Coordinates: 33°50′N 35°50′E / 33.833°N 35.833°E /
الجمهورية اللبنانية (Arabic)
Coat of arms
All Of Us, For the Country!
and largest city
33°54′N 35°32′E / 33.900°N 35.533°E / 33.900; 35.533
• Prime Minister
• Speaker of the Parliament
• Greater Lebanon
1 September 1920
23 May 1926
• Independence declared
22 November 1943
• Independence (Joined UN / French Mandate ended)
24 October 1945
• Withdrawal of French forces
31 December 1946
10,452 km2 (4,036 sq mi) (162nd)
• Water (%)
• 2016 estimate
560/km2 (1,450.4/sq mi) (21st)
$88.786 billion (88th)
• Per capita
$53.915 billion (86th)
• Per capita
high · 76th
Lebanese pound (LBP)
• Summer (DST)
Drives on the
ISO 3166 code
This article contains
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Lebanon (/ˈlɛbənɒn/ ( listen); Arabic: لبنان
Lubnān; Lebanese pronunciation: [lɪbˈnɛːn]; French: Liban),
officially known as the Lebanese Republic[nb 2] (Arabic:
الجمهورية اللبنانية al-Jumhūrīyah
al-Lubnānīyah; Lebanese pronunciation: [elˈʒʊmhuːɾɪjje
l.ˈlɪbnɛːnɪjje]; French: République libanaise), is a sovereign
state in Western Asia. It is bordered by
Syria to the north and east
Israel to the south, while
Cyprus is west across the Mediterranean
Sea. Lebanon's location at the crossroads of the Mediterranean Basin
Arabian hinterland facilitated its rich history and shaped a
cultural identity of religious and ethnic diversity. At just
10,452 km2 (4,036 sq. mi.), it is the smallest recognized country
on the entire mainland Asian continent.[nb 3]
The earliest evidence of civilization in
Lebanon dates back more than
seven thousand years, predating recorded history.
Lebanon was the
home of the Canaanites/
Phoenicians and their kingdoms, a maritime
culture that flourished for over a thousand years (c. 1550–539 BC).
In 64 BC, the region came under the rule of the Roman Empire, and
eventually became one of the Empire's leading centers of Christianity.
Mount Lebanon range a monastic tradition known as the Maronite
Church was established. As the
Arab Muslims conquered the region, the
Maronites held onto their religion and identity. However, a new
religious group, the Druze, established themselves in
Mount Lebanon as
well, generating a religious divide that has lasted for centuries.
During the Crusades, the Maronites re-established contact with the
Roman Catholic Church and asserted their communion with Rome. The ties
they established with the Latins have influenced the region into the
The region eventually was ruled by the
Ottoman Empire from 1516 to
1918. Following the collapse of the empire after World War I, the five
provinces that constitute modern
Lebanon came under the French Mandate
of Lebanon. The French expanded the borders of the Mount Lebanon
Governorate, which was mostly populated by Maronites and Druze, to
include more Muslims.
Lebanon gained independence in 1943,
establishing confessionalism, a unique, Consociationalism-type of
political system with a power-sharing mechanism based on religious
communities. Bechara El Khoury,
President of Lebanon
President of Lebanon during the
independence, Riad El-Solh, first Lebanese prime minister and Emir
Majid Arslan II, first Lebanese minister of defence, are considered
the founders of the modern
Lebanon and are national heroes
for having led the country's independence. Foreign troops withdrew
Lebanon on 31 December 1946.
Lebanon has been a
member of the
United Nations since its founding in 1945 as well as the
Arab League (1945), the
Non-Aligned Movement (1961), Organisation of
the Islamic Cooperation (1969) and the Organisation internationale de
la francophonie (1973).
Despite its small size, the country has developed a well-known
culture and has been highly influential in the
Arab world, powered by
its large diaspora. Before the
Lebanese Civil War
Lebanese Civil War (1975–1990), the
country experienced a period of relative calm and renowned prosperity,
driven by tourism, agriculture, commerce, and banking. Because of
its financial power and diversity in its heyday,
Lebanon was referred
to as the "Switzerland of the East" during the 1960s, and its
capital, Beirut, attracted so many tourists that it was known as "the
Paris of the Middle East". At the end of the war, there were
extensive efforts to revive the economy and rebuild national
infrastructure. In spite of these troubles,
Lebanon has the
Human Development Index
Human Development Index and GDP per capita in the
to the exclusion of the oil-rich economies of the Persian Gulf.
2.1 Ancient Lebanon
2.2 Maronites, Druze, and the Crusades
Lebanon and French Mandate
2.4 Independence from France
2.5 Civil war and Syrian occupation
2.6 Syrian withdrawal and aftermath
4 Environmental issues
5 Government and politics
5.2 Foreign relations
5.4 Governorates and districts
8.3 Media and cinema
8.4 Holidays and festivals
11 See also
15 Further reading
16 External links
The name of
Mount Lebanon originates from the Phoenician root lbn
(𐤋𐤁𐤍) meaning "white", apparently from its snow-capped
Occurrences of the name have been found in different Middle Bronze Age
texts from the library of Ebla, and three of the twelve tablets of
the Epic of Gilgamesh. The name is recorded in Ancient Egyptian as
Rmnn, where R stood for Canaanite L. The name occurs nearly 70
times in the Hebrew Bible, as לְבָנוֹן.
