali Al Husseini says:
The seven families of Beirut are the families who bonded among each other and made the famous historical agreement with the governor of the Syrian Coast in 1351 to protect and defend the city of Beirut and its shores, and chase the invaders and stop their progress towards it.
These families are:
All other families of Beirut are considered to have descended from one of those seven main branches, such as Nahhas, Yanout Inkidar, Hajjal, Hamza and others who derived from the Sinno Family (p. 14).
Sinno is considered to be an old family in Beirut, descending from the Muslim Leader Tareq Bin Ziyad.
Following World War I and the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, Beirut, along with the rest of Lebanon, was placed under the French Mandate. Lebanon achieved independence in 1943, and Beirut became the capital city. The city remained a regional intellectual capital, becoming a major tourist destination and a banking haven, especially for the Persian Gulf oil boom.
This era of relative prosperity ended in 1975 when the Lebanese Civil War broke out throughout the country. During most of the war, Beirut was divided between the Muslim west part and the Christian east. The downtown area, previously the home of much of the city's commercial and cultural activity, became a no man's land known as the Green Line. Many inhabitants fled to other countries. About 60,000 people died in the first two years of the war (1975–1976), and much of the city was devastated. A particularly destructive period was the 1978 Syrian siege of Achrafiyeh, the main Christian district of Beirut. Syrian troops relentlessly shelled the eastern quarter of the city, but Christian militias defeated multiple attempts by Syria's elite forces to capture the strategic area in a three-month campaign later known as the Hundred Days' War.
Another destructive chapter was the 1982 Lebanon War, during which most of West Beirut was under siege by Israeli troops. In 1983, French and US barracks were bombed, killing 241 American servicemen, 58 French servicemen, six civilians and the two suicide bombers.
Since the end of the war in 1990, the people of Lebanon have been rebuilding Beirut, and by the start of the 2006 Israel-Lebanon conflict the city had somewhat regained its status as a tourist, cultural and intellectual center in the Middle East and as a centre for commerce, fashion, and media. The reconstruction of downtown Beirut has been largely driven by Solidere, a development company established in 1994 by Prime Minister Rafic Hariri. The city has been host to the Asian Club Basketball Championship and the Asian Football Cup and has hosted the Miss Europe pageant eight times, 1960–1964, 1999, 2001–2002.
Rafic Hariri was assassinated in 2005 near the Saint George Hotel in Beirut. A month later about one million people gathered for an opposition rally in Beirut. The Cedar Revolution was the largest rally in Lebanon's history at that time. The last Syrian troops withdrew from Beirut on 26 April 2005, and the two countries established diplomatic relations on 15 October 2008.
During the 2006 Lebanon War, Israeli bombardment caused damage in many parts of Beirut, especially the predominantly Shiite southern suburbs of Beirut. On 12 July 2006, the "Operation Truthful Promise" carried out by Hezbollah ended with 8 Israeli deaths and 6 injuries. In response, the IDF targeted Hezbollah's main media outlets. There were then artillery raids against targets in southern Lebanon, and the Israeli cabinet held Beirut responsible for the attacks. Then on 13 July 2006 Israel began implementing a naval and air blockade over Lebanon; during this blockade Israel bombed the runways at Beirut International Airport and the major Beirut-Damascus highway in Eastern Lebanon.
In May 2008, after the government decided to disband Hezbollah's communications network (a decision it later rescinded), violent clashes broke out briefly between government allies and opposition forces, before control of the city was handed over to the Lebanese Army. After this a national dialogue conference was held in Doha at the invitation of the Prince of Qatar. The conference agreed to appoint a new president of Lebanon and to establish a new national government involving all the political adversaries. As a result of the Doha Agreement, the opposition's barricades were dismantled and so were the opposition's protest camps in Martyrs' Square. On 19 October 2012, a car bomb killed eight people in the Beirut's neighbourhood of Achrafiyeh, including Brigadier General Wissam al-Hassan, chief of the Intelligence Bureau of the Internal Security Forces. In addition, 78 others were wounded in the bombing. It was the largest attack in the capital since 2008. On 27 December 2013, a car bomb exploded in the Central District killing at least five people, including the former Lebanese ambassador to the U.S. Mohamad Chatah, and wounding 71 others.
In the 12 November 2015 Beirut bombings, two suicide bombers detonated explosives outside a mosque and inside a bakery, killing 43 people and injuring 200. The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant immediately claimed responsibility for the attacks. 
Beirut sits on a peninsula extending westward into the Mediterranean Sea. It is flanked by the Lebanon Mountains and has taken on a triangular shape, largely influenced by its situation between and atop two hills: Al-Ashrafieh and Al-Musaytibah. The Beirut Governorate occupies 18 square kilometres (6.9 sq mi), and the city's metropolitan area 67 square kilometres (26 sq mi). The coast is rather diverse, with rocky beaches, sandy shores and cliffs situated beside one another.
Beirut has a hot-summer Mediterranean climate (Köppen: Csa) characterized by mild days and nights. Autumn and spring are warm, winter is mild and rainy, and summer can be virtually rainless. August is considered the only really hot muggy month, with a monthly average high temperature of 32 °C (90 °F), and January and February are the coldest months, with a monthly average low temperature of 11 °C (52 °F). The prevailing wind during the afternoon and evening is from the west (onshore, blowing in from the Mediterranean); at night it reverses to offshore, blowing from the land out to sea.
The average annual rainfall is 825 millimetres (32.5 in), with the majority falling in winter, autumn and spring. Much of the autumn and spring rain falls in heavy downpours on a limited number of days, but in winter it is spread more evenly over a large number of days. Summer receives very little rainfall, if any. Snow is rare, except in the mountainous eastern suburbs, where snowfall is common due to the region's high altitudes. Hail (which can often be heavy) occurs a few times per year, mostly during winter.
|Climate data for Beirut International Airport|
|Record high °C (°F)||27.9
|Average high °C (°F)||17.4
|Daily mean °C (°F)||14.0
|Average low °C (°F)||11.2
|Record low °C (°F)||0.4
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||190.9
|Average precipitation days (≥ 0.1 mm)||15||12||9||5||2||0||0||0||1||4||8||12||68|
|Average relative humidity (%)||69||68||67||69||71||71||73||73||69||68||66||68||69|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||131||143||191||243||310||348||360||334||288||245||200||147||2,940|
|Source #1: Pogodaiklimat.ru|
|Source #2: Danish Meteorological Institute (sun and relative humidity)|
|18.5 °C (65.3 °F)||17.5 °C (63.5 °F)||17.5 °C (63.5 °F)||18.5 °C (65.3 °F)||21.3 °C (70.3 °F)||24.9 °C (76.8 °F)||27.5 °C (81.5 °F)||28.5 °C (83.3 °F)||28.1 °C (82.6 °F)||26.0 °C (78.8 °F)||22.6 °C (72.7 °F)||20.1 °C (68.2 °F)|
Lebanon, especially Beirut and its suburbs, suffered a massive garbage crisis, mainly from July 2015 up to March 2016. The issue began when authorities shut down the main landfill site originally for Beirut's garbage southeast of the city and failed to provide any alternative solutions for months. As a result, garbage mounted in the streets in Greater Beirut and caused protests to erupt, which sometimes invoked police action. This problem was commonly blamed on the country’s political situation. This garbage crisis birthed a movement called "You Stink" which was directed at the country's politicians. In March 2016, the government finally came up with a so-called temporary solution to establish two new landfills East and South of the city to store the garbage, while several municipalities across the country, in an unprecedented move, began recycling and managing waste more efficiently, building waste-management facilities and relying on themselves rather than the central government.
