The history of Lebanon is about 10,000 years old, and the country’s culture is the result of a mixture of cultures from a wide variety of civilizations. Lebanon can be called a historical museum of the Middle East, because here are the oldest still inhabited city in the world – Jebel (Byblos), the remains of such powerful ancient Phoenician cities as Trablos, Sidon and Tire, the ruins of the largest Roman temple – the temple of Jupiter in Baalbek, and the largest of the surviving cities of the Umayyad era – Anzhar. In addition, the coast of Lebanon is a great place for a beach holiday, and the coastal waters of ancient cities will be of interest to diving enthusiasts, because here the ruins of buildings, whose age reaches 2000 years, lie at the bottom. Lebanon is one of the few countries in the Middle East where skiing is possible.
Excursion and hiking in Lebanon is best done in spring (April-May) or autumn (October-November). At this time, mild weather conditions are noted, there is no sweltering heat, and the number of tourists is noticeably less compared to the summer months. The beach season starts in April and ends in early November. The ski season runs from November to April.
The official state language is Arabic. Arabs who are educated also speak French or English.
Geography in Lebanon
According to top-engineering-schools, Lebanon is located in the Middle East. From the west, the country is washed by the waters of the Mediterranean Sea, the length of the coastline is 225 km. In the east and north it borders with Syria, in the south with Israel. Until now, a small section of the Lebanese border with the Golan Heights, occupied by Israeli troops, in the south-east of the country remains a disputed territory.
The total area of the state is 10452 sq. km. Along the coast of Lebanon stretches a plain 6 km wide. To the east of the coastal plain, the mountains of Lebanon extend from the northeast to the southwest.and Anti-Lebanon, between which lies the narrow Bekaa Valley, which is a continuation of the East African Rift System. In general, the country is dominated by heights of about 1000 m. The maximum marks in the Bekaa valley reach 900 m, in the Anti-Lebanon mountains – 2800 m, and within the Lebanon ridge there is the highest point of the country – Mount Cornet es Saud (3083 m).
The main water artery of the state is the Litania River. It originates in the Anti-Lebanon Mountains, flows through the Bekaa Valley and flows into the Mediterranean Sea in the southern part of the coast. In the Bekaa Valley, the large Orontes River originates, which goes north to Syria. There is not a single navigable river in the country.
Climate in Lebanon
Lebanon has a subtropical Mediterranean climate type. Summers are hot here, while winters are cool and humid. The lowest temperatures are in January and the highest in August. On the coast in the summer, daytime temperatures can reach +36..+38 degrees, night – +28..+29 degrees. In winter, in coastal areas, during the day the air warms up to +16..+18 degrees, and at night it cools down to +10..+12 degrees. In addition, high humidity is maintained on the coast all year round – about 70%. In the eastern mountainous part of the country, the daily temperature amplitudes are more pronounced, they can reach 25 degrees. In winter, frosts occur in the mountains, and in summer the heat reaches +35 degrees. In the north-eastern part of Lebanon, sand and dust storms are frequent in the northern regions of the Bekaa Valley.
During the year, the country receives from 400 to 1300 mm of precipitation. Their number noticeably decreases from coastal areas and windward (western) slopes of the mountains to the Bekaa Valley, where sometimes the annual rainfall does not exceed 300 mm. Most of the precipitation falls between November and March, with a maximum in January. Snow falls in the mountains in winter, the highest peaks of the country are covered with snow for most of the year.
Best time to visit:
Hiking and sightseeing in Lebanon is best done in spring (April-May) or autumn (October-November). At this time, mild weather conditions are noted, there is no sweltering heat, and the number of tourists is noticeably less compared to the summer months. The beach season starts in April and ends in early November. The ski season runs from November to April.
The once mountainous slopes of Lebanon covered with dense cedar forests. Lebanese cedars were used very widely in ancient times: for shipbuilding and construction of houses, and under the Turks for heating. By the beginning of the 20th century, only a few areas of cedar forests remained on the territory of the country. Now the Lebanese cedar is a symbol of the country and is protected by the state. There are several protected areas of cedar forests in the mountains of Lebanon. These are the reserves: Cedars Bsharre, El Chouf Sidar, Tannurine and Horsh Eden. The Kedra Bsharre Reserve is located in the northern part of the Lebanon mountains in the vicinity of the Kedra ski resort.. The history of this protected area goes back to 1877, when, by decree of the Turkish Sultan Rastum Pasha, 102 hectares of cedar forest were surrounded by a high stone wall. The age of the local area of cedar forest reaches 2000 years. It grows on the slopes of Mount Makmel and consists of 400 trees, some of which are up to 35 m high and 14 m in diameter. Nowadays, about 3 km of hiking trails have been laid in the forest.
Also popular is the El Chouf Sidar nature reserve, located in the southern part of the mountains of Lebanon. on the slopes of Mount Baruk. Here on the territory of 550 sq. m is about 25% of the Lebanese cedars preserved in the country and about 500 plant species. In addition, the southern border of the distribution of these rare trees passes through the reserve. The reserve is home to 32 species of mammals: wild boars, gray wolves, martens, mountain gazelles, jackals, red foxes, badgers, squirrels, porcupines and hyenas, as well as 200 species of birds, 19 of which are rare.
In the northern part of Lebanon on the island of Palms, which is 6 km from the coast of Tripoli, since 1922 a nature reserve has been extended. In spring and autumn, during the migration season, you can see about 300 species of birds here, and from May to August, large-headed sea turtles nest on the shores of the island. On the south coast Lebanon is interested in the coastal reserve of Tyra. It was established in 1998 south of Sur on an area of 8 square meters. km. In the center of the reserve is the source of Ras El Ain with the remains of ancient aqueducts, which was the main source of water for the Phoenician Tire. There are also marches in the reserve where migratory birds stop in spring and autumn, and the local sandy beaches in the summer become one of the few places on Earth where rare large-headed and green sea turtles lay their eggs.
Among other natural attractions of Lebanon, one can single out the sacred valley of Kadisha near the Kedra ski resort, where you can see caves, river valleys, waterfalls, Maronite monasteries and original villages, located nearby the highest point in the country – Mount Cornet es Saud (3083 m), and Jeita Cave in the vicinity of Beirut.