Straddling East and West, between sea and mountain, past and present, luxury and reconstruction, Beirut is a city where opposite realities live in a completely unique harmony. It is a city full of life in a country several thousand years old.
Dynamic, cosmopolitan, noisy, chaotic, but also enchanting and inviting, Beirut vibrates to its own unique rhythm, while at the same time resonating to the chant of the muezzin, the peal of church bells, and the constant din of car horns. It is a city that awakens passions, evokes dreams, and defies all indifference. For a fascinating insight into its history, visit Martyrs' Square, in the heart of old Beirut, recently rebuilt stone by stone. In many neighbourhoods, the Maronite church (Catholic) is next to the Orthodox church, which is next to the mosque. In the eastern part of the city, markets are side by side with luxury boutiques, bazaars pop up at the foot of palaces redolent of hookah smoke and the smell of the jasmine that hangs from balconies. Walking through suburbs still marked by war, one is surprised to see historical monuments like the National Museum of Beirut, the Sursock Museum, the American University, and the Clock Tower surrounded by new luxury stores, art galleries, and trendy restaurants. And no trip to Beirut is complete without a stroll along the Beirut Corniche to the Pigeon Rocks, two sentinels rising out of the sea at the westernmost tip of the city.
In Beirut, dining is a moveable feast of fragrant dishes, falafel, Turkish delight, white coffee, and mezze. Cooking is an art, but above all a way of life. And after years of conflict and instability, Beirut has once again become a temple of nightlife, on par with New York and London. You'll find the most high-spirited places in the neighbourhood of Gemmayzé. Don't leave the country without discovering Byblos, with its historic harbour and charming old town, and the exceptional archaeological sites in Tyre.
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