Beirut is divided into 12 quarters (quartiers):
These quarters are divided into 59 sectors (secteurs).
Badaro is an edgy, bohemian style neighborhood, within the green district of Beirut (secteur du parc) which also include the Beirut Hippodrome and the Beirut Pine Forest and the French ambassador's Pine Residence. It is one of Beirut's favorite hip nightlife destination.
Two of the twelve official Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon are located in the southern suburbs of Beirut: Bourj el-Barajneh and Shatila. There is also one within its municipal boundaries: Mar Elias. Of the fifteen unregistered or unofficial refugee camps, Sabra, which lies adjacent to Shatila, is also located in southern Beirut.
People in Lebanon often use different names for the same geographic locations, and few people rely on official, government-provided street numbers. Instead, historic and commercial landmarks are more common.
No population census has been taken in Lebanon since 1932, but estimates of Beirut's population range from as low as 938,940 through 1,303,129 to as high as 2,200,000 as part of Greater Beirut.
Beirut is one of the most cosmopolitan and religiously diverse cities of Lebanon and all of the Middle East. The city boasts significant Muslim and Christian communities. In Beirut there are 18 recognized religious groups. At the end of the civil war the Copts became another recognized confession, bringing the total number to eighteen. The original seventeen included four Muslim sects: Shi'a, Sunni, 'Alawi, and Druze; Twelve Christian sects: Maronite Catholics, Greek Orthodox, Melkite Catholics, Protestant Evangelicals, and other Christian denominations non-native to Lebanon like Armenian Orthodox, Armenian Catholics, and six smaller Christian sects, which are considered one group (Syriac Orthodox, Syriac Catholics, Latin Catholics, Assyrians, Chaldeans and Copts); and Jews (very few remain in Lebanon today, but children of Lebanese Jewish parents may register as citizens at Lebanese Embassies.)
Family matters such as marriage, divorce and inheritance are still handled by the religious authorities representing a person's faith (the Ottoman "millet" system). Calls for civil marriage are unanimously rejected by the religious authorities, but civil marriages held in another country are recognized by Lebanese civil authorities.
Before the civil war the neighborhoods of Beirut were fairly heterogeneous, but they became largely segregated by religion since the conflict. East Beirut has a mainly Christian population with a small Muslim minority, while West Beirut has a Sunni Muslim majority with small minorities of Shia, Christians and Druze. Since the end of the civil war, East and West Beirut have begun to see an increase in Muslims and Christians moving into each half. The southern suburbs are populated largely by Shia Muslims, while the eastern and northern suburbs are largely Christian.
The Beirut Central District (BCD) or Centre Ville is the name given to Beirut's historical and geographical core by "Solidere", the "vibrant financial, commercial, and administrative hub of the country." It is an area thousands of years old, traditionally a focus of business, finance, culture and leisure. Its reconstruction constitutes one of the most ambitious contemporary urban developments. Due to the devastation incurred on the city center from the Lebanese Civil War, the Beirut Central District underwent a thorough reconstruction and development plan that gave it back its cultural and economic position in the region. Ever since, Beirut Central District has evolved into an integrated business and commercial environment and the focus of the financial activity in the region. That evolution was accompanied with the relocation of international organizations, reoccupation of civic and government buildings, expansion of financial activities, and establishment of regional headquarters and global firms in the city center.
Assessment of the demand for build-up space in the BCD has been done in reference to a number of macro-economic, demographic, and urban planning considerations at a time of marked need for new activity poles in the city, such as Souks, financial, cultural and recreational centers. The district's total area is 4,690,000 square metres (50,482,740 square feet), the majority of which is dedicated to residential space (1,924,000 square metres or 20,709,764 square feet). The Beirut Central District contains over 60 gardens, squares and open spaces. These spaces comprise landscaped streets, gardens, historical squares, pedestrian areas and sea promenades thus totaling to an area of 96 acres (39 ha) of open spaces.
The central district is Lebanon's prime location for shopping, entertainment, and dining. There are over 100 cafes, restaurants, pubs and nightclubs open in the Beirut Central District, and over 350 retail outlets distributed along its streets and quarters. Beirut Souks alone are home to over 200 stores and a handful of restaurants and cafes. Beirut Souks are the Central District's old medieval market, recently renovated along with the original Hellenistic street grid that characterized the old souks and the area's historical landmarks along long vaulted shopping alleys and arcades. Solidere, the company responsible for the reconstruction and renovation of the district, organizes music and entertainment events all throughout the year like the Beirut Marathon, Fête de la Musique, Beirut Jazz Festival.
However, the means of urban development in this particular area of the city was subject to much criticism and controversy. Rafic Hariri, who would later become prime minister, was the majority stakeholder of the company, which raises concerns of conflict of interest in the context of a public-private partnership. Many of the expropriations that have made the project possible have been made at undervalued land rates, and partly paid in company share. Strict urbanization laws were put in order to oblige people to sell and not renovate themselves. Today, Solidere acts as a de facto municipality thus this quarter of the city is effectively privatized. It is for example forbidden to ride bikes on Zeituna Bay, a marina where many restaurants are located, and these laws are enforced by private security guards not national or municipal police.
The project was also criticized for destroying some of the city's architectural and cultural heritage. "Among the hundreds of destroyed buildings were “the last Ottoman and medieval remains in Beirut” wrote American University of Beirut professor Nabil Beyhum in the Journal The Beirut Review in 1992. Much of the damage had been done through unapproved demolitions in the 1980s and early 1990s, bringing down “some of the capital’s most significant buildings and structures,” wrote UCLA professor Saree Makdisi in the journal, Critical Inquiry, in 1997.". Moreover, many of the traditional privately owned shops in the Beirut Downtown were replaced by luxury outlets and high-end restaurants that only few people could afford. And most of public spaces promised by Solidere since the start of the reconstruction, such as "The Garden of Forgiveness", a central park, and an archeological museum, remain unfinished until today, putting into question the actual benefit of the project to the population.
Finally, the actual success of the project has recently been in doubt, given that large quarters of the BCD are today empty, due to strong military presence, the Nejmeh Square where the parliament is located is most frequently completely deserted, and the business located there have mostly moved.
Beirut's economy is service-oriented with the main growth sectors being banking and tourism.
