Flag of Lebanon

Language: Arabic, French

Currency: Lebanese pound (LBP)

Calling Code: 961


The Republic of Lebanon is a small country in the Middle East. It has a long coastal strip to the Mediterranean in the west and an equally long state border to the much larger neighbor Syria in the east. In the south, the country shares a partly disputed border with Israel.

The cedars of Lebanon are already mentioned in the writings of the Old Testament by King Solomon. The region is one of the longest populated areas on earth. In the first and second millennium B.C. In the 4th century BC, today's Lebanon is under the control of the Egyptians and Babylonians, among others. During this time, independent small kingdoms also emerged in Byblos, Tire and Sidon. Due to trade, the coastal cities are rising rapidly.

From 1000 BC In the 4th century BC, these coastal cities developed into small kingdoms and became the cultural and trading area of Phenicia. Its trade relations extend across the entire Mediterranean region. The Phoenician alphabet was developed here, which also forms the basis for our modern alphabet. With Carthage (near Tunis in today's Tunisia) is 814 BC. The most important Phoenician colony was founded in North Africa in the 1st century BC.

About 500 years later, Tire was besieged by Alexander the Great in 332 because it did not surrender like Tripoli, Byblos, Beirut and Sidon. Alexander builds a cedar dam to take over the island city. After six months, Tire is the last of the cities to fall to Alexander.

With the rise of the Romans as an all-dominating power, it fell in 64 BC. to Rome and became part of the Eastern Roman Empire in 395. The country's importance had already diminished significantly when it was largely destroyed by an earthquake in 551 AD.

Between the tenth and eleventh centuries, the Aramaic Maronites immigrated to Lebanon, making them the largest Christian religious community in the country.

In the course of the spread of Islam and the Arab conquests, Lebanon was annexed to the Caliphate, to which Syria already belonged, in 636 after the Battle of Yarmuk. In the eleventh century, Lebanon became a refuge for the Druze Muslim sect, who still live in Lebanon and Israel today.

The Crusades marked the beginning of an eventful time for the country, where it was the scene of numerous battles. With the victory over the Seljuks in the First Crusade, the County of Tripoli was established in 1109. The Crusaders' rule lasted until the end of the 13th century (1291), when they were driven out by the Mamelukes.

In 1517, Lebanon fell to the Ottoman Empire, to whose territory it belonged until 1860. However, Lebanon receives extensive autonomy under the Druze rulers. The Man clan ruled from 1517 to 1635. The last ruler, Fahrradin II, conquered the Ottomans. He was beaten and executed in 1635. From 1697 the Chehab clan took control. This tribe converted to the Maronite faith and ruled until 1840. Lebanon regained importance and became known as the Levant in the 19th century. Due to the different interests of Egypt, France, England and the Ottoman Empire, there are increasing internal political tensions of a religious nature. This led to the end of Druze rule and a reorganization of the country in 1845. The northern part was ruled by Maronites and the southern part by Druze, with the Wali of Sidon presiding over both. During this time, councils are also formed that report to the governors and represent the respective religious community. This division of offices according to religious affiliation continues to this day. The uneasy peace lasted until 1860. What originally began as a peasant protest turned into a religious dispute between the Maronite farmers and the Druze feudal lords. There is an escalation in the course of which there is a massacre of the Maronites. There is talk of 7,000 to 20,000 dead Maronites. Since the Ottoman Empire did nothing, France intervened and the Mont-Liban region was formed as an autonomous region. The rest of Lebanon now becomes an autonomous region in the Ottoman Empire with a Catholic governor who cannot come from Lebanon. Beirut is thriving and gaining a reputation as the Paris of the Orient. In 1915, Lebanon was placed under Ottoman military administration, which lasted until 1919.

After the First World War, Lebanon and Syria were placed under the mandate of France in 1920. Lebanon was given its own constitution in 1926 in accordance with the provisions of the League of Nations. This meant that the idea of a federation with Syria, which was also under a French mandate, was shelved. During the Second World War, Lebanon was controlled by troops of the Allies and Free France under de Gaulle. Together with the British, Lebanon's Maronite and Sunni representatives fight for independence.

Lebanon was one of the founding members of the UN in 1945 and, in the person of Charles Malik, played a key role in the drafting of the UN Charter. The country was under American influence until 1958, and the “American University” in particular was the gateway here.

Over the next few decades there were repeated unrests, the cause of which was to be found in the dispute over the political direction of the state. These disputes call on the US government as well as the PLO and Israel. This is how Israel bombed Beirut airport in 1968, following a PLO guerrilla operation. It has had its headquarters in Lebanon since 1970.

