Location: Located on the East coast of the Mediterranean Sea, Lebanon is at the meeting point of three continents: Europe , Asia and Africa . Lebanon has been the crossroad of many civilizations ; the traces of which can still be seen today. Its countryside is a place of rocks, cedar trees and magnificent ruins that look down from the mountains to the sea.
Area: 4000 sq m (10452 sq km)
Click here to see Lebanon compared to the size of your state.
Major Cities: Beirut (Capital 1.3 m), Tripoli, Sidon, Zahle, Tyre and Jounieh.
Climate: Lebanon enjoys an essential four season Mediterranean climate with rainy winters, moderate springs, warm summers and regular autumns, with an average of 300 sunny days a year.
The winter is mild on the coast and snowy in the mountains and the summer is hot on the coast but cooler in the mountains. Lebanon is the only country in the Middle East that doesn’t have a desert.
3 million Lebanese live in Lebanon (Estimate 2001, last official census 1932)
15 million Lebanese and Lebanese decedents are estimated to be living around the globe
(Largest: Brazil 7 million, USA 3 million)
Ethnic Groups: Lebanon encompasses a great mix of cultures and ethnic groups which have been building up for more than 6000 years. Most of the Lebanese are descendants of the Phoenicians/Canaanites and/or West Aramaic (50-70%). The second largest ethnic group in Lebanon descends from Arabs (20-30%). Armenians, Greeks, Assyrians, Hebrews, Kurds, Persians and others form about (10-20%).
Religions: There is no state religion in Lebanon . However, Lebanon officially recognizes 17 religious sects of Christianity, Islam and Judaism. The estimate of religion distribution in Lebanon now is about 1% minorities, 40% Christians and about 60% Muslims.
Languages: Lebanese (Spoken), Arabic (Formal), French, English and Armenian
Education: About 60% of the schools in Lebanon use French as their basic language of education, about 20% use English, while 20% use both French and English as basic languages for education. Arabic language and Literature are taught in all schools, and the Arabic language is used in some schools for Philosophy, History and Sociology material.
Although a tiny country; Lebanon is well known for its American and European colleges and universities. The best-known American-system educational institutions are the American University of Beirut (AUB), Lebanese American University (LAU), Notre Dame University (NDU) and Balamand University . The best-known French-system schools are University of Saint Joseph (USJ) and University of the Holy Spirit (USEK, Kaslik). The (National) Lebanese University is centered in Beirut and also has four branches in the remaining districts of Lebanon .
Lebanese cuisine: The cuisine of Lebanon is the epitome of the Mediterranean diet. It includes an abundance of fruits, vegetables, starches, fresh fish and seafood. The enduring tradition of the Lebanese is starters; Mezza also known as hors d'oeuvres. Traditionally, the Lebanese food is served with Arak ; a clear licorice flavored liqueur made locally from grapes. When ice water is added to the Arak, the color turns into a cloudy white concoction and is the perfect addition to any Lebanese meal. The Lebanese have spread their cuisine to all parts of the world. It has become well known in fine restaurants in London , Paris , New York and Sidney serve tabboule, kibbee, hummus and baba’gannouj.
Government: By constitutional law, Lebanon is still one of the very few democracies in the entire Middle East with a constitution agreed upon in 1926. However, Lebanon lost its major features of democracy and human rights during 29 years of Syrian occupation (1976-2005)
Time: +02:00 GMT, +07:00 US EST
Holidays: In addition to national holidays, Lebanon recognizes all Christian and Muslim holidays (This schedule is subject to the government administrative decisions every year).
|New Year||1 day||St. Maroun's Day||9th February|
|Labor Day||1st May||Martyr's Day||6th May|
|Ascension||15th August||All Saints Day||1st November|
|Independence Day||22nd November||Christmas Day||25th Dec & 6th Jan|
|Holy Friday (Eastern)||1 day||Easter (Eastern)||1 day|
|Holy Friday (Western)||1 day||Easter (Western)||1 day|
|Eid Al-Fiter||3 days||Ashoura||1 day|
|Eid Al-Adha||3 days||Mawled Nabawi||1 day|
|Islamic New Year||1 day||Al-Isra' Wal-Mi'raj||1 day|
Lebanon is a small country at the Eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea . The Nature of Lebanon being distinguished from the mostly desert-countries surrounding it, along with the impact of the civilizations that inhabited Lebanon through thousands of years reached its peak in the second half of the 20th century, when Lebanon enjoyed prosperity, a free economy and the title of “ Most Civilized and Democratic” country of the region.
However, this did not last very long. The major Arab-Israeli conflict has found in Lebanon a landing on which to move the fight. Syrian, Palestinian and Israeli forces overtook the Lebanese territory moving their fight, since the 1970’s to the neutral country, too small to defend herself. Arms and funding were being funneled into Lebanon while several countries, Syria, Iran, Israel, Lybia and Palestinians were sponsoring guerillas trying to take place in a battle that is not on their own land. Great destruction and hundreds of thousands of casualties (mostly Lebanese civilians) transpired in Lebanon . All the while, relatively minor events were going on in the neighboring countries: Syria, Jordan, Egypt, Israel and the Palestinian territories. The UN Security Council issued several resolutions regarding Lebanon which were issued, but most of them were never enforced.
1.The Syrian army withdrew its troops from Lebanon late April 2005 after 30 years of occupation. The Syrian forces in Lebanon were estiamted to include 30,000 troops and about 20,000 intelligence agents (that is equivalent to sending 4 million troops to occupy the US). Syria detains hundreds of Lebanese in its prisons without charges.
2.Palestinians-There are approximately 400,000+ ungoverned Palestinians still living in camps in Lebanon and harboring armed guerrillas without any regard for the Lebanese people or country (This is equivalent to placing 50 million refugees in the United States at one time).
3.Israeli troops withdrew from the south of Lebanon on May, 2000, which they had occupied for 22 years. Israel holds a Lebanese man in an Israeli prison without charges. In July-August 2006, Israel launched an attack on Lebanon leaving over 1200 in casualties. The aggression was ended with a resolution from the UN in August 2006.
4.The Lebanese people were forced to leave their country due to economical disaster caused by the political crisis and Syrian illegal labor-force in Lebanon until May 2005. Approximately 35% of the Lebanese population left the country ever since 1990, when Syrian troops completely captured the capital Beirut..
Lebanon, the country that used to be called the “ Switzerland of the East”, now experiences a damaged Economy while trying to reform its Syrian-modeled totalitarian regime, and to restore its records in human rights that were violated under Syrian control (for Details). Also, the country is trying to recover from the Israeli attack of 2006.