In an area dominated by authoritarian or militarist regimes, the Lebanese capital was generally regarded as a haven of libertarianism, though a precarious one. With its seaport and airport—coupled with Lebanon's free economic and foreign exchange system, solid gold-backed currency, banking-secrecy law, and favourable interest rates—Beirut became an established banking centre for Arab wealth, much of which was invested in construction, commercial enterprise, and industry (mostly the manufacture of textiles and shoes, food processing, and printing). The economy of Beirut is diverse, including publishing, banking, trade and various industries. During that period, Beirut was the region's financial services center. At the onset of the oil boom starting in the 1960s, Lebanon-based banks were the main recipients of the region's petrodollars.
Beirut is the focal point of the Economy of Lebanon. The capital hosts the headquarters of Banque du Liban, Lebanon's central bank, the Beirut Stock Exchange, the head office of Lebanon's flag-carrier Middle East Airlines, the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia, the Union of Arab Banks, and the Union of Arab Stock Exchanges.
The Banking System is the backbone of the local economy with a balance sheet of $152 billion at the end of 2012, nearing 3.5 times the GDP estimated at $43 billion by the IMF. Bank deposits also increased in 2012 by 8% to 125 billion dollars, 82 percent of the sector's assets. "Banks are still attracting deposits because the interest rates offered are higher than the ones in Europe and the United States", says Marwan Mikhael, head of research at BLOM Bank.
Beirut's foreign reserves were still close to an all-time high when they reached $32.5 billion in 2011 and analysts say that the Central Bank can cover nearly 80 percent of the Lebanese currency in the market. This means that the Central Bank can easily cope with any unforeseen crisis in the future thanks to the massive foreign currency reserves.
The Lebanese banking system is endowed with several characteristics that promote the role of Beirut as a regional financial center, in terms of ensuring protection for foreign capital and earnings. The Lebanese currency is fully convertible and can be exchanged freely with any other currency. Moreover, no restrictions are put on the free flow of capital and earnings into and out of the Lebanese economy. The passing of the banking secrecy law on 3 September 1956, subjected all banks established in Lebanon as well as foreign banks' branches to the "secret of the profession". Both article 16 of law No. 282 dated 30 December 1993 and article 12 of decree No. 5451 dated 26 August 1994, offer exemptions from income tax on all interest and revenues earned on all types of accounts opened in Lebanese banks. On the first of April 1975, decree No. 29 established a free banking zone by granting the Lebanese government the right to exempt non-residents' deposits and liabilities in foreign currency from: the income tax on interest earned, the required reserves imposed by the Banque Du Liban by virtue of article 76 of the Code of Money and Credit, the premium of deposit guarantee imposed on bank deposits to the profit of the National Deposit Guarantee Institution.
The tourism industry in Beirut has been historically important to the local economy and remains to this day to be a major source of revenue for the city, and Lebanon in general. Before the Lebanese Civil War, Beirut was widely regarded as "The Paris of the Middle East," often cited as a financial and business hub where visitors could experience the Levantine Mediterranean culture. Beirut's diverse atmosphere and ancient history make it an important destination which is slowly rebuilding itself after continued turmoil. However, in recent times, certain countries, such as the United States, have frequently placed Lebanon, and Beirut in particular, on their travel warnings lists due to a large number of car bombings and orchestrated acts of political violence.
According to the 2012 tourist statistics, 34% of the tourists in Beirut came from states within the Arab League, 33% came from European countries (mainly France, Germany, and Britain), and 16% from the Americas (about half of which are from the United States).
The largely pedestrianized Beirut Central District is the core of the Beirut tourism scene. The district is a cluster of stone-façade buildings lining arcaded streets and radial alleyways. The architecture of the area is a mix of French Architecture and Venetian Gothic architecture mixed with Arabesque and Ottoman Architecture. The district contains numerous old mosques and crusader churches, as well as uncovered remnants and ruins of the Roman era. The District contains dozens of restaurants, cafes and pubs, as well as a wide range of shopping stores mainly in Beirut Souks. High-rise hotels and towers line the district's New Waterfront, marina and seaside promenade.
Another popular tourist destination in Beirut is the Corniche Beirut, a 4.8 km (3 mi) pedestrian promenade that encircles the capital's seafront from the Saint George Bay in the north all the way to Avenue de Paris and Avenue General de Gaulle south of the city. The corniche reaches its maximum height above sea level at Raouché, a high-rise residential neighborhood rising over a giant white limestone cliff and facing the recognizable off-shore Raouché Rocks.
Badaro is one of Beirut's most appealing neighborhoods, a lovely place to stroll during daytime and a destination for going out in the evening. Badaro is within Beirut's green district with a 75-acre (30-hectare) public park (The Beirut Pine forest) and a 50-acre (20-hectare) hippodrome. It is a neighborhood on a very human scale with small groceries around every corner. The neighborhood residents, a mix of old impoverished Christian bourgeoisie, bohemian style people in their 30s and well-established urban professionals, are loyal to local bakery and pastry shops. Because of the blossoming café and bar scene it has become lately a hip destination for Beirut's young and restless but old Beirutis remember that Badaro was already Beirut's version of the Village in the swinging sixties. Groceries and eateries can be found on almost every street of the area. There are dozens of restaurants, pubs and sidewalk cafés of virtually every style. Badaro "Village" thrives on local residents, day-trippers and hipsters from all over Beirut, office employees and many expatriates.
Hamra Street is a long cobblestone street connecting the Beirut Central District with the coastal Raouche area. The street is a large concentration of shopping stores, boutiques, restaurants, banks, street vendors, sidewalk cafes, newspaper kiosks, and a booming nightlife spurred by students from the neighboring American University of Beirut. The AUB campus is another popular visitor destination, composed of a cluster of 19th century red-roofed buildings dispersed on a wooded hillside overlooking the Mediterranean.
Gemmayzeh is Beirut's artistic Bohemian quarter, full of narrow streets and historic buildings from the French era. It is located East of the Beirut Central District, bordering the Saifi Village. The neighborhood is well known for its trendy bars and pubs, cafes, restaurants and lounges; most are directly located on Rue Gouraud, the main thoroughfare that cuts through the middle of the district. Travel + Leisure magazine called Gemmayzeh "SoHo by the Sea," due to its colorful and chic cafés amid 1950s apartment buildings and hole-in-the-wall shops.
Beirut is a destination for tourists from both the Arab world and West. In Travel + Leisure magazine's World Best Awards 2006, it was ranked 9th best city in the world. That list was voted upon shortly before the 2006 Lebanon War broke out, but in 2008 The Guardian listed Beirut as one of its top ten cities in the world. The New York Times ranked it at number one on its "44 places to go" list of 2009. 2011 MasterCard Index revealed that Beirut had the second-highest visitor spending levels in the Middle East and Africa, totaling $6.5 billion. Beirut was chosen in 2012 by Condé Nast Traveler as the best city in the Middle East, beating Tel Aviv and Dubai.
Many of the tourists are returning Lebanese expatriates, but many are from Western countries. Approximately 3 million visitors visited in 2010; the previous record was 1.4 million in 1974.