The civil war begins in 1975, bringing with it interventions from Syria and Israel. This leads to direct clashes between US forces and the Syrian army. In the south, Hezbollah operates against Israeli troops. The Israelis left Lebanon in 1985 except for a security zone in the south and in 1989 the post-war period and reconstruction began with the Taif Agreement.

From 1992 to 2004, Prime Minister Hariri ruled the country and rebuilt it in the spirit of the neo-liberal economic theories of his American sponsors. This period also marked the final withdrawal of the Israeli armed forces from southern Lebanon in 2000. He resigned in 2004. On February 14, 2005 he died in an attack in Beirut. New government formed under Prime Minister Siniora. The office of Prime Minister was then taken over by the son of the deceased Saad Hariri, again true to American models.

Hezbollah operates in the south of the country. The 2006 war, started by Israeli attacks, ended after a ceasefire. To stabilize the situation, UN troops (UNIFIL) were reinforced by Bundeswehr fighters, among others; their mandate is extended annually.



Beirut – the capital and largest city.
Sidon (Arabic: Saida)


Travel Destination in Lebanon

 Medieval town of Anjar was originally built as a trading post on the crossing of the trading routes in the strategic Bekaa Valley.

Ruins of the ancient town of Baalbek in the Beqaa Valley is one of the most important archeological sites left from the time of Antiquity.

Byblos Castle is a well preserved example of European military architecture in the Middle East that remains in near perfect preservation state.

Jeita Grotto is a large network of naturally formed caves with splendid geological formations near Beirut, capital of Lebanon.

Picturesque Kadisha Valley is famous for its numerous ancient Christian monasteries perched on its beautiful cliffs.

Sidon Sea Castle is a medieval fortress constructed on the island by Crusaders in the early 13th century to defend their conquests.

Tyre is one of the most important and one of the largest ancient archaeological sites situated in South Governorate in Lebanon.


Getting here

Due to the political situation prevailing in 2018, the only viable entry option is by air to Beirut.

Entry requirements
Most Western foreigners no longer require a visa to enter Lebanon. After arriving, fill out an entry form and then go straight to passport control (to the counters for foreigners on the right). The passport details are then entered into the computer and you receive your entry stamp, which entitles you to stay for up to one month. You will be asked for your telephone number and address in the country. The father's first name is also sometimes requested information. The “valid for at least 6 months” rule has been abolished, but word of this hasn’t spread too widely in 2018.

The passport must not contain a stamp from the State of Israel or a Jordanian/Egyptian stamp from a land border crossing into Israel - the border guards leaf through the passport page by page and send back anyone who presents such a passport!

The Austrian emergency passports (cream-colored) are not valid for entry, but the German temporary passports are accepted.

Extensions of stay
The General Directorate of General Security is responsible (hotline: ☎ 1717; office hours 8:00 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.); the addresses of the regional offices can be found on the website. Overstaying your visa can result in high penalties; in any case, an “Exit Visa” must also be applied for.

By plane
The only international airport is Beirut Airport (IATA: BEY). Cheap connecting connections from Central Europe are offered by Turkish Pegasus, Turkish, Egypt Air and Royal Jordanian. With the last two providers, the flight time is significantly longer due to poor connections.

By train
There is no rail service in Lebanon.

By bus
Bus connections are available from Damascus and other cities in Syria. To what extent it makes sense to travel there in 2018 is another question.

All land borders are closed for tourist purposes.

By boat
There are occasional cruise connections from Limassol (Cyprus) in the summer. From Tripoli, a Med Star ferry travels to Turkey to Taşucu, about 100 kilometers west of Mersin.

MedStar. Tel.: +90 (0)533 123 72 33, email: info@medstarinfo.com, medstarline@hotmail.com . The ferry runs about three times a week, but not according to schedule, but always when the ship is full of trucks. Therefore, even a short-term announcement of departure can be postponed to another day. Price: Single trip from Tripoli to Taşucu 200$.


Local transport

Due to its small size, you can cross Lebanon from north to south in just three hours. The main means of transport are buses, taxis and private cars.

When traveling by taxi, you should negotiate the price in advance to avoid surprises. Taxi costs from the airport to downtown Beirut cost 20-5 US$; foreigners are sometimes charged 35 US$ for the 7-8 km (here the louder and more intrusive the more expensive). Negotiating the price is an absolute must here, otherwise you will be confronted with exorbitant prices. Within the city of Beirut the price is fixed at 10,000 LL, provided you do not identify yourself as a tourist. Official taxis (and buses) have red license plates, but there are also numerous unregulated ones, e.g. B. are traveling for Uber.