Lebanon as the name of an administrative unit (as opposed to the
mountain range) was introduced with the Ottoman reforms of 1861, as
Mount Lebanon Mutasarrifate (Arabic: متصرفية جبل
لبنان; Turkish: Cebel-i Lübnan Mutasarrıflığı), continued
in the name of the State of
Greater Lebanon (Arabic: دولة
لبنان الكبير Dawlat Lubnān al-Kabīr; French: État du
Grand Liban) in 1920, and eventually in the name of the sovereign
Lebanon (Arabic: الجمهورية اللبنانية
al-Jumhūrīyah al-Lubnānīyah) upon its independence in 1943.
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Main article: History of Lebanon
The borders of contemporary
Lebanon are a product of the Treaty of
Sèvres of 1920. Its territory was the core of the Bronze Age
Phoenician (Canaanite) city-states. As part of the Levant, it was part
of numerous succeeding empires throughout ancient history, including
the Egyptian, Assyrian, Babylonian, Achaemenid Persian, Hellenistic,
Roman and Sasanid Persian empires.
After the 7th-century
Muslim conquest of the Levant, it was part of
the Rashidun, Umyayad, Abbasid Seljuk and Fatimid empires. The
crusader state of the County of Tripoli, founded by Raymond IV of
Toulouse in 1102, encompassed most of present-day Lebanon, falling to
Mamluk Sultanate in 1289 and finally to the
Ottoman Empire in
1517. With the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire,
Greater Lebanon fell
under French mandate in 1920, and gained independence under president
Bechara El Khoury
Bechara El Khoury in 1943. Lebanon's history since independence has
been marked by alternating periods of political stability and
prosperity based on Beirut's position as a regional center for finance
and trade, interspersed with political turmoil and armed conflict
(1948 Arab–Israeli War,
Lebanese Civil War
Lebanese Civil War 1975–1990, 2005 Cedar
Lebanon War, 2007
Lebanon conflict, 2006–08
Lebanese protests, 2008 conflict in Lebanon, and since 2011 Syrian
Civil War spillover).
Main article: History of ancient Lebanon
Phoenicia and trade routes
Evidence of an early settlement in
Lebanon was found in Byblos, which
is considered to be one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in
the world. The evidence dates back to earlier than 5000 BC.
Archaeologists discovered remnants of prehistoric huts with crushed
limestone floors, primitive weapons, and burial jars left by the
Neolithic and Chalcolithic fishing communities who lived on the shore
Mediterranean Sea over 7,000 years ago.
Lebanon was a part of northern Canaan, and consequently became the
homeland of Canaanite descendants – the Phoenicians, a seafaring
people that spread across the Mediterranean before the rise of Cyrus
the Great. Their most famous colonies were
Carthage in what is
Cádiz in present-day Spain. The
Phoenicians are also known as the inventors of the alphabet,
among many other things. The area of present-day
Lebanon and the wider
Eastern Mediterranean were subjugated by Cyrus in 539 BCE. The
Persians forced some of its population to migrate to Carthage, which
remained a powerful nation until the Second Punic War. After two
centuries of Persian rule, Macedonian ruler Alexander the Great
attacked and burned Tyre, the most prominent Phoenician city. He
conquered what is now
Lebanon and other nearby regions of the Eastern
Mediterranean in 332 BCE.
Maronites, Druze, and the Crusades
The Fall of Tripoli to the Egyptian Mamluks and destruction of the
Crusader state, the County of Tripoli, 1289
The region that is now Lebanon, as with the rest of
Syria and much of
Anatolia, became a major center of
Christianity in the Roman Empire
during the early spread of the religion. During the late 4th and early
5th century, a hermit named
Maron established a monastic tradition,
focused on the importance of monotheism and asceticism, near the
Mediterranean mountain range known as Mount Lebanon. The monks who
Maron spread his teachings among Lebanese in the region.
These Christians came to be known as Maronites and moved into
mountains to avoid religious persecution by Roman authorities.