Like other forms of tourism, medical tourism in Lebanon is on the rise recently. Although visitors from neighboring Arab nations make up the bulk of medical tourism patients here due to its proximity, Beirut is strongly trying to woo more southern Europeans, Asians and North Americans to its land. Its Agency for Investment Development in Lebanon reports that growth in the medical tourism industry is growing by up to 30% a year since 2009. The country's tourism ministry is working closely with the medical sector and top-class hotels to create an organized, quality medical destination. Major hotel and spa chains work with local clinics, travel agencies and the tourism ministry to create comprehensive healthcare and recuperation packages for foreign visitors. The government is highly involved in this industry and strives to make the process as easy as possible. Cosmetic surgery is a major component of medical tourism in Lebanon. Most of the foreign patients come for routine operations like plastic surgery, dental or eye surgery, and Beirut's hospitals are also capable of performing specialized procedures such as internal bypass surgery and other technical treatments. Its top clinics and hospitals like Sahel General are equipped to handle the full range of surgical procedures. Beirut-based Clemenceau Medical Center (CMC), affiliated with Johns Hopkins International, was ranked one of the world's top ten best hospitals for medical tourism in 2012.
Beirut is the capital of Lebanon and its seat of government. The Lebanese Parliament, all the Ministries and most of the public administrations, embassies and consulates are there. Beirut Governorate is one of eight mohafazat (plural of mohafazah, or governorate).
|Name||Took office||Left office|
|7||Shafic Bou Haydar||1967||1977|
|8||Mitri El Nammar||1977||1987|
|10||Nayef El Malouf||1992||1995|
|14||Rachid Ammoury Maalouf||2008||2015|
The city is home to numerous international organizations. The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) is headquartered in downtown Beirut, The Arab Air Carriers Organization (AACO), the Union of Arab Banks and the Union of Arab Stock Exchanges are also headquartered in the city. The International Labour Organization (ILO) and UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) both have regional offices in Beirut covering the Arab world.
Higher education throughout Lebanon is provided by universities, colleges and technical and vocational institutes.
The Lebanese University is the only public institution for higher education in Beirut. Beirut is also home to the Lebanese American University (LAU), which is also, together with many of its programs, accredited by US bodies and considered lately one of the top universities in the Middle East. LAU Beirut is also home to the American University of Science and Technology (AUST), University of Balamand, École Supérieure des Affaires (ESA), Beirut Arab University (BAU), Haigazian University (HU), Lebanese International University (LIU), as well as the Notre Dame University – Louaize (NDU), Université La Sagesse (ULS). Notre Dame University (NDU)'s degrees are becoming more and more valuable with time. NDU received its accreditation from NIASC in 2015.
The Directorate General of Higher Education is responsible for managing the university colleges, university institutes and universities in Beirut and nationwide.
Among the private secondary schools in Beirut are, College Saint Joseph Antoura, Lycee Abdel Kader Grand Lycée Franco-Libanais, Lycée Franco-Libanais Verdun, American Community School, International College, Collège Notre-Dame de Jamhour, College Melkart, Carmel Saint-Joseph, Collège Louise Wegmann, Rawdah High School, Saint Mary's Orthodox College, Collège Notre Dame de Nazareth, Collège du Sacré-Coeur Gemmayzé, Collège Protestant Français, Armenian Evangelical Central High School, German School of Beirut, and the Armenian Hamazkayin Arslanian College.
The city's renovated airport is the Rafic Hariri International Airport, located in the southern suburbs. The Port of Beirut, one of the largest and most commercial in the eastern Mediterranean, is another port of entry. As a final destination, Lebanon can be reached by ferry from Cyprus via the nearby city of Jounieh or by road from Damascus via the Beqaa valley in the east.
Beirut has frequent bus connections to other cities in Lebanon and major cities in Syria such as Homs and its capital Damascus. There are a number of different companies providing public transport in Lebanon. The publicly owned buses are managed by Office des Chemins de Fer et des Transports en Commun (OCFTC – "Railway and Public Transportation Authority"). Buses for northern destinations and Syria leave from Charles Helou Station.
The ministry of transport and public works purchased an extra 250 intra and inter-buses in 2012 to better serve regions outside the capital as well as congestion-choked Beirut, hoping to lessen the use of private cars.
Beirut has also private buses that are provided by the Lebanese Commuting Company.
In 2017, Beirut introduced a bike sharing service in certain areas of the city.
The culture of Beirut has evolved under the influence of many different peoples and civilizations, such as Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Ottoman Turks and French. The law school in downtown Beirut was one of the world's earliest and was considered to be a leading center of legal studies in the Eastern Roman Empire.
Beirut hosted the Francophonie and Arab League summits in 2002, and in 2007 it hosted the ceremony for the Prix Albert Londres, which rewards outstanding francophone journalists every year. The city also hosted the Jeux de la Francophonie in 2009. In the same year it was proclaimed World Book Capital by UNESCO.
Beirut has also been called the "party capital of the Arab world". Rue Monnot has an international reputation among clubbers, and Rue Gouraud in districts such as Gemmayze and Mar Mikhael have emerged as new hotspots for bar patrons and clubbers, as well as "The Alleyway" in Hamra Street.
The National Museum of Beirut is the principal museum of archaeology in Lebanon. It has about 1,300 exhibits ranging in date from prehistoric times to the medieval Mamluk period. The Archaeological Museum of the American University of Beirut is the third oldest museum in the Middle East, exhibiting a wide range of artifacts from Lebanon and neighboring countries. Sursock Museum was built by the illustrious Sursock family at the end of the 19th century as a private villa for Nicolas Sursock, and then donated to the Lebanese state upon his death. It now houses Beirut's most influential and popular art museum. The permanent collection shows a set of Japanese engravings, numerous works of Islamic art and classic Italian paintings, while temporary exhibitions are also shown throughout the year. The Robert Mouawad Private Museum near Beirut's Grand Serail exhibits Henri Pharaon's private collection of archaeology and antiques.
Planet Discovery is a children's science museum with interactive experiments, exhibitions, performances, workshops and awareness competitions. The Saint Joseph University opened the Museum of Lebanese Prehistory in 2000, the first prehistory museum in the Arabic Middle East, displaying bones, stone tools and neolithic pottery collected by Jesuits.
In October 2013, Mim Museum, a private mineral museum, opened its doors to the public. It has on display some 2000 minerals from more than 70 countries. mim museum's collection is considered to be one of the world's paramount private collection for the variety and quality of its minerals. A didactic circuit, accompanied by screens showing films and scientific applications of mineralogy, will reveal a world of unsuspected marvels—priceless both from an aesthetic and scientific point of view. Mimodactylus libanensis “mimo”, the fossil of a pterodactyl is featured in a special wing. This one-of-a-kind complete specimen in the Middle-East was found in Lebanon. It is promoted by means of state-of-the-art modern techniques: a hologram, an auto-stereoscopic movie, a full-scale reconstitution and a game “fly with mimo” – an entertainment that delights children and adults. Moreover, mim hosts a thematic exhibition of 200 marine fossils. “Fish’n’Stone” was organized with the collaboration of Mémoire du Temps. Known throughout the world, those fossils were quarried in the Lebanese mountains. The history of the fossil formation is shown through an animation that submerses you in the marine life – a time capsule that takes you in a journey to some 100 million of years ago.