A service is significantly cheaper. It can be described as a mix between a taxi and a bus. As a rule, the vehicle is a Mercedes car or a minibus; it always shows its taxi license with a red license plate. A fixed route is traveled and the vehicle stops as soon as someone indicates that they would like to take a ride. As many people will be taken along as will fit. A trip within the city usually costs 2,000 lira, and a trip from Beirut to Tripoli costs at least 5,000 lira.

All major cities are regularly served by buses from Beirut. There are three bus stations in Beirut, see more in the Beirut article.

Rental cars are available from international car rental companies from around €30 per day (weekly packages around €100), and it is usually cheaper to rent a car than to have to use a taxi for every long journey. There are constant traffic jams in Beirut.

“The unpredictable driving style of many road users and the often inadequate signage on the roads cause certain difficulties for foreign motorists.” The Lebanese driving style differs greatly from that of Western Europe: right-of-way rules are usually negotiated using hand signals and honking. Traffic lights (if available) are more of a guideline. Under no circumstances should you try to insist on your right of way, as is common practice in Germany. The maximum speed of 100km/h outside of town is not even driven by locals due to the heavy traffic and poor road conditions.

Refueling: Every gas station usually has a gas station attendant who takes care of refueling and cashing out. At the beginning of 2013 the price for 20 liters of petrol was 36,200LL



In addition to Arabic, English and French are also taught in the Lebanese school. Depending on the part of the country, you may also meet locals who speak little or no Arabic. English is spoken and understood everywhere.



The Lebanese lira, also known as the Lebanese pound, was pegged to the US dollar for a long time. Since the beginning of the crisis, the official rate (in banks and at ATMs) has fallen from 1:1850 to US$1 = 16200 lira by the end of May 2023. On the street, however, you can get over 100,000 lira per dollar for cash, depending on the amount. (As of May 2023) In Lebanon you can pay everywhere with either US$ or Lebanese lira. Depending on which currency the seller has in stock, you will receive Lira or US$ as change.

Notes are around 1000LBP, 5000LBP, 10000LBP, 20000LBP, 50000LBP and 100000LBP. There are coins of 250LBP and 500LBP.

In the years after 2000, many people working in the tourism sector focused primarily on wealthy travelers from the Gulf States. They charge corresponding prices that are not always appropriate for the quality offered. Travelers with simple requirements should allow for a daily budget of €75 to €100 in 2018. If you are very economical, €30 can be enough.



Lebanese cuisine is the most famous in the Arab world. The starters, the so-called mezze, are very well known and range from eggplant puree to small filled dough rolls to raw pureed meat dip.

Grilled food in all variations with sauces, vegetarian falafel and many other delicacies also invite you to dine.

Shish Taouk or Shish Tawook are chicken skewers marinated in yogurt, vinegar, lemon and spices. They are grilled and served in a pita bread with tomato, cucumber and lots of garlic. It is often accompanied by onions, hummus and tabbouleh, or even fries.
Kafta are heavily seasoned, fried, baked or grilled minced meat rolls, usually made of lamb, beef or both, which are available in numerous variations.
Manqoushe (plural: Manaqish, Manaqeesh) is a flatbread with a herb paste (zatar), similar to a pizza. A thin yeast dough is spread with a mixture of thyme, sesame, salt, sumac and olive oil and then baked.
Zatar is a spice mixture with the main ingredient thyme plus sumac, roasted sesame seeds and salt, which is known throughout the Arab world. In Lebanon, coriander, anise, fennel, sunflower seeds and nuts are also added. Zatar is mixed with olive oil and spread on a flatbread (see manqoushe). The mixture can also be used for meat and as a dip.



Coffee is usually served “Turkish”. In addition to regular black tea, yerba mate is also surprisingly popular. Alcohol is legal and easily available in the cities in the form of wine and arak. Things are different in predominantly Muslim rural regions. Tap water is not drinkable.



The heart of the nightlife with numerous clubs, bars and restaurants is Rue Mono in the Ashrafieh district. Prices for drinks in the better establishments can be higher than those in Central European capitals.
An architectural highlight of the club scene is the BO18, located just outside, by the Lebanese architect Bernard Khoury.

Since 2016, when Saudi Arabia and some other Gulf countries imposed travel bans, the high-priced establishments in particular have been missing a large proportion of customers. Things became much quieter around Beirut's Place de l'Étoile.



