Lebanon is a tiny country nestled in the heart of the Levant, and seems almost isolated from the Middle East that it is a part of. Although it embraces its strong Arabic character, what is also apparent is the openness to incorporating a modern, Western twist in its social structure; more so than any other country in the Middle East. Lebanon has always been a welcoming artistic and cultural hotspot for bohemian artists and major performers alike. The country’s location is precisely why it has historically been dubbed the Paris of the Middle East, as its cultural and social mix is an intriguing blend of the old and the new, the haunting and the breathtaking, the modern and the ancient. With the recent political events occurring in Syria, Lebanon’s bordering neighbor, the country has suffered along with the rest of the region and especially pertaining to its tourism sector. Yet this 10,425 square kilometers of heaven, reportedly the Biblical Land of Milk and Honey, is vastly different from what one would expect. In a world of chaos, Lebanon stubbornly refuses to let go of its unique identity, and instead embraces the very factors that make it different.
1. Lebanon Enjoys a Banging Nightlife Scene
Lebanon’s nightclubs are among the most famous in the world, with underground haunts such as B-O18 built in the shape of a coffin in an industrial part of Beirut, to Bar ThreeSixty which is breathtaking with its glass atrium, so much so that one feels like a celebrity just being there. And let’s not forget the hallmark of clubbing in Beirut, the spectacular Skybar which was established in 2003 and is located on a rooftop on the shoulder of Beirut’s trendy Downtown area, overlooking the mountains and the sea.
2. Lebanon has one of the Middle East’s most Prestigious Casinos and Professional Cabarets
The Casino du Liban, which was established in 1959, is a fully-operating casino situated on a steep hill overlooking Jounieh. Aside from operating a hotel, the casino also hosts cultural events such as the Miss Lebanon pageant, artistic endeavors, and holds a professional cabaret show. The surrounding area, Maameltein, is also the perfect place to dine afterwards or barhop the night away at the neighboring nightclubs surrounding the area reminiscent of Vegas in their glitzy glamour.
3. The Climate is both Hot and Cold
Lebanon is one of the only countries in the Middle East that enjoys a long stretch of coastline, snowy mountains, a pseudo-desert region, and a lush, fertile valley in its breathtaking Bekaa Valley. Whatever your preference, Lebanon has something to offer.
4. Lebanese Cedar Trees are an Important Part of the Country’s Identity
One of the most prominent features on the Lebanese flag is the majestic cedar tree, and for good reason. Lebanese cedars are mentioned on more than one occasion in the Bible, as they have been utilized to build parts of King Solomon’s temple, and a palace for King David in Jerusalem. The cedars have also been historically used to furnish palaces in ancient Egypt.
5. The Lebanese are the Descendants of the Phoenicians
The Phoenicians were responsible for several accomplishments from the ninth to the sixth century B.C. They were known as a population of seafarers, traders, and explorers, who created the modern alphabet we use today.