During the frequent
Roman-Persian Wars that lasted for many centuries,
the Sassanid Persians occupied what is now
Lebanon from 619 till
During the 7th century the
Muslim Arabs conquered
Syria establishing a
new regime to replace the Byzantines. Though Islam and the Arabic
language were officially dominant under this new regime, the general
populace still took time to convert from
Christianity and the Syriac
Maronite community in particular managed to maintain a
large degree of autonomy despite the succession of rulers over Lebanon
During the 11th century the Druze faith emerged from a branch of Shia
Islam. The new faith gained followers in the southern portion of Mount
Lebanon. The northern portion of
Mount Lebanon was ruled by Druze
feudal families to the early 14th century which was then brought to an
end by the
Mamluk invasion. The
Maronite population increased
gradually in Northern
Mount Lebanon and the Druze have remained in
Mount Lebanon until the modern era. In the south of Lebanon,
Baalbek and the
Beqaa Valley was ruled by Shia feudal
families under the Mamluks and the Ottoman Empire. Major cities on the
coast, Acre, Beirut, and others, were directly administered by the
Muslim Caliphs and the people became more fully absorbed by the Arab
Following the fall of Roman
Anatolia to the
Muslim Turks, the
Byzantines put out a call to the Pope in Rome for assistance in the
11th century. The result was a series of wars known as the Crusades
launched by the Franks in Western Europe to reclaim the former
Byzantine Christian territories in the Eastern Mediterranean,
Syria and Palestine (the Levant). The First Crusade
succeeded in temporarily establishing the
Kingdom of Jerusalem
Kingdom of Jerusalem and the
County of Tripoli
County of Tripoli as
Roman Catholic Christian states along the
coast. These crusader states made a lasting impact on the region,
though their control was limited, and the region returned to full
Muslim control after two centuries following the conquest by the
One of the most lasting effects of the
Crusades in this region was the
contact between the Franks (i.e. the French) and the Maronites. Unlike
most other Christian communities in the Eastern Mediterranean, who
swore allegiance to
Constantinople or other local patriarchs, the
Maronites proclaimed allegiance to the Pope in Rome. As such the
Franks saw them as
Roman Catholic brethren. These initial contacts led
to centuries of support for the Maronites from
France and Italy, even
after the fall of the Crusader states in the region.
Lebanon and French Mandate
See also: Emirate of Mount Lebanon,
Sidon Eyalet, and Mount Lebanon
Fakhreddine II Palace, 17th century
1862 map drawn by the French expedition of Beaufort d'Hautpoul,
later used as a template for the 1920 borders of Greater
During this period
Lebanon was divided into several provinces:
Northern and Southern Mount Lebanon, Tripoli,
Baalbek and Beqaa Valley
and Jabal Amel. In southern
Mount Lebanon in 1590, Fakhr-al-Din II
became the successor to Korkmaz. He soon established his authority as
paramount prince of the Druze in the Shouf area of Mount Lebanon.
Fakhr-al-Din II was appointed Sanjakbey (Governor) of
several Ottoman sub-provinces, with responsibility for tax-gathering.
He extended his control over a substantial part of
Mount Lebanon and
its coastal area, even building a fort as far inland as Palmyra.
This over-reaching eventually became too much for Ottoman Sultan Murad
IV, who sent a punitive expedition to capture him in 1633. He was
taken to Istanbul, kept in prison for two years and then executed
along with one of his sons in April 1635. Surviving members of
Fakhr al-Din's family ruled a reduced area under closer Ottoman
control until the end of the 17th century.
On the death of the last Maan emir, various members of the Shihab clan
Mount Lebanon until 1830. Approximately 10,000 Christians were
killed by the Druzes during inter-communal violence in 1860.
Shortly afterwards, the Emirate of Mount Lebanon, which lasted about
400 years, was replaced by the
Mount Lebanon Mutasarrifate, as a
result of a European-Ottoman treaty called the Règlement Organique.
Beqaa Valley and
Jabal Amel was ruled intermittently
by various Shia feudal families, especially the Al Ali Alsagheer in
Jabal Amel that remained in power until 1865 when Ottomans took direct
ruling of the region. Youssef Bey Karam, a Lebanese nationalist played
an influential role in Lebanon's independence during this era.
In 1920, following WWI, the area of the Mutasarrifate, plus some
surrounding areas which were predominantly Shia and Sunni, became a
part of the state of
Greater Lebanon under the French Mandate of Syria
and Lebanon. Around 100,000 people in
Mount Lebanon died of
starvation during World War I. In the first half of 1920, Lebanese
territory was claimed as part of the
Arab Kingdom of Syria, but
Franco-Syrian War resulted in
Arab defeat and capitulation
of the Hashemites.
Roman baths park on the Serail hill, Beirut.
On 1 September 1920,
Greater Lebanon after the
Moutasarrifiya rule removed several regions belonging to the
Lebanon and gave them to Syria.
Lebanon was a
largely Christian country (mainly
Maronite territory with some Greek
Orthodox enclaves) but it also included areas containing many Muslims
and Druze. On 1 September 1926,
France formed the
Lebanese Republic. A constitution was adopted on 25 May 1926
establishing a democratic republic with a parliamentary system of
Independence from France
Martyrs' Square in
Beirut during celebrations marking the release by
the French of Lebanon's government from
Rashayya prison on 22 November
Lebanon gained a measure of independence while
France was occupied by
Germany. General Henri Dentz, the Vichy
High Commissioner for
Syria and Lebanon, played a major role in the independence of the
nation. The Vichy authorities in 1941 allowed Germany to move aircraft
and supplies through
Iraq where they were used against
British forces. The United Kingdom, fearing that
Nazi Germany would
gain full control of
Syria by pressure on the weak Vichy
government, sent its army into
Syria and Lebanon.