Lebanon is visited by many tourists from the Gulf States. The list of hotels is therefore large and offers something to suit every taste and budget. Very cheap tariffs are available during Ramadan. Especially at the turn of the year, the numerous 5-star hotels are almost always fully booked.

In general, hotel prices are at the Central European level of the corresponding category. There are hardly any hostels, but if you do, you'll have to factor in LL 40,000 for a dorm bed in the capital in 2018. For twice as much you can get a room in a mid-range hotel.

When choosing suitable accommodation, you should definitely consider the location. Due to the heavy traffic and the predominantly older cars, the air smells strongly of gasoline, especially in downtown Beirut. If you value peace and quiet and good air, you should give preference to a hotel by the water. If you go skiing in the mountains and ski areas around the cedar forests in winter, you should make reservations well in advance. We recommend the package deals from Lebanese travel providers, which also include the transfer from the airport.



Beaches are often rocky, often privately owned and therefore only accessible during the season for a fee (approx. €8.00 to €12.00). The water quality does not meet European standards, especially in the urban area between Sidon and Byblos.

Skiing is possible, even if the season is naturally short.

The coastal plain is Mediterranean with hot, dry summers. Snow falls in mountainous areas in winter. The most pleasant time to travel is March to May.



Attention: You should definitely avoid the “I'm from Israel” joke, even in western-oriented Lebanon.

Lebanon is in an earthquake zone.

Importing and distributing pornographic material is illegal. Prostitution is also prohibited, even if the ban is not enforced everywhere.

Foreigners must be able to show papers at all times. In the country there are military roadblocks at all important city entrances and exits as well as at major junctions. You will usually be waved through, but you should still approach them with great caution. These, military and corresponding facilities, or corresponding public buildings may not be photographed. “Shots are often fired into the air during political speeches or family gatherings. This custom repeatedly leads to injuries, sometimes fatal, from falling bullets.”

In the case of mixed marriages, the rules of the religious communities apply. In principle, Muslim fathers have the right to determine their place of residence; bans on leaving the country are often imposed at short notice in the event of custody disputes.



In Lebanon, as in other Mediterranean countries, you can find many street restaurants, cafés and fast food providers. Basically, most of them are very hygienic and you can eat as you please, but it's better to be safe than sorry.

Basically, there are a lot of hospitals here, the St. Joseph in the Christian part of Beirut, the AUB of the American university in Hamra, the Rassoul on the road to the airport, etc. In principle, you can find very clean and competent ones in every neighborhood and even outside of Beirut Hospitals.

Be careful, even if you have taken out international health insurance at home, you should come to the hospital with cash (or have a credit card with you, all hospitals have ATMs). Admission takes place through an advance payment from a deposit, which is then billed. These deposits are from US$1000 upwards. For example, the AUB requires a deposit of $5,000. Or, if time permits, call the foreign health insurer in advance and summon the responsible office in Lebanon so that the deposit payment can be paid directly by this branch.

There are very good specialists.


Rules and respect

Outside the cities you should adapt to the circumstances.

Beirut itself is a multicultural city, unique in the Arab world. Accordingly, there are places such as: B. Mosques, which should not be entered without long clothing and a headscarf (women). The churches also demand this respect.


Post and telecommunications

Internet cafés have sprung up like mushrooms on every corner and chatting with mic and cam is normal, most of them have broadband technology. Prices vary from neighborhood to neighborhood, from around 1000LBP to 5000LBP.



The post office works and if you stay in Lebanon for a long time you can rent a post office box. Cost per (starting) calendar year approx. 75,000 LBP. In Beirut you receive mail to your home if you have a home address.



Providers are (both offer prepaid mobile internet):
Alfa, area codes ☎ +961 31 to 35, 79 or 767, 768, 769, 812, 813. In 2018, 1.5 Gb of prepaid data cost US$ 17.
touch, area codes ☎ +961 30 or 37 to 39, or 764, 765, 816, 817.



The name was given to the Lebanon mountain range, which runs through the country along the Mediterranean coast. The name of the range, in turn, comes from the ancient Semitic laban ("white") - its relatively high peaks are covered with snow in winter.



Lebanon is located in the Middle East. In the west it is washed by the Mediterranean Sea, the coastline is 225 km. In the north and east it borders with Syria, in the south with Israel. The Syrian-Lebanese border has a length of 375 km, the Lebanese-Israeli - 79 km. A small segment of the Lebanese border with the Golan Heights (Shebaa Farms), annexed by Israel, is a disputed territory.

