Beirut is unequivocally one of the most beautiful and unique cities in the world.
You won’t go to many cities where you may hear three different languages being spoken in the same sentence. Known as the Paris of the Middle East, Beirut is a graceful mix of sophisticated culture, with a profound history. Although it does have a tragic past, it does not diminish its beauty in the slightest; it adds to the strength of the people. Here are five absolute must see’s and do’s when you’re in Beirut.
Martyrs' Square. Beirut, Lebanon.
Lebanon has an extensive history of trials and tribulations, and Martyrs Square is one of the most profound and iconic tributes to the nation’s past. It was named in 1931 to honor the martyrs executed in 1916, when the country was under Ottoman rule. Prior to these events, the square encompassed major historic significance as the main meeting place of Beirut and the center of the city’s transport network.
Also known as the Blue Mosque, the Mohammad Al-Amin Mosuqe is a Sunni Muslim mosque and the biggest mosque in all of Lebanon, despite being established in 2008. Like the Saint George Greek Orthodox Cathedral, this mosque suffered numerous damages from the recent Beirut explosions, with shattered windows and chandeliers.
The National Museum of Beirut
National Museum of Beirut. Beirut, Lebanon.
An absolute must for anyone interested in Lebanese history, the National Museum of Beirut is the main gallery of Lebanon’s archaeology. The collections actually began to accumulate during World War I, but the museum didn’t officially open until 1942. There are thousands of artifacts exhibited, ranging in time from the Mamluk period all the way back to prehistoric eras. During the Civil War in 1975, some exhibits were damaged but thanks to multiple emergency measures that were taken, most collections were saved. After massive renovations, the museum has currently regained its former glory.
Located outside of Beirut in the beautiful Beqaa Valley, Château Ksara is your go-to destination if you’re trying to escape the city for a little bit. Founded all the way back in 1857, it is the first wine company in Lebanon to develop dry wine. It also has a distinct Medieval personality, so the experience is full of throwbacks to the 19th century. Château Ksara produces approximately 3 million bottles every year, with its wines exported to over 3 dozen countries.
Hamra Street. Beirut Lebanon.
Hamra Street isn’t merely one of the main streets of Beirut. It is filled with historical theaters and cafés that tell the story of its trendiness and intellectual significance in the mid-20th century. It houses many prestigious universities, libraries, hotels and much more. It’s constantly full of life, frequented by the region’s most prominent artists, poets, and intellectuals.
Corniche. Beirut Lebanon.
A famous seaside promenade throughout the Middle East, the Corniche of Beirut offers an unparalleled view of the Mediterranean Sea, along with some of Lebanon’s other national treasures, such as: Mount Lebanon. It is known as both a tourist location and a common spot for locals, as many natives jog and bike along the boardwalk.
Saint George Greek Orthodox Cathedral
Saint George Greek Orthodox Cathedral. Beirut Lebanon.
Saint George Greek Orthodox Cathedral is the oldest church still standing in Beirut. Following the civil war in 1975, the cathedral suffered heavy damage, it was even vandalized with several icons stolen then set to fire. Restoration began in 1998, the cathedral was finally opened again in 2003. Following the recent events of the explosion, however, the cathedral suffered extensive damage once again.
All the food!
I hate to sound biased, but Lebanon might just have the best food in the world. As people around the globe are becoming more conscious of our health, Lebanese cuisine has skyrocketed in popularity due to its use of fresh produce. Almost every meal includes an absolutely delicious array of herbs and spices that provide each dish explosions of flavors. I promise you, you will not find a combination of food that is both incredibly healthy and simply mouthwatering at the same time.