"Lebanon - the heart of the Levant" Top 5 Page for this destination Lebanon by TheWanderingCamel
Lebanon Travel Guide: 2,470 reviews and 5,908 photos
Crossing over Mt Lebanon and down to the sea you see the length and the breadth of the country - from the grandeur of Baalbek in the fertile Bekaa Valley, the mountain slopes leading up to a snow-walled pass and then, as you come over the divide, the symbol of Lebanon - the ancient cedars in their stony mountain fastness - lie between you and the sea. Villages and towns in lush green valleys give way to the solid sprawl of urban development, high rise buildings and busy highways up and down along the coast and then, there you are, in Beirut. Ayone who remembers reports of the bitter trauma suffered here for so long cannot fail to be moved by their first sight of this phoenix of a city.
However, Lebanon is so much more than its recent tragic history and triumphant recovery. Stay awhile and the layers of history peel back for you - Rameses' warriors, Roman soldiers, Crusaders and modern armies have all fought here and, ever since Phoenician galleys first set sail from Byblos, trade has always been the heartbeat of the country.
Once more Lebanon is in the news as the push for political change gathers momentum. Interesting, maybe hard, times lie ahead. But it isn't all protest and politics. There are deep forests, quiet villages, hidden monasteries, souqs and citadels to explore. Wonderful food and good wine to share. And, as everywhere in this part of the world, a welcome for the visitor that is as warm and genuine as any welcome could be.
We came to Lebanon from Syria. I'd been to Baalbek before, just an overnight visit from Damascus; the other side of Mt Lebanon was an unknown quantity, but there were some pre-conceived ideas - Beirut was a big, modern city, the glamorous face of the Levant, the Paris of the east. Coastal Lebanon was one long strip of high-rise buildings. After the traditional charms of Syria, was this what we wanted?
The very best thing about our stay here was having so many of those ideas turned on their head. The beauty of the country; the vibrant mix of the traditional and the modern, east and west in Beirut; pretty little Byblos; mediaeval Tripoli; gracious Beit ed-Dine ...
Yes, Lebanon is the modern face of the Levant, but it is a charming face - full of character; wearing its lines of laughter and of grief proudly; acknowledging its long and turbulent history and looking forward the future.
I loved it.
The notes on this page will start in the Bekaa and move west to the shores of the Mediterranean. Baalbek and Beirut have pages of their own.
The images of a war-torn city are laid to rest by a visit to Beirut. Yes, there is still much reconstruction and... more travel advice
15 km north of Beirut, the highway passes through a tunnel and over a small river before heading on to Byblos and the... more travel advice
TheWanderingCamel's Related Pages
Lebanon Travel Guide
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- "Half Lebanese in my Blood...Welcome to Lebanon!"
- "Lebanon - The pearl of the Medeterranian Sea"
- "Lebanon - the heart of the Levant"
- "So small so similar"
- "A long lost home..."
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- Things to Do in Lebanon
- Hotels in Lebanon
- Transportation in Lebanon
- Nightlife in Lebanon
- Restaurants in Lebanon
- Shopping in Lebanon
- Warnings and Dangers in Lebanon
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Badges & Stats in Lebanon
- 64 Reviews
- 68 Photos
- 12 Forum posts
- 2 Cities
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