The total area of ​​Lebanon is 10452 km². The country is 161st in size in the world. Most of Lebanon is covered by mountains, except for the Bekaa Valley in the northeast and a narrow flat area stretched from north to south along the seashore. Coastal Lebanon is separated from the eastern regions by the Lebanon and Anti-Lebanon mountain ranges. Lebanon has deposits of limestone, iron ore, and salt deposits. Lebanon is rich in water resources. The Litani River is the main source of water for southern Lebanon. However, there are no navigable rivers in the country.



Lebanon has a Mediterranean climate. In coastal regions, winters tend to be cool, while summers are hot and humid. In winter, in the mountains, the temperature drops below 0 °, snow is possible. Although the average annual rainfall in Lebanon is much higher than in neighboring countries, an arid climate prevails in the northeast, as the mountains block the flow of moist air from the sea. Sand and dust storms often occur.

In ancient Lebanon, forests of the Lebanese cedar, which became a symbol of the country, grew in huge numbers. For centuries, trees have been cut down without replanting as the main material in shipbuilding. This led to the fact that by the 20th century, only separate islands of greenery remained on the site of the richest forests.



The flora of Lebanon consists of approximately 2200-2400 species. There are no endemic families in it, the number of endemic genera is small, and endemic species are associated with young progressive speciation in polymorphic genera. The flora of Lebanon is dominated by the Mediterranean floristic element with a slight admixture of Iranian-Turanian species.

The vegetation of Lebanon (as a mainly mountainous country) has a belt character. The lower belt is represented on limestone rocks by a typical Mediterranean maquis. It is dominated by European olive (Olea europaea). In the north, in the Tripoli region, it rises to 600-800 m abs. height, and in the east along the slopes of Hermon it reaches 700 m abs. high Together with the olive tree, there are oleander (Nerium oleander), evergreen oaks - Lusitanian oak (Quercus lusitanica), Kaleprin oak (Quercus calliprinos), Tavor oak (Quercus ithaburensis), shrubs - olive-like wolfberry (Daphne oleoides), prostrate cherry (Prunus prostrate), rosemary officinalis (Rosmarinus officinalis) and herbs - Lavandula stoechas (Lavandula stoechas), Dorycnium hirsutum, yellow palm (Cytinus hypocistis), bush lily (Bupleurum fruticosum), Glynus lotoides (Glynus lotoides), painkiller (Clobularia alupum), Pastinaca teretiuscula, Turgeniopsis foeniculaea, etc.

The next is the forest belt of Lebanon, extending from 600-800 m to 2300-2400 m abs. high, well expressed in the central part of the country, where sandstones predominate. The vegetation of the sandstones is severely disturbed by clearings and grazing. The greatest harm is caused by goats, which are not so much herbivores as carnivores. At altitudes from 1300 to 2000 m, there are few sparse groves of majestic trees such as the Lebanese cedar (Cedrus libani), the best of which is in the Bsherra valley at an altitude of 1520 m.

In the forest belt there are also oriental plane trees (Platanus orientalis), Syrian maple (Acer syriacum), mann ash (Fraxinus ornus) and conifers - Aleppo pine (Pinus halepensis), Calabrian pine (Pinus brutia), evergreen cypress (Cupressus sempervirens), fir Cilician juniper (Abies cilicica), tree-like junipers - in Lebanon prickly juniper (Juniperus oxycedrus) and smelly juniper (Juniperus foetidissima), and on Hermon - high juniper (Juniperus excelsa). Higher up, arborescent junipers are replaced by shrubby stone juniper (Juniperus drupacea). Ferns are not uncommon in the forests, of which the most interesting are the peculiar Pteris arguta and Pteris longifolia, and thickets of narrow-leaved willow tea (Chamerion angustifolium).

From a height of 2300-2400 m begins the least studied belt of high-mountain alpine vegetation. Pontic rhododendron (Rhododendron ponticum), Selaginella Selaginella denticulate, forest sedge (Carex sylvatica) and other boreal and arcto-alpine plants grow here: saxifrage (Saxifraga), anemone (Anemone), buttercup (Ranunculus), grains (Draba), gentian ( Gentiana).

In the much drier mountains of Anti-Lebanon, the vegetation is poorer, deciduous species are almost absent, and of the conifers, only the Lebanese cedar (Cedrus libani) and the stone juniper (Juniperus drupacea) are found. In the lower belt, here and there, singly evergreen oaks and Palestinian pistachio (Pistacia palaesina) grow, and sometimes there are also desert-steppe groups of prickly prickly pistachio (Poterium spinosum).