After the fighting ended in Lebanon, General
Charles de Gaulle
Charles de Gaulle visited
the area. Under political pressure from both inside and outside
Lebanon, de Gaulle recognized the independence of Lebanon. On 26
November 1941 General
Georges Catroux announced that
become independent under the authority of the
Free French government.
Elections were held in 1943 and on 8 November 1943 the new Lebanese
government unilaterally abolished the mandate. The French reacted by
imprisoning the new government. In the face of international pressure,
the French released the government officials on 22 November 1943. The
allies occupied the region until the end of World War II.
Following the end of World War II in Europe the French mandate may be
said to have been terminated without any formal action on the part of
League of Nations
League of Nations or its successor the United Nations. The mandate
was ended by the declaration of the mandatory power, and of the new
states themselves, of their independence, followed by a process of
piecemeal unconditional recognition by other powers, culminating in
formal admission to the United Nations. Article 78 of the UN Charter
ended the status of tutelage for any member state: "The trusteeship
system shall not apply to territories which have become Members of the
United Nations, relationship among which shall be based on respect for
the principle of sovereign equality." So when the UN officially
came into existence on 24 October 1945, after ratification of the
United Nations Charter by the five permanent members, as both Syria
Lebanon were founding member states, the French mandate for both
was legally terminated on that date and full independence
attained. The last French troops withdrew in December 1946.
National Pact of 1943 required that its president
Maronite Christian, its speaker of the parliament to be a Shiite
Muslim, its prime minister be Sunni Muslim, and the Deputy Speaker of
Parliament and the
Deputy Prime Minister be Greek Orthodox.
Lebanon's history since independence has been marked by alternating
periods of political stability and turmoil interspersed with
prosperity built on Beirut's position as a regional center for finance
In May 1948,
Lebanon supported neighbouring
Arab countries in a war
against Israel. While some irregular forces crossed the border and
carried out minor skirmishes against Israel, it was without the
support of the Lebanese government, and Lebanese troops did not
Lebanon agreed to support the forces with
covering artillery fire, armored cars, volunteers and logistical
support. On 5–6 June 1948, the Lebanese army – led by the then
Minister of National Defence, Emir Majid Arslan – captured
Al-Malkiyya. This was Lebanon's only success in the war.
100,000 Palestinians fled to
Lebanon because of the war.
not permit their return after the cease-fire. Today, more than
400,000 refugees remain in Lebanon, about half in camps.
In 1958, during the last months of President Camille Chamoun's term,
an insurrection broke out, instigated by Lebanese Muslims who wanted
Lebanon a member of the United
Arab Republic. Chamoun
requested assistance, and 5,000
United States Marines
United States Marines were briefly
Beirut on 15 July. After the crisis, a new government
was formed, led by the popular former general Fuad Chehab.
With the defeat of the
PLO in Jordan, many Palestinian militants
relocated to Lebanon, increasing their armed campaign against Israel.
The relocation of Palestinian bases also led to increasing sectarian
tensions between Palestinians versus the Maronites and other Lebanese
Civil war and Syrian occupation
Main article: Lebanese Civil War
The Green Line that separated west and east Beirut, 1982
In 1975, following increasing sectarian tensions, a full-scale civil
war broke out in Lebanon. The
Lebanese Civil War
Lebanese Civil War pitted a coalition of
Christian groups against the joint forces of the PLO, left-wing Druze
Muslim militias. In June 1976 Lebanese President Elias Sarkis
asked for the Syrian Army to intervene on the side of the Christians
and help restore peace. In October 1976 the
Arab League agreed to
establish a predominantly Syrian
Arab Deterrent Force, which was
charged with restoring calm.
In 1982, the
PLO attacks from
Israel led to an Israeli
invasion. A multinational force of American, French and Italian
contingents (joined in 1983 by a British contingent) were deployed in
Beirut after the Israeli siege of the city, to supervise the
evacuation of the PLO. It returned in September 1982 after the
Bashir Gemayel and subsequent fighting. During this
time a number of massacres occurred, such as in Sabra and Shatila,
and in several refugee camps. The multinational force was
withdrawn in the spring of 1984, following a devastating bombing
attack during the previous year.
In September 1988, the Parliament failed to elect a successor to
President Gemayel as a result of differences between the Christians,
Muslims, and Syrians. The
Arab League Summit of May 1989 led to the
formation of a Saudi-Moroccan-Algerian committee to solve the crisis.
On 16 September 1989 the committee issued a peace plan which was
accepted by all. A ceasefire was established, the ports and airports
were re-opened and refugees began to return.
In the same month, the Lebanese Parliament agreed to the Taif
Agreement, which included an outline timetable for Syrian withdrawal
Lebanon and a formula for the de-confessionalisation of the
Lebanese political system. The war ended at the end of 1990 after
sixteen years, resulting in massive loss of human life and property,
while devastating the country's economy. It is estimated that 150,000
people were killed and another 200,000 wounded. Nearly a million
civilians were displaced by the war, and some never returned.