Beirut was named the top place to visit by The New York Times in 2009, and as one of the ten liveliest cities in the world by Lonely Planet in the same year. According to a 2010 study by the American global consulting firm Mercer comparing high-end items such as upscale residential areas and entertainment venues, Beirut was ranked as the 4th most expensive city in the Middle East and 15th among the Upper Middle Income Countries included in the survey. Beirut came in first place regionally and 10th place internationally in a 2010 study by "EuroCost International" about the rental markets for high quality housing.
The 2011 MasterCard Index revealed that Beirut had the second-highest visitor spending levels in the Middle East and Africa, totaling $6.5 billion. Beirut was chosen in 2012 by Condé Nast Traveler as the best city in the Middle East. In 2013, Condé Nast Traveler ranked Beirut in the top 20 best cities in the world.
It was voted the must-visit city for the year 2019 by World Tourists.
Beirut is a main center for the television, radio stations, newspaper, and book publishing industries.
Television stations based in Beirut include Télé Liban, LBC, ÓTV (Orange TV), MTV Lebanon, Tele Lumiere (Catholic TV), Future TV, New TV, NBN, ANB and Saudi TV 1 on 33 UHF and MBC 1, MBC 4, MBC Action, Fox, Al Jazeera, Rotana, OSN First, OSN News, Al Yawm and Arabic Series Channel on 45 UHF.
Newspapers and magazines published in French include L'Orient Le Jour (since 1970), La Revue Du Liban, Al Balad-French Version, Al Intiqad, Magazine L'Hebdo and La Commerce Du Levant.
English newspapers published in Beirut are The Daily Star, Executive Magazine (weekly), Beirut Online, Beirut Times (weekly) and Monday Morning.
The Lebanese capital hosted the Mediterranean Games in 1959, FIBA Asia Champions Cup in 1999, 2000, 2012, the AFC Asian Cup in 2000, and the FIBA Asia Cup in 2010. Beirut was the host city for the 6th Annual Games of the Jeux de la Francophonie in 2009. Beirut also hosted the Pan Arab Games in 1957, 1997, and did so again in 2015. In 2017, Beirut will also host the 2017 FIBA Asia Cup.
Other sports events in Beirut include the annual Beirut Marathon, hip ball, weekly horse racing at the Beirut Hippodrome, and golf and tennis tournaments that take place at Golf Club of Lebanon. Three out of the five teams in the Lebanese rugby league championship are based in Beirut. Lebanon men's national ice hockey team plays out of Montreal, in Canada.
There are hundreds of art galleries in Beirut and its suburbs. Every year hundreds of fine art students graduate from universities and institutions. Artist workshops exist all over Lebanon. The inauguration of the Beirut Art Center, a non-profit association, space and platform dedicated to contemporary art in Lebanon, in the Mkalles suburb of Beirut added to the number of exhibition spaces available in the city, with a screening and performance room, mediatheque, bookstore, cafe and terrace. Adjacent to the latter is the Ashkal Alwan Home Workspace, a venue hosting cultural events and educational programs.
A number of international fashion designers have displayed their work in big fashion shows. Most major fashion labels have shops in Beirut's shopping districts, and the city is home to a number of local fashion designers, some of whom like Elie Saab, Yara Farhat, Reem Acra, Zuhair Murad, Georges Chakra, Georges Hobeika, Jean Faris, Nicolas Jebran, Rabih Kayrouz and Abed Mahfouz have achieved international fame.
Beirut is also the home for a dynamic street art scene that has developed after the Lebanese Civil War, one of the most notable street artists is Yazan Halwani who is known to produce the largest murals on the walls of Beirut in areas such as Gemmayzeh, Hamra, Verdun and Achrafieh.
Berytos, being part of Phoenicia, was under Ptolemaic control until 200 BC. After the battle of Panion, Phoenicia and southern Syria passed to the Seleucids. In the second century BC, Laodikeia issued both autonomous as well as quasi-autonomous coins. The autonomous bronze coins had a Tyche on the obverse. The reverse often had Poseidon or Astarte standing on the prow of a ship, the letters BH or ΛΑ and the monogram Φ, that is, the initials of Berytos/Laodikeia and Phoenicia, and, on a few coins, the Phoenician legend LL'DK' 'S BKN 'N or LL'DK' 'M BKN ’N, which has been read as "Of Laodikcia which is in Canaan" or "Of Laodikcia Mother in Canaan. The quasi-municipal coins—issued under Antiochos IV Epiphanes (175–164 BC) and continuing with Alexander I Balas (150–145 BC), Demetrios II Nikator (146–138 BC), and Alexander II Zabinas (128–123 BC)—contained the king's head on the obverse, and on the reverse the name of the king in Greek, the city name in Phoenician (LL'DK' 'S BKN ’N or LL'DK’ 'M BKN 'N), the Greek letters ΛΑ, and the monogram Φ. After c. 123 BC the Phoenician "Of Laodikcia which is in Canaan" / "Of Laodikcia Mother in Canaan is no longer attested.
The 1982 Lebanon War, dubbed Operation Peace for Galilee (Hebrew: מבצע שלום הגליל, or מבצע של"ג Mivtsa Shlom HaGalil or Mivtsa Sheleg) by the Israeli government, later known in Israel as the Lebanon War or the First Lebanon War (Hebrew: מלחמת לבנון הראשונה, Milhemet Levanon Harishona), and known in Lebanon as "the invasion" (Arabic: الاجتياح, Al-ijtiyāḥ), began on 6 June 1982, when the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) invaded southern Lebanon, after repeated attacks and counter-attacks between the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) operating in southern Lebanon and the IDF that had caused civilian casualties on both sides of the border. The military operation was launched after gunmen from Abu Nidal's organization attempted to assassinate Shlomo Argov, Israel's ambassador to the United Kingdom. Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin blamed Abu Nidal's enemy, the PLO, for the incident, and treated the incident as a casus belli for the invasion.After attacking the PLO – as well as Syrian, leftist, and Muslim Lebanese forces – the Israeli military, in cooperation with the Maronite allies and the self-proclaimed Free Lebanon State, occupied southern Lebanon, eventually surrounding the PLO and elements of the Syrian Army. Surrounded in West Beirut and subjected to heavy bombardment, the PLO forces and their allies negotiated passage from Lebanon with the aid of United States Special Envoy Philip Habib and the protection of international peacekeepers. The PLO, under the chairmanship of Yasser Arafat, had relocated its headquarters to Tripoli in June 1982. By expelling the PLO, removing Syrian influence over Lebanon, and installing a pro-Israeli Christian government led by President Bachir Gemayel, Israel hoped to sign a treaty which Menachem Begin promised would give Israel "forty years of peace".Following the assassination of Gemayel in September 1982, Israel's position in Beirut became untenable and the signing of a peace treaty became increasingly unlikely. Outrage following Israel's role in the Phalangist-perpetrated Sabra and Shatila massacre, of mostly Palestinians and Lebanese Shiites, and Israeli popular disillusionment with the war would lead to a gradual withdrawal from Beirut to the areas claimed by the self-proclaimed Free Lebanon State in southern Lebanon (later to become the South Lebanon security belt), which was initiated following the 17 May Agreement and Syria's change of attitude towards the PLO. After Israeli forces withdrew from most of Lebanon, the War of the Camps broke out between Lebanese factions, the remains of the PLO and Syria, in which Syria fought its former Palestinian allies. At the same time, Shi'a militant groups began consolidating and waging a low-intensity guerrilla war over the Israeli occupation of southern Lebanon, leading to 15 years of low-scale armed conflict. The Lebanese Civil War would continue until 1990, at which point Syria had established complete dominance over Lebanon.1983 Beirut barracks bombings
On October 23, 1983, two truck bombs struck buildings in Beirut, Lebanon, housing American and French service members of the Multinational Force in Lebanon (MNF), a peacekeeping operation during the Lebanese Civil War. The attack killed 307 people: 241 U.S. and 58 French peacekeepers, 6 civilian, and the 2 attackers.