Cultivated plants in Lebanon are few. This is mainly wheat and barley, only on the Mediterranean coast are citrus and other fruit trees, grapes, figs (Ficus carica) and olives.



Ancient Lebanon

The appearance of the first settlements on the territory of modern Lebanon dates back to the 6th millennium BC. e. In the vicinity of Byblos, archaeologists have discovered the remains of prehistoric huts and primitive tools. Some household items point to the existence of sites of fishing tribes from the Neolithic period as early as the 8th-7th millennium BC.

Lebanon became the birthplace of Phoenicia, a developed maritime trading state that stretched along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. The Phoenicians gave the world the first alphabet. The heyday of Phenicia fell on 1200-800 BC. e. In the VI century BC. e. Phoenicia fell under the rule of the Persians, led by Cyrus the Great. In 332 BC. e. Alexander the Great made a campaign against Phenicia, destroying its largest city, Tire. With the collapse of the Macedonian empire, Lebanon became part of the Seleucid Kingdom, and at the end of the 1st century BC. e. - The Roman Empire.

During the period of the Arab conquests and the formation of the Caliphate, Islam penetrated Lebanon. In the 12th century, Lebanon became part of the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem. In 1261, the crusaders were expelled from Lebanon by the Mamluk Turks, and Lebanon was part of Mamluk Egypt until 1516. In 1517, Sultan Selim I annexed this territory to the Ottoman Empire. The emirs of the Shehab dynasty ruled Lebanon from 1697 to 1842.


French Mandate

The territory of Lebanon (as part of Greater Syria) was part of the Ottoman Empire for more than 400 years. After the defeat of Turkey in the First World War and the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, the territory of Greater Syria was occupied in 1918 by British troops under the command of General Alenby. Subsequently, under the Sykes-Picot agreement of 1916 between the Entente countries, the territory of Syria was transferred to France, and management was legalized in the form of a French mandate from the League of Nations. In 1926, the territory of Lebanon was separated from Syria, and Lebanon became a separate territorial unit, governed, however, by the administration of the French Mandate of Syria.


Independent Lebanon

In 1940 France was occupied by Germany. Already in November, the first elections were held and a government was formed. Lebanon officially gained independence in 1943. The unwritten "National Pact" established a rule according to which the president of the country should be a Maronite Christian, and the prime minister should be a Sunni Muslim (the speaker of parliament should be a Shiite Muslim). In 1948, Lebanon took part in the first Arab-Israeli war. After the defeat of the Arab Liberation Army, Lebanon signed a ceasefire agreement with Israel. 100 thousand Arab refugees moved to Lebanon.

Since 1956, contradictions between Christians and Muslims began to intensify in Lebanon, which resulted in a civil war in May 1958. To maintain power in the country, President Camille Chamoun turned to the United States for military assistance. American troops were in the country from July to October until the situation was completely normal.


Civil War

In 1975, a second civil war broke out in Lebanon between right-wing Christian forces and left-wing Muslim militias, who were supported by Palestinian militants in Lebanon. The war lasted 15 years, destroying the once prosperous economy of the country, and claimed the lives of more than 150,000 people. The bloodshed ended in 1990 with the signing of the Taif Accords.

In 1976, at the request of the then government, Syrian troops entered Lebanon. Syrian occupation (eng.)rus. continued until 2005, despite the official demands of the Lebanese presidents for the withdrawal of Syrian troops, starting in 1983.

Twice Israel Defense Forces (IDF) troops were introduced into Lebanese territory. The first time was in March 1978, after the capture of two buses with hostages, when 36 Israeli citizens died and over 70 were injured; the second in June 1982 - in response to the assassination attempt on the Israeli ambassador in London, Shlomo Argov, massive bombardments were carried out on PLO positions in Lebanon. Then the PLO subjected to massive shelling of the territory of Israel, and the IDF forces entered the territory of southern Lebanon. IDF forces remained in southern Lebanon until 2000. After the withdrawal of troops between Israel and Lebanon, a clear border was drawn - the so-called "blue line", but the Shebaa farms north of the Golan Heights remained a disputed territory.


Subsequent period

In the post-war period, the Lebanese economy grew rapidly.

A short period of relative calm was interrupted by a government crisis provoked by the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, followed by the withdrawal of Syrian troops from the country and the Israeli-Lebanese conflict in 2006.

In 2007, the situation in Lebanon was complicated by the crisis around the Nahr al-Barid camp.

In 2011, a conflict arose in Lebanon between the largest parliamentary factions. And in 2015, a wave of protests swept across the country due to government inaction and a political crisis, during which parliament could not elect a president until 2016.

