12 Reasons Why You Should Visit Lebanon at Least Once in Your Lifetime

Mt. Lebanon | © Rabiem 22 /Flickr
Mt. Lebanon | © Rabiem 22 /Flickr
Photo of Amani Sharif
Freelance Writer3 May 2017

Lebanon is a small Mediterranean country, but its size doesn’t reflect the depth of its history. Lebanon has seen many peoples and civilizations, much war and strife. The Lebanese have come out stronger and continue to love their country. Here are 12 reasons why you should too.

The People

The Lebanese people are resilient and worldly, and offer a hospitality like no other. Lebanese people will invite you into their homes and insist you stay for coffee! They are famous for knowing how have a good time, no matter what the situation. We are defined by an easy-going attitude and an acceptance necessitated by our history. Don’t hesitate to talk to locals during your visit, as more often than not they will help you.

The Diversity

Lebanon is home to many different sects and nationalities, and despite the history of conflict, the majority of Lebanese still believe in their capability for peaceful living and acceptance. The people all have different interests, from religious groups to those concerned with alternative beauty, and all are truly free to express their identity.

Church and Mosque, Beirut | © Vladanr/ Wikimedia Commons

The Parties

The Lebanese can party like no other. From small family get-togethers to nightclubs and concerts, no one has a good time like the Lebanese. You just have to know where to look to find these once in a lifetime experiences. Places like Iris, Yukunkun and The Garten are only some of the places to have a good time. When you visit Lebanon, look out for the culture of happiness hidden under all the stress.

Yukunkun: Mar Antonios, Beirut, +961 71 861 874

The History

Lebanon is definitely one of the world’s most historical places, as its history predates written records. The area that became Lebanon was occupied by the Phoenicians between 300 and 800 BCE, and this trend of occupation continued for centuries, which makes for a fascinating visual history. Recent archaeological finds show that Lebanon still has many historical treasures to be discovered. Some places worth seeing are the Roman Ruins in Baalbek and Old Souks in Jbeil.

Temple of Bacchus, Baalbek | © Arian Zwegers/ Flickr

The Music

Lebanon is known for its big achievements in the regional music scene, as many world famous Arabic music artists hail from this country. Today, music in Lebanon is becoming more international, and many singers use English lyrics to widen their audience. Some famous bands are Mashrou’ Leila and Who Killed Bruce Lee. Make sure to seek out those small bands playing in pubs, as you never know how famous their music will become!

Mashrou' Leila | © Mikeandtoss/ Wikimedia Commons

The Films

Film is another art form the Lebanese are known for. Many local directors participate in international festivals and contests. Nadine Labaki with Where Do We Go Now? and Muriel Abouross with Stray Bullet are just a couple the many award-winning Lebanese directors. This culture is alive in Lebanon because the people feel the need to spread their stories to the world. Lebanon is full of people with stories yet to be discovered and local directors are making sure they get heard.

The Art

Lebanon is currently experiencing a rise in all things culture. From poetry to painting, there are circles for everyone to join. With globalization, the intellectual scene in the country is getting stronger. Ali Cherri and Jalal Toufic are two contemporary artists dominating the scene in Lebanon. The country’s history of war and ever-changing culture makes for an interesting aesthetic.

The Food

Lebanese food is known all over the world: tabbouleh, kefta and kebbeh are famous dishes. This food never quite tastes the same anywhere else, so pack your bags and come to Lebanon to try the real deal. Try Abu Naim in Hamra Street or Mayrig Downtown. Better yet, just walk around and pick a spot, to experience some of the best cuisine in the world.

Baba ganoush, arabian appetizer from tahini and baked eggplant, excellent dip for meat or separately only to the Arab bread | ©Vlastimil Kuzel/Shutterstock

The Secrets

Lebanon is a small country with a relatively small pool of tourist activities. This increases the likelihood of non-touristic experiences that you can discover or even create! Things like abandoned building adventures and story-telling nights are a thing here. Try Escape the Room or join Cliffhangers for one of their storytelling nights.

Abandoned Mansion, Beirut | © craigfinlay/ Flickr

The Fashion

The country is definitely one of, if not the, major fashion capital of the region. Designers like Elie Saab, Reem Acra and Zuhair Murad all started their careers in Beirut. The people are definitely fashion conscious in Lebanon, and the country continuously produces designers that reach global fame.

Dana's street style | © Dana Hourani

The Honesty

You won’t find brutal honesty and self-awareness like Lebanon’s anywhere else! The Lebanese know that their country is relatively behind on development, and acknowledge that fact. There is no shortage of literature reflecting the Lebanese tendency to critique themselves. The people resort to humor to lessen the edge of their reality. Try to read The Dictator, an absurdist play by Issam Mahfouz, or De Niro’s Game, a novel by Rawi Hage.

The Humor

Brutal honesty goes hand-in-hand with humor. Famous comedians like Nemr Abou Nassar find that jokes are a sure-fire way to get Lebanese voices heard. This is an attitude shared by the population in general. You’re unlikely to find such a rowdy, loud and funny group of people anywhere else in the world.

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