Outstanding and mysterious, shady and giving, Beirut, capital of Lebanon, is a city which is plain and mysterious simultaneously. Bursting with sunshine, Beirut is brimming over with life. From the sea cornice to streets swarming with people, the effervescence is constant.
Situated on the Beqaa plain, Aanjar is the site of the only Umayyad city in Lebanon. It was built from 705 to 715 and many well conserved ruins still remain. Surrounded by well-preserved walls, the vast city still conserves its original rectangular shape and stands between two large main streets serving the whole town. You can visit the remains of the mosque as well as the partly rebuilt great palace. There, you can observe the splendid columns reflecting the traditional Umayyad architecture. Finally, the thermal baths, small palace and various shops and houses will tempt you to go for a captivating walk through antiquity.
In the Beqaa valley, undulating in the magnificent landscape opens up the ancient city of Baalbeck. This site is categorized in UNESCO's world cultural heritage sites, and has a high degree of preservation.
One of the most precious Arabic architectural jewels is the palace of Beiteddine. This historic monument comprises of two large courtyards: the "midane", a vast rectangular place for visitors, and a smaller one for the royal private apartments, with a magnificent fountain in its centre. Surrounding the courtyards, and wonderfully laid out, are the gardens of the palace which offer an extraordinary view of the region. Visiting the ancient stables, you will discover a unique collection of mosaics from the Byzantine period. Finely sculpted doors and columns of stone and wood will accompany you through every single room and private apartment of the edifice.
Even though several regions of Lebanon shelter cedars forests, 'the Cedars' refers to the Arz el-Rab massif, in north Lebanon. A few minutes away from the town of Bcharreh lays the multi-millennial cedars forest. This symbolic national tree is currently protected in Lebanon, but open to visitors. Moreover, hidden in the heart of the massif, is a lovely small white chapel which reinforces the serenity of the site.
Founded in the 18th century, Zahle, the village with red tiled roofs, was erected on the shores of "al Bardawni" river in Lebanon. Nowadays, restaurants, coffee-rooms and old houses flourish on each riverbank. There, you can relax and have a refreshing drink or a tasty meal under the shade of trees alongside the rushing river.
As soon as you catch sight of Tripoli, you cannot help but dream of the 'Arabian Nights'. Erected next to a cliff, Tripoli's old town is an entanglement of alleys. The jewelers' souk, as well as the joiners and tailors shops, lay amid buildings of traditional architecture and sparkling hammams.
Enjoy the natural beauty of Lebanon that is packed with history, archaeology and a handsome population of fun-loving people whose hospitality and warmth extend the length and breadth of the country.