On March 9, 2020, Lebanon defaulted on US$1.2 billion in bonds for the first time in the country's history. The total external debt reached $90 billion (more than 150% of GDP).

On August 10, 2020, the Lebanese government officially resigned in full force.


State structure

The "Lebanese model" (confessionalism) of the state system, which has existed for more than half a century, was created in 1943 in the process of gaining independence from France by Lebanon. In order to ensure more or less equal access to supreme power for all religious denominations, the following order was developed: the president of the country should be a Maronite Christian, the prime minister should be a Sunni Muslim, the speaker of parliament should be a Shiite Muslim, and the government should be equally represented by Christians and Muslims. According to the constitution, Lebanon is a parliamentary republic.

Legislative power is represented by the Assembly of Representatives (Arabic: مجلس النواب‎), the Lebanese Parliament, which consists of 128 deputies directly elected for a four-year term. The Assembly has 64 Muslims (27 Sunnis, 27 Shiites, 8 Druze and 2 Alawites) and 64 Christians (32 Maronites, 20 AAC Armenians, 2 Armenian Catholics, 7 Orthodox, 1 Greek Catholic (Melkite), 1 Protestant, as well as 1 more at your discretion). The parliament elects the president, approves the composition of the government, approves the laws and budget of the republic.

The President (Maronite) is elected by the Assembly of Representatives for a 6-year term, and the same person cannot hold office twice. Twice in history, this rule was violated: in 1995, the term of office of Ilyas Chraoui was extended for 3 years, and also in 2004, the presidential powers until November 23, 2007 were extended for Emile Lahoud. The President, on the recommendation of Parliament, appoints the Prime Minister (Sunni) and his first deputy. After consultations with the president and parliament, the prime minister forms the cabinet of ministers also on the principle of religious quotas.

In accordance with the confessional division in Lebanon, political parties were also born, which for the most part have a religious character. Christian, Sunni, Shiite, Druze parties are not fighting against each other, but for seats within predetermined confessional quotas. In each of the confessions, several political forces opposing each other have historically developed. For example, among the Lebanese Christians there were both fierce opponents of the Syrian military presence in Lebanon (for example, General Michel Aoun or the commander of the united Christian militia "Lebanese Forces" Samir Jaajaa), as well as politicians loyal to Syria, who just got presidential posts (Rene Muawwad, Elias Chraoui, Emile Lahoud).

Former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri was the first to challenge this system. He came to power not relying on any of the existing religious and political parties, but thanks to his colossal fortune. It also allowed him to carry out the restoration of the destroyed country. Syria supported the preservation of the old system of confessional quotas, stating that the only alternative to it could be a new civil war.

According to the Economist Intelligence Unit, the country in 2018 was classified on the Democracy Index as a hybrid regime.


Lebanese political forces

A feature of Lebanese politics is the division of all political forces into supporters and opponents of Syrian influence in the country [source not specified 1886 days]. Currently, the first are united in the March 8 Coalition, which has 68 out of 128 seats in parliament, and the second - in the March 14 Coalition (60 seats in parliament). In every ethno-confessional group in Lebanon there are parties that act both from pro-Syrian and anti-Syrian positions.

The main parties of the Christian community are the Free Patriotic Movement (SPD), Kataib (Lebanese Phalanx), Lebanese Forces, National Liberal Party (NLP), Marada. The pro-Syrian positions are occupied by the SPD and Marada, the anti-Syrian ones by the Falangists, the Lebanese Forces, and the National Liberals. The movement of the Freedom Front stands for the consolidation of Christian political forces.

The largest Sunni Muslim party is the anti-Syrian Future Movement. The Shia community is dominated by the pro-Syrian Amal and Hezbollah.

A special place is occupied by the Druze Progressive Socialist Party (whose leader Walid Jumblatt is known for his unscrupulousness). It constantly changes its position depending on which political and / or military force prevails in Lebanon, standing up for the interests of the Druze community.

Party lists are built on a confessional basis, and within the party lists, seats are distributed according to the clan principle. At the same time, the confessional-clan division of Lebanon has a geographical reflection: adherents of one clan, as a rule, compactly inhabit a certain area and traditionally nominate the same representative.


2005 parliamentary election results by constituency

Constituency No. 1 - Beirut (19 deputies). All 19 seats went to the Al-Mustaqbal party. General Michel Aoun's Free Patriotic Movement and the Armenian Dashnaktsutyun Party did not win a single seat. Even before the elections, Michel Aoun called on the people of Beirut to boycott the elections, since, in his opinion, their results were predetermined. The leaders of the Armenian Dashnaktsutyun party also called not to participate in the elections. As a result, the lowest voter turnout was observed in the Christian districts of Beirut.