Lebanon were left in ruins. The
Taif Agreement has still
not been implemented in full and Lebanon's political system continues
to be divided along sectarian lines.
Syrian withdrawal and aftermath
Main article: Syrian occupation of Lebanon
Demonstrators calling for the withdrawal of Syrian forces.
The internal political situation in
Lebanon significantly changed in
the early 2000s. After the Israeli withdrawal from southern Lebanon
and the death of
Hafez Al-Assad in 2000, the Syrian military presence
faced criticism and resistance from the Lebanese population.
On 14 February 2005, former Prime Minister
Rafik Hariri was
assassinated in a car bomb explosion. Leaders of the March 14
Syria of the attack, while the March 8 Alliance
and Syrian officials claimed that the
Mossad was behind the
assassination. The Hariri assassination marked the beginning of a
series of assassinations that resulted in the death of many prominent
Lebanese figures.[nb 4]
The assassination triggered the Cedar Revolution, a series of
demonstrations which demanded the withdrawal of Syrian troops from
Lebanon and the establishment of an international commission to
investigate the assassination. Under pressure from the West, Syria
began withdrawing, and by 26 April 2005 all Syrian soldiers had
returned to Syria.
The UNSC Resolution 1595 called for an investigation into the
assassination. The UN International Independent Investigation
Commission published its preliminary findings on 20 October 2005 in
the Mehlis report, which cited indications that the assassination was
organized by Syrian and Lebanese intelligence
On 12 July 2006,
Hezbollah launched a series of rocket attacks and
raids into Israeli territory, where they killed three Israeli soldiers
and captured a further two.
Israel responded with airstrikes and
artillery fire on targets in Lebanon, and a ground invasion of
southern Lebanon, resulting in the 2006
Lebanon War. The conflict was
officially ended by the UNSC Resolution 1701 on 14 August 2006, which
ordered a ceasefire. Some 1,191 Lebanese and 160 Israelis
were killed in the conflict. Beirut's southern suburb was heavily
damaged by Israeli airstrikes.
In 2007, the
Nahr al-Bared refugee camp became the center of the 2007
Lebanon conflict between the Lebanese Army and Fatah al-Islam. At
least 169 soldiers, 287 insurgents and 47 civilians were killed in the
battle. Funds for the reconstruction of the area have been slow to
Between 2006 and 2008, a series of protests led by groups opposed to
the pro-Western Prime Minister
Fouad Siniora demanded the creation of
a national unity government, over which the mostly Shia opposition
groups would have veto power. When Émile Lahoud's presidential term
ended in October 2007, the opposition refused to vote for a successor
unless a power-sharing deal was reached, leaving
Lebanon without a
On 9 May 2008,
Hezbollah and Amal forces, sparked by a government
declaration that Hezbollah's communications network was illegal,
seized western Beirut, leading to the 2008 conflict in
Lebanon. The Lebanese government denounced the violence as a coup
attempt. At least 62 people died in the resulting clashes between
pro-government and opposition militias. On 21 May 2008, the
signing of the
Doha Agreement ended the fighting. As part of
the accord, which ended 18 months of political paralysis, Michel
Suleiman became president and a national unity government was
established, granting a veto to the opposition. The agreement was
a victory for opposition forces, as the government caved in to all
their main demands.
In early January 2011, the national unity government collapsed due to
growing tensions stemming from the
Special Tribunal for Lebanon, which
was expected to indict
Hezbollah members for the Hariri
assassination. The parliament elected Najib Mikati, the candidate
for the Hezbollah-led March 8 Alliance, Prime Minister of Lebanon,
making him responsible for forming a new government. Hezbollah
Hassan Nasrallah insists that
Israel was responsible for the
assassination of Hariri. A report leaked by the Al-Akhbar
newspaper in November 2010 stated that
Hezbollah has drafted plans for
a takeover of the country in the event that the
Special Tribunal for
Lebanon issues an indictment against its members.
In 2012, the
Syrian civil war
Syrian civil war threatened to spill over in Lebanon,
causing more incidents of sectarian violence and armed clashes between
Sunnis and Alawites in Tripoli. As of 6 August 2013, more than
677,702 Syrian refugees are in Lebanon. As the number of Syrian
refugees increases, the Lebanese Forces Party, the Kataeb Party, and
Free Patriotic Movement
Free Patriotic Movement fear the country’s sectarian based
political system is being undermined.
Main article: Geography of Lebanon
Kadisha Valley, a gorge in northern Lebanon
Lebanon from space. Snow cover can be seen on the western Mount
Lebanon and eastern Anti-
Lebanon mountain ranges
Lebanon is located in
Western Asia between latitudes 33° and 35° N
and longitudes 35° and 37° E. Its land straddles the "northwest of
The country's surface area is 10,452 square kilometres
(4,036 sq mi) of which 10,230 square kilometres
(3,950 sq mi) is land.