The first suicide bomber detonated a truck bomb at the building serving as a barracks for the 1st Battalion 8th Marines (Battalion Landing Team – BLT 1/8), killing 220 Marines, 18 sailors and 3 soldiers, making this incident the deadliest single-day death toll for the United States Marine Corps since the Battle of Iwo Jima in World War II, the deadliest single-day death toll for the United States Armed Forces since the first day of the Tet Offensive in the Vietnam War, the deadliest terrorist attack on American citizens in general prior to the September 11 attacks, and the deadliest terrorist attack on American citizens overseas. Another 128 Americans were wounded in the blast; 13 later died of their injuries, and they are counted among the number who died. An elderly Lebanese man, a custodian/vendor who was known to work and sleep in his concession stand next to the building, was also killed in the first blast. The explosives used were later estimated to be equivalent to as much as 9,500 kg (21,000 pounds) of TNT.Minutes later, a second suicide bomber struck the nine-story Drakkar building, a few kilometers away, where the French contingent was stationed; 55 paratroopers from the 1st Parachute Chasseur Regiment and three paratroopers of the 9th Parachute Chasseur Regiment were killed and 15 injured. It was the single worst French military loss since the end of the Algerian War. The wife and four children of a Lebanese janitor at the French building were also killed, and more than twenty other Lebanese civilians were injured.A group called Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for the bombings and said that the aim was to force the MNF out of Lebanon. According to Caspar Weinberger, then United States Secretary of Defense, there is no knowledge of who did the bombing. While Israeli analyst Shimon Shapira points the finger at Hezbollah and Iran, they have all continued to deny any involvement in any of the bombings. Furthermore, there is no consensus Hezbollah was actually formed at the time of bombing.The attacks eventually led to the withdrawal of the international peacekeeping force from Lebanon, where they had been stationed following the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) withdrawal in the aftermath of Israel's 1982 invasion of Lebanon.
In 2004, it was reported in Western media that an alleged Iranian militant group called the Committee for the Commemoration of Martyrs of the Global Islamic Campaign had erected a monument in a cemetery in Tehran to commemorate the 1983 bombings and its "martyrs".2013 Iranian embassy bombing
The Iranian embassy bombing was a double suicide bombing that occurred in front of the Iranian embassy in Beirut, Lebanon on 19 November 2013. The two bombings resulted in 23 deaths and injured at least 160 others.American University of Beirut
The American University of Beirut (AUB) (Arabic: الجامعة الأمريكية في بيروت) is a private, secular and independent university in Beirut, Lebanon. It is one of the most prestigious universities in the Middle East, securing the top spot in the Arab region in the 2018 QS World University Rankings.The American University of Beirut is governed by a private, autonomous Board of Trustees and offers programs leading to bachelor's, master's, MD and PhD degrees. It collaborates with many universities around the world, notably with Columbia University, George Washington University School of Medicine & Health Sciences, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and the University of Paris. The current president is Fadlo R. Khuri, MD.
The American University of Beirut (AUB) has an operating budget of $423 million with an endowment of approximately $605 million. The campus is composed of 64 buildings, including the American University of Beirut Medical Center (AUBMC, formerly known as AUH – American University Hospital) (420 beds), four libraries, three museums and seven dormitories. Almost one-fifth of AUB's students attended secondary school or university outside Lebanon before coming to AUB. AUB graduates reside in more than 120 countries worldwide. The language of instruction is English. Degrees awarded at the university are officially registered with the New York Board of Regents.Beer pong
Beer pong, also known as Beirut, is a drinking game in which players throw a ping pong ball across a table with the intent of landing the ball in a cup of beer on the other end. The game typically consists of opposing teams of two or more players per side with 6 or 10 cups set up in a triangle formation on each side. Each team then takes turns attempting to shoot ping pong balls into the opponent's cups. If a ball lands in a cup (known as a 'make'), the contents of that cup are consumed by the other team and the cup is removed from the table. The first team to eliminate all of the opponent's cups is the winner.Beirut (band)
Beirut is an American band which was originally the solo musical project of Santa Fe native Zach Condon. Beirut's music combines elements of indie-rock and world music. The band's first performance was in New York, in May 2006, to support its debut album, Gulag Orkestar.Condon named the band after Lebanon’s capital, because of the city’s history of conflict and as a place where cultures collide. Beirut performed in Lebanon for the first time in 2014, at the Byblos International Festival.Beirut–Rafic Hariri International Airport
Beirut–Rafic Hariri International Airport (Arabic: مطار بيروت رفيق الحريري الدولي, Maṭār Bayrūt Rafīq al-Ḥarīrī ad-Dwaliyy) (French: Aéroport international de Beyrouth) (IATA: BEY, ICAO: OLBA), formerly Beirut International Airport, is located 9 kilometres (5.6 mi) from the city center in the southern suburbs of Beirut, Lebanon, and is the only operational commercial airport in the country. It is the hub for Lebanon's national carrier, Middle East Airlines (more commonly known as MEA). It is also the hub for the Lebanese charter carrier Wings of Lebanon, and was the hub for the Lebanese cargo carrier TMA cargo before its collapse.