Constituency No. 2 - South Lebanon. The majority was received by the Amal-Hezbollah alliance.

Constituency No. 3 - Mount Lebanon and the Bekaa Valley - Michel Aoun received the majority.

Constituency No. 4 - Northern Lebanon - Saad Hariri's bloc received all 28 seats.



Lebanese make up the bulk of the Lebanese population. A large number of refugees from Palestine and their descendants, many of whom still live in camps organized decades ago (they have a number of restrictions on their rights compared to the native Lebanese: for example, there is a ban on practicing 70 professions).

Currently, there are (many illegally) about two million refugees and temporary migrants from Syria in the country.

In addition, thousands of foreign workers (India, Bangladesh, Philippines, Ethiopia, etc.) have been living in the country for years, doing various unskilled work in the country.

A fairly large Russian-speaking diaspora (including the descendants of citizens of the Russian Empire who moved to Lebanon after the 1917 revolution).



Benefits: Tourism. Financial Services Industry. Potential for winemaking and fruit growing. Low inflation (0.5% in 2004). The US has lifted its financial restrictions. Labor productivity in agriculture - the highest in the Arab world - is more than ten times higher than in Russia, higher than in Germany, etc.

Weaknesses: dependence on oil and gas imports. High public debt. Neighboring Syria is driving down the prices of essential goods. Reports of corruption undermine investor confidence.

Lebanese Deputy Prime Minister Saad al-Shami announced the "bankruptcy of the state and the Central Bank of Lebanon."



There are 4 universities in Beirut, a state symphony orchestra, many music festivals are held - the most famous Beiteddinsky and Baalbek, where Pavarotti, Carreras and other world celebrities performed.

Many Lebanese speak at least 3 languages.


Religion in Lebanon

About 60% of the Lebanese population is Muslim (Sunnis, Shiites, Alawites and Druze). The number of Christians of various denominations in Lebanon reaches 40% (according to experts, 40.5%) of the population. On the territory of Lebanon, there are, in particular, the Orthodox (Greek Orthodox), the Armenian Apostolic Church, the Syrian-Jacobite Orthodox Church, six Eastern Catholic churches - Maronite (Western Syrian), Chaldean Catholic, Melkite (Greek Catholic), Armenian Catholic, Syrian Catholic and Coptic Catholic.



Lebanon is home to an extremely small number of world famous athletes. Future bodybuilders Samir Bannut (winner of the Mr. Olympia tournament) and Mohammed Bannut, Ahmad Haidar (absolute world champion in 1997) were born in Lebanon.

Lebanon regularly takes part in the Asian and Olympic Games, both in summer and winter. Four times Lebanese athletes became Olympic medalists: wrestler Zakaria Chigab (Helsinki-1952) and weightlifter Mohamed Torabulsi (Munich-1972) won silver, wrestlers Khalil Taha (Helsinki-1952) and Hasan Bekhara (Moscow-1980) won bronze. .

Participation in the Asian Games brought great success to athletes from Lebanon - they climbed to the highest step of the podium five times. One of the gold medals was won at the Asian Winter Games. This success was achieved by skier Niki Furstbauer at the Winter Asian Games-2003.


Armed forces

During the civil war, the state armed forces actually disintegrated, and all the opposing groups had their own armed formations. Subsequently, government forces were restored, and in the 90s they were able to take control of the entire territory of the country; most of the militias were disarmed. According to the agreement, the reconstituted army included 20,000 militias, in particular, 8,000 Lebanese Forces fighters, 6,000 Amal fighters, 3,000 members of the Druze militias, 2,000 members of Hezbollah and a thousand members of the Marada Christian units.

In 1996, the Armed Forces amounted to 48.9 thousand people (Ground Forces - 97.1%, Navy - 1.2%, Air Force - 1.7%).

Until 2000, in the south of the country there was an allied Israel "Army of South Lebanon", which ceased to exist after the withdrawal of Israeli troops from the country. Armed formations in the south of the country remained with Hezbollah, which at the time of the outbreak of the Second Lebanese War actually controlled the south of Lebanon.

There are 5,600 UNIFIL soldiers permanently stationed in Lebanon, responsible for maintaining peace in the country. Part of the Syrian military contingent, which amounted to 35.5 thousand people in the late 90s, was withdrawn in 2001.