Lebanon has a coastline and border of
225 kilometres (140 mi) on the
Mediterranean sea to the west, a
375 kilometres (233 mi) border shared with
Syria to the north and
east and a 79 kilometres (49 mi) long border with
Israel to the
south. The border with the Israeli-occupied
Golan Heights is
Lebanon in a small area called Shebaa Farms.
Lebanon is divided into four distinct physiographic regions: the
coastal plain, the
Lebanon mountain range, the
Beqaa valley and the
The narrow and discontinuous coastal plain stretches from the Syrian
border in the north where it widens to form the
Akkar plain to Ras
Naqoura at the border with
Israel in the south. The fertile coastal
plain is formed of marine sediments and river deposited alluvium
alternating with sandy bays and rocky beaches. The
rise steeply parallel to the Mediterranean coast and form a ridge of
limestone and sandstone that runs for most of the country's length.
The mountain range varies in width between 10 km (6 mi) and
56 km (35 mi); it is carved by narrow and deep gorges. The
Lebanon mountains peak at 3,088 metres (10,131 ft) above sea
Qurnat as Sawda'
Qurnat as Sawda' in North
Lebanon and gradually slope to the
south before rising again to a height of 2,695 metres (8,842 ft)
in Mount Sannine. The
Beqaa valley sits between the
in the west and the Anti-
Lebanon range in the east; it's a part of the
Great Rift Valley
Great Rift Valley system. The valley is 180 km (112 mi) long
and 10 to 26 km (6 to 16 mi) wide, its fertile soil is
formed by alluvial deposits. The Anti-
Lebanon range runs parallel to
Lebanon mountains, its highest peak is in
Mount Hermon at 2,814
metres (9,232 ft).
The mountains of
Lebanon are drained by seasonal torrents and rivers
foremost of which is the 145 kilometres (90 mi) long Leontes that
rises in the
Beqaa Valley to the west of
Baalbek and empties into the
Mediterranean Sea north of Tyre.
Lebanon has 16 rivers all of
which are non navigable; 13 rivers originate from
Mount Lebanon and
run through the steep gorges and into the Mediterranean Sea, the other
three arise in the Beqaa Valley.
Main article: Climate of Lebanon
Lebanon has a moderate Mediterranean climate. In coastal areas,
winters are generally cool and rainy whilst summers are hot and humid.
In more elevated areas, temperatures usually drop below freezing
during the winter with heavy snow cover that remains until early
summer on the higher mountaintops. Although most of Lebanon
receives a relatively large amount of rainfall, when measured annually
in comparison to its arid surroundings, certain areas in north-eastern
Lebanon receive little because of rain shadow created by the high
peaks of the western mountain range.
Main article: Wildlife of Lebanon
Lebanon cedar is the national emblem of Lebanon.
In ancient times,
Lebanon was covered by large forests of cedar trees,
the national emblem of the country. Today, forests cover 13.4% of
the Lebanese land area; they are under constant threat from
wildfires caused by the long dry summer season.
As a result of longstanding exploitation, few old cedar trees remain
in pockets of forests in Lebanon, but there is an active program to
conserve and regenerate the forests. The Lebanese approach has
emphasized natural regeneration over planting by creating the right
conditions for germination and growth. The Lebanese state has created
several nature reserves that contain cedars, including the Shouf
Biosphere Reserve, the Jaj Cedar Reserve, the
Tannourine Reserve, the
Ammouaa and Karm Shbat Reserves in the
Akkar district, and the Forest
Cedars of God
Cedars of God near Bsharri.
In 2010, the Environment Ministry set a 10-year plan to increase the
national forest coverage by 20%, which is equivalent to the planting
of two million new trees each year. The plan, which was funded by
United States Agency for International Development
United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and
implemented by the U.S. Forest Service (USFS), through the Lebanon
Reforestation Initiative (LRI), was inaugurated in 2011 by planting
cedar, pine, wild almond, juniper, fir, oak and other seedlings, in
ten regions around Lebanon.
Main article: Marine environmental issues in Lebanon
Mount Lebanon have been facing a severe garbage crisis.
After the closure of the
Bourj Hammoud dump in 1997, the al-Naameh
dumpsite was opened by the government in 1998. The al-Naameh dumpsite
was planned to contain 2 million tons of waste for a limited period of
six years at the most. It was designed to be a temporary solution,
while the government would have devised a long-term plan. Sixteen
years later al-Naameh was still open and exceeded its capacity by 13
million tons. In July 2015 the residents of the area, already
protesting in the recent years, forced the closure of the dumpsite.The
inefficiency of the government, as well as the corruption inside of
the waste management company Sukleen in charge of managing the garbage
in Lebanon, have resulted in piles of garbage blocking streets in
Mount Lebanon and Beirut.