It is the main port of entry into the country along with the Port of Beirut. The airport is managed and operated by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), which operates within the Ministry of Public Works and Transport. The DGCA is also responsible for operating the air traffic control (ATC) at the airport as well as controlling Lebanon's airspace. DGCA duties include maintenance and general upkeep ranging from cleaning the terminal to de-rubberising the runways.Berytus
Berytus (; Latin: Colonia Iulia Augusta Felix Berytus) was a Roman colonia that was the center of Roman presence in the eastern Mediterranean shores south of Anatolia. Roman Berytus (modern Beirut) was the capital of Phoenicia during Roman times. The veterans of two Roman legions under Augustus were established in the city (the fifth Macedonian and the third Gallic), that afterward quickly became Romanized and was the only fully latin-speaking in the Syria-Phoenicia region until the fourth century.Lebanese Civil War
The Lebanese Civil War (Arabic: الحرب الأهلية اللبنانية – Al-Ḥarb al-Ahliyyah al-Libnāniyyah) was a multifaceted civil war in Lebanon, lasting from 1975 to 1990 and resulting in an estimated 120,000 fatalities. As of 2012, approximately 76,000 people remain displaced within Lebanon. There was also an exodus of almost one million people from Lebanon as a result of the war.Before the war, Lebanon was multisectarian, with Sunni Muslims and Christians being the majorities in the coastal cities, Shia Muslims being mainly based in the south and the Beqaa Valley to the east, and with the mountain populations being mostly Druze and Christian. The government of Lebanon had been run under a significant influence of the elites among the Maronite Christians. The link between politics and religion had been reinforced under the mandate of the French colonial powers from 1920 to 1943, and the parliamentary structure favored a leading position for the Christians. However, the country had a large Muslim population and many pan-Arabist and left-wing groups opposed the pro-western government. The establishment of the state of Israel and the displacement of a hundred thousand Palestinian refugees to Lebanon during the 1948 and 1967 exoduses contributed to shifting the demographic balance in favor of the Muslim population. The Cold War had a powerful disintegrative effect on Lebanon, which was closely linked to the polarization that preceded the 1958 political crisis, since Maronites sided with the West while leftist and pan-Arab groups sided with Soviet-aligned Arab countries.Fighting between Maronite and Palestinian forces (mainly from the Palestine Liberation Organization) began in 1975, then Leftist, pan-Arabist and Muslim Lebanese groups formed an alliance with the Palestinians. During the course of the fighting, alliances shifted rapidly and unpredictably. Furthermore, foreign powers, such as Israel and Syria, became involved in the war and fought alongside different factions. Peace keeping forces, such as the Multinational Force in Lebanon and UNIFIL, were also stationed in Lebanon.
The 1989 Taif Agreement marked the beginning of the end of the fighting. In January 1989, a committee appointed by the Arab League began to formulate solutions to the conflict. In March 1991, parliament passed an amnesty law that pardoned all political crimes prior to its enactment. In May 1991, the militias were dissolved, with the exception of Hezbollah, while the Lebanese Armed Forces began to slowly rebuild as Lebanon's only major non-sectarian institution. Religious tensions between Sunnis and Shias remained after the war.Lebanon
Lebanon ( (listen); Arabic: لبنان Lubnān; Lebanese pronunciation: [lɪbˈnɛːn]; French: Liban), officially known as the Lebanese Republic (Arabic: الجمهورية اللبنانية al-Jumhūrīyah al-Lubnānīyah; Lebanese pronunciation: [elˈʒʊmhuːɾɪjje lˈlɪbnɛːnɪjje]; French: République libanaise), is a country in Western Asia. It is bordered by Syria to the north and east and Israel to the south, while Cyprus is west across the Mediterranean Sea. Lebanon's location at the crossroads of the Mediterranean Basin and the Arabian hinterland facilitated its rich history and shaped a cultural identity of religious and ethnic diversity. At just 10,452 km2 (4,036 sq. mi.), it is the smallest recognized sovereign state on the mainland Asian continent.The earliest evidence of civilization in Lebanon dates back more than seven thousand years, predating recorded history. Lebanon was the home of the Canaanites/Phoenicians and their kingdoms, a maritime culture that flourished for over a thousand years (c. 1550–539 BC). In 64 BC, the region came under the rule of the Roman Empire, and eventually became one of the Empire's leading centers of Christianity. In the Mount Lebanon range a monastic tradition known as the Maronite Church was established. As the Arab Muslims conquered the region, the Maronites held onto their religion and identity. However, a new religious group, the Druze, established themselves in Mount Lebanon as well, generating a religious divide that has lasted for centuries. During the Crusades, the Maronites re-established contact with the Roman Catholic Church and asserted their communion with Rome. The ties they established with the Latins have influenced the region into the modern era.
The region eventually was ruled by the Ottoman Empire from 1516 to 1918. Following the collapse of the empire after World War I, the five provinces that constitute modern Lebanon came under the French Mandate of Lebanon. The French expanded the borders of the Mount Lebanon Governorate, which was mostly populated by Maronites and Druze, to include more Muslims. Lebanon gained independence in 1943, establishing confessionalism, a unique, Consociationalism-type of political system with a power-sharing mechanism based on religious communities. Bechara El Khoury, President of Lebanon during the independence, Riad El-Solh, first Lebanese prime minister and Emir Majid Arslan II, first Lebanese minister of defence, are considered the founders of the modern Republic of Lebanon and are national heroes for having led the country's independence. Foreign troops withdrew completely from Lebanon on 31 December 1946. Lebanon has been a member of the United Nations since its founding in 1945 as well as of the Arab League (1945), the Non-Aligned Movement (1961), Organisation of the Islamic Cooperation (1969) and the Organisation internationale de la francophonie (1973).
Despite its small size, the country has developed a well-known culture and has been highly influential in the Arab world, powered by its large diaspora. Before the Lebanese Civil War (1975–1990), the country experienced a period of relative calm and renowned prosperity, driven by tourism, agriculture, commerce, and banking. Because of its financial power and diversity in its heyday, Lebanon was referred to as the "Switzerland of the East" during the 1960s, and its capital, Beirut, attracted so many tourists that it was known as "the Paris of the Middle East". At the end of the war, there were extensive efforts to revive the economy and rebuild national infrastructure. In spite of these troubles, Lebanon has the 7th highest Human Development Index and GDP per capita in the Arab world after the oil-rich economies of the Persian Gulf.List of tallest buildings in Lebanon
Ever since the end of the Lebanese Civil War in 1991, Lebanon has undergone a construction phase resulting in many towers being built towards its skyline. The following is a list of tallest buildings in Lebanon.Maurice Chehab
Emir Maurice Hafez Chehab (27 December 1904 - 22 December 1994) was a Lebanese archaeologist and museum curator. He was the head of the Antiquities Service in Lebanon and curator of the National Museum of Beirut from 1942 to 1982. He was recognised as the "father of modern Lebanese archaeology"
Chehab was a member of the Maronite branch of the prominent Chehab family, and related to Khaled Chehab (prime minister of Lebanon in 1938 and 1952–53) and Fuad Chehab (president of Lebanon from 1958 to 1964). He was born in Homs in Syria, where his father was a doctor, and French honorary consul. He returned to Beirut with his family in 1920, and was educated at Saint Joseph University in Beirut, studying philosophy and law. He obtained his baccalauréat in 1924, and then studied history in Paris, at the Sorbonne, the École pratique des Hautes Études, the Institut Catholique de Paris and finally as a graduate studied archaeology at the École du Louvre, receiving its diploma in 1928.
He returned to Beirut in 1928 and worked with the Institut Français d'Archéologie Orientale under the French Mandate. He worked at the nascent National Museum of Beirut from 1928 to 1942. He helped to organise the collection based on the personal collection of Raymond Weill. He also helped to ensure that the collection of George Ford, the Director of the American Mission School of Sidon, remained in Lebanon, and that new archaeological discoveries were kept in Lebanon, not exported.
The museum's building was completed by 1937, and opened by the President of the Lebanese Republic Alfred Naqqache on 27 May 1942. Chehab became head of the Antiquities Service in 1942, director in 1944, and then director general; he was also curator of the museum from 1942. He worked to establish the administrative structure of the Antiquities Service, with local inspectors. He remained its director until 1982. He was also a professor of history at the Lebanese University, teaching from 1945 to 1974.
Chehab's work focussed on the history of the Levant, from Ancient Egypt and Phoenicia, through Greek, Persian, Macedonian, Seleucid and Roman influence and occupation, to the Muslims and Crusaders in the Middle Ages, and the Ottoman Empire from the 16th century.
He supervised archaeological digs of ancient Tyre, and digs at Sidon with Maurice Dunand. He was involved with the restoration of the Ottoman Beiteddine Palace.
As the Lebanese Civil War escalated in 1976, Chehab organised the protection of the museum collections. The headquarters of the Directorate-General of Antiquities at the National Museum was situated in the heart of a battle zone, on the Green Line. Chehab ensured that smaller objects were stored safely in the basement, behind steel-reinforced concrete walls. Some objects hidden in the library on the second floor were destroyed in a fire caused by a rocket attack, with many bronzes objects melted and others badly burnt. The catalogues, card indexes, and photographic archives of the museum were destroyed. Other objects were moved to underground storage at Byblos Castle, or the vaults of the Central Bank of Lebanon, or the French Archaeological Institute in Damascus, although some were stolen. Heavier objects were encased in thick double layers of concrete in situ, including the Ahiram sarcophagus with the oldest known inscription in the Phoenician alphabet; mosaic floors were covered with plastic and then covered with concrete. He spread the rumour that the museum's objects had been sent abroad.
He established an archaeological journal in 1936, the "Bulletin du Musée de Beyrouth" (the "Bulletin of Beirut Museum") which reached 36 volumes before publication was stopped in 1986 by the civil war. He also published many books on the archaeology of Lebanon, on the Phoenicians and particularly on the archaeology of Tyre, and also on mosaics, the Romans and the Crusades.
He married Olga Chaiban in 1945. She was the daughter of the doctor to the Emperor of Ethiopia, Haile Selassie.
Chehab retired 1982. After peace returned to Lebanon in 1991, the museum was opened in 1993 in its damaged state, with bomb and bullet holes in the burnt and graffiti-clad walls. Chehab died in 1994, and did not live to see the museum reopen fully in 1999 after extensive reconstruction and restoration.
He was an officer of the French Légion d'honneur, the Ordre des Palmes Académiques, and the Ordre des Arts et des LettresMaxime Chaya
Maxime Edgard Chaya (born December 16, 1961) is a Lebanese sportsman, mountaineer and explorer. On May 15, 2006, he was the first Lebanese to climb Mount Everest, completing the Seven Summits challenge. On December 28, 2007, he also became the first from the Middle East to reach the South Pole on foot from the Antarctic coast, after an unsupported and unassisted journey that lasted 47 days. Then, on April 25, 2009, he reached the North Pole on foot, all the way from Canada.Middle East Airlines
Middle East Airlines – Air Liban S.A.L. (Arabic: طيران الشرق الأوسط ـ الخطوط الجوية اللبنانية Ṭayyarān al-Sharq al-Awsaṭ - al-Khuṭūṭ al-jawiyyah al-lubnāniyyah), more commonly known as Middle East Airlines (MEA) (Arabic: طيران الشرق الأوسط Ṭayyarān al-Sharq al-Awsaṭ), is the national flag-carrier airline of Lebanon, with its head office in Beirut, near Beirut–Rafic Hariri International Airport. It operates scheduled international flights to Asia, Europe, the Middle East and Africa from its base at Rafic Hariri International Airport.Middle East Airlines (MEA) is a member of the SkyTeam airline alliance, the Arab Air Carriers Organization (AACO), and the International Air Transport Association (IATA). The airline expressed its interest in becoming a SkyTeam associate member in early 2006 at a press conference in New York.
On 28 February 2011, MEA officially signed the partnership agreement with SkyTeam in an official ceremony in Beirut. On 28 June 2012, MEA officially joined SkyTeam to become its 17th member, as well as its second member airline in the Middle East.NOW News
NOW News (sometimes abbreviated NOW) is a Beirut-based Lebanese news website focused on the Middle East founded in late 2012 and published in both English and Arabic by M Publishing SAL. It used to be known as NOW Lebanon.The site offers reports, news, features, and analysis on Lebanon, the Lebanese diaspora and the Middle East. The website offers minute-by-minute news updates as well as a special section and live blog on the developing situation in Syria.Nadine Labaki
Nadine Labaki (Arabic: نادين لبكي; born February 18, 1974) is a Lebanese actress and director.Parliament of Lebanon
|name=Lebanese Parliamentمجلس النوابChambre des députés
|coa_pic=Coat of Arms of Lebanon.svg
|election1=October 20, 1992
|party2=Free Patriotic Movement
|election2=May 23, 2018
|structure1=Lebanese Parliament May 2018.svg
March 8 Alliance (74)
March 14 Alliance (47)
The Parliament of Lebanon (Arabic: مجلس النواب Majlis an-Nuwwab; French: Chambre des députés) is the national parliament of Lebanon. There are 128 members elected to a four-year term in multi-member constituencies, apportioned among Lebanon's diverse Christian and Muslim denominations. Lebanon has universal adult suffrage. Its major functions are to elect the President of the republic, to approve the government (although appointed by the President, the Prime Minister, along with the Cabinet, must retain the confidence of a majority in the Parliament), and to approve laws and expenditure.
On 15 May 2013, the Parliament extended its mandate for 17 months, due to the deadlock over the electoral law. And, on 5 November 2014, the Parliament enacted another extension, thus keeping its mandate for an additional 31 months, until 20 June 2017, and in 16 June 2017 the Parliament in turn extended its own mandate an additional 11 months to hold elections according to a much-anticipated reformed electoral law. On May 6, 2018, a new parliament was elected in the 2018 general election, thus ending the mandate of the 2009 parliament who extended it for about 5 years.Ras Beirut
Ras Beirut ("Tip of Beirut") is an upscale residential neighborhood of Beirut. It has a mixed population of Christians, Muslims, Druze, and secular individuals. Ras Beirut is home to some of Beirut's historically prominent families, such as the Rebeiz family, the Daouk family, the Itani family, the Sinno family, the Beyhum family and others. Included in the area are a number of international schools and universities, including the American University of Beirut (AUB) and International College Beirut (IC).Sami Ibrahim Haddad
Sami Ibrahim Haddad, Arabic: سامي ابراهيم حداد (July 3, 1890 – February 5, 1957) was a doctor, surgeon and writer. He was born in Palestine and spent most of his life in Lebanon.