In December 2015 the Lebanese government signed an agreement with
Chinook Industrial Mining, part owned by Chinook Sciences, to export
over 100,000 tons of untreated waste from
Beirut and the surrounding
area. The waste had accumulated in temporary locations following the
government closure of the county's largest land fill site five months
earlier. The contract was jointly signed with Howa International which
has offices in Holland and Germany. The contract is reported to cost
$212 per ton. The waste, which is compacted and infectious, would have
to be sorted and was estimated to be enough to fill 2,000
containers. Initial reports that the waste was to be
Sierra Leone have been denied by diplomats. In
February 2016 the government withdrew from negotiations after it was
revealed that documents relating to the export of the trash to Russia
were forgeries. On 19 March 2016, the Cabinet reopened the Naameh
landfill for 60 days in line with a plan it passed few days earlier to
end the trash crisis. The plan also stipulates the establishment of
Bourj Hammoud and Costa Brava, east and south of Beirut
respectively. Sukleen trucks began removing piled garbage from
Karantina and heading to Naameh. Environment Minister Mohammad
Machnouk announced during a chat with activists that more than 8,000
tons of garbage had been collected so far as part of the
government’s trash plan in only 24 hours. The plan's execution is
still ongoing. 
Government and politics
Politics of Lebanon
Politics of Lebanon and Human rights in Lebanon
Lebanese parliament building at the Place de l'Étoile
One of many protests in Beirut
Lebanon is a parliamentary democracy that includes
confessionalism, in which high-ranking offices are reserved for
members of specific religious groups. The President, for example, has
to be a
Maronite Christian, the Prime Minister a Sunni Muslim, the
Speaker of the Parliament a Shi’a Muslim, the Deputy Prime Minister
and the Deputy Speaker of Parliament Eastern Orthodox. This
system is intended to deter sectarian conflict and attempts to
represent fairly the demographic distribution of the 18 recognized
religious groups in government.
Freedom House considered
Lebanon to be one of only two
(together with Israel) politically free countries in the Middle East
and North Africa region. The country lost this status with the
outbreak of the Civil War, and has not regained it since 1975. Lebanon
was rated as "Partly Free" in 2013. Even so, the United States still
Lebanon to be one of the most democratic nations in the Arab
Until 2005, Palestinians were forbidden to work in over 70 jobs
because they do not have Lebanese citizenship. After liberalization
laws were passed in 2007, this was reduced to around 20 jobs. In
2010, Palestinians were granted the same rights to work as other
foreigners in the country.
Lebanon's national legislature is the unicameral Parliament of
Lebanon. Its 128 seats are divided equally between Christians and
Muslims, proportionately between the 18 different denominations and
proportionately between its 26 regions. Prior to 1990, the ratio
stood at 6:5 in favor of Christians; however, the Taif Agreement,
which put an end to the 1975–1990 civil war, adjusted the ratio to
grant equal representation to followers of the two religions. The
Parliament is elected for a four-year term by popular vote on the
basis of sectarian proportional representation.
The executive branch consists of the President, the head of state, and
the Prime Minister, the head of government. The parliament elects the
president for a non-renewable six-year term by a two-third majority.
The president appoints the Prime Minister, following
consultations with the parliament. The President and the Prime
Minister form the Cabinet, which must also adhere to the sectarian
distribution set out by confessionalism.
In an unprecedented move, the
Lebanese parliament has extended its own
term twice amid protests, the last being on 5 November 2014, an
act which comes in direct contradiction with democracy and article #42
of the Lebanese constitution as no elections have taken place.
Lebanon was without a President between May 2014 and October
The next nationwide elections are scheduled for May 2018.
There are 18 officially recognized religious groups in Lebanon, each
with its own family law legislation and set of religious courts.
The Lebanese legal system is based on the French system, and is a
civil law country, with the exception for matters related to personal
status (succession, marriage, divorce, adoption, etc.), which are
governed by a separate set of laws designed for each sectarian
community. For instance, the Islamic personal status laws are inspired
Sharia law. For Muslims, these tribunals deal with
questions of marriage, divorce, custody, and inheritance and wills.
For non-Muslims, personal status jurisdiction is split: the law of
inheritance and wills falls under national civil jurisdiction, while
Christian and Jewish religious courts are competent for marriage,
divorce, and custody. Catholics can additionally appeal before the
Vatican Rota court.
The most notable set of codified laws is the Code des Obligations et
des Contrats promulgated in 1932 and equivalent to the French Civil
Capital punishment is still de facto used to sanction
certain crimes, but no longer enforced.
The Lebanese court system consists of three levels: courts of first
instance, courts of appeal, and the court of cassation. The
Constitutional Council rules on constitutionality of laws and
electoral frauds. There also is a system of religious courts having
jurisdiction over personal status matters within their own
communities, with rules on matters such as marriage and
Main article: Foreign relations of Lebanon
Lebanon concluded negotiations on an association agreement with the
European Union in late 2001, and both sides initialed the accord in
January 2002. It is included in the European Union's European
Neighbourhood Policy (ENP), which aims at bringing the EU and its
Lebanon also has bilateral trade agreements with
Arab states and is working toward accession to the World Trade
Lebanon enjoys good relations with virtually all of the other Arab
countries (despite historic tensions with Libya, the Palestinians,
Syria and Iraq), and hosted an
Arab League Summit in March 2002 for
the first time in more than 35 years.
Lebanon is a member of the
Francophone countries and hosted the
Francophone Summit in October
2002 as well as the
Jeux de la Francophonie
Jeux de la Francophonie in 2009.
Main article: Lebanese Armed Forces
Soldiers of the Lebanese army, 2009
Lebanese Armed Forces
Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) has 72,000 active personnel,
including 1,100 in the air force, and 1,000 in the navy.
The Lebanese Armed Forces' primary missions include defending Lebanon
and its citizens against external aggression, maintaining internal
stability and security, confronting threats against the country's
vital interests, engaging in social development activities, and
undertaking relief operations in coordination with public and
Lebanon is a major recipient of foreign military aid. With more
than $400 million since 2005, it is the second largest per capita
recipient of American military aid behind Israel.
Governorates and districts
Main articles: Governorates of Lebanon, Districts of Lebanon, and
Municipalities of Lebanon
Lebanon is divided into eight governorates (mohaafazaat, Arabic:
محافظات; singular mohafazah, Arabic: محافظة) which
are further subdivided into twenty-six districts (aqdya—singular:
qadaa). The districts themselves are also divided into several
municipalities, each enclosing a group of cities or villages. The
governorates and their respective districts are listed below:
Governorate is not divided into districts and is limited to
the city of Beirut
Western Beqaa (al-Beqaa al-Gharbi)
Governorate (Jabal Lubnan/Jabal Lebnen)
Governorate (Jabal Amel)
North Governorate (ash-Shamal/shmel)
Corinthian capitals in Baalbek
Main article: Economy of Lebanon
Graphical depiction of
Lebanon 's product exports in 28 color-coded
Lebanon’s economy follows a laissez-faire model. Most of the
economy is dollarized, and the country has no restrictions on the
movement of capital across its borders. The Lebanese
government’s intervention in foreign trade is minimal.
The Lebanese economy grew 8.5% in 2008 and a revised 9% in 2009
despite a global recession. Real GDP growth is estimated to have
slowed from 7.5% in 2010 to 1.5% in 2011, according to IMF preliminary
estimates, with nominal GDP estimated at $41.5 billion in 2011.
Banque du Liban
Banque du Liban projects real GDP growth could reach 4% in 2012,
with 6% inflation (versus 4% in 2011). The political and security
instability in the
Arab world, especially in Syria, is expected to
have a negative impact on the domestic business and economic
Lebanon has a very high level of public debt and large external
financing needs. The 2010 public debt exceeded 150.7% of GDP,
ranking fourth highest in the world as a percentage of GDP, though
down from 154.8% in 2009. At the end 2008, finance minister Mohamad
Chatah stated that the debt was going to reach $47 billion in
that year and would increase to $49 billion if privatization of
two telecoms companies did not occur. The Daily Star wrote that
exorbitant debt levels have "slowed down the economy and reduced the
government's spending on essential development projects".
The urban population in
Lebanon is noted for its commercial
enterprise. Emigration has yielded Lebanese "commercial networks"
throughout the world. Remittances from Lebanese abroad total
$8.2 billion and account for one fifth of the country's
Lebanon has the largest proportion of skilled labor
Investment Development Authority of Lebanon was established with
the aim of promoting investment in Lebanon. In 2001, Investment Law
No.360 was enacted to reinforce the organisation's mission.
The agricultural sector employs 12% of the total workforce.
Agriculture contributed to 5.9% of the country's GDP in 2011.
Lebanon's proportion of cultivable land is the highest in the Arab
world, Major produce includes apples, peaches, oranges, and
The commodities market in
Lebanon includes substantial gold coin
production, however according to International Air Transport
Association (IATA) standards, they must be declared upon exportation
to any foreign country.
Oil has recently been discovered inland and in the seabed between
Egypt and talks are underway between
Egypt to reach an agreement regarding the exploration of
these resources. The seabed separating
Cyprus is believed
to hold significant quantities of crude oil and natural gas.
Lebanon is mainly limited to small businesses that
reassemble and package imported parts. In 2004, industry ranked second
in workforce, with 26% of the Lebanese working population, and
second in GDP contribution, with 21% of Lebanon's GDP.
Nearly 65% of the Lebanese workforce attain employment in the services
sector. The GDP contribution, accordingly, amounts to roughly
67.3% of the annual Lebanese GDP. However, dependence on the
tourism and banking sectors leaves the economy vulnerable to political
Lebanese banks are high on liquidity and reputed for their
Lebanon was one of the only seven countries in the
world in which the value of the stock markets increased in 2008.
On 10 May 2013 the Lebanese minister of energy and water clarified
that seismic images of the Lebanese's sea bed are undergoing detailed
explanation of their contents and that up till now, approximately 10%
have been covered. Preliminary inspection of the results showed, with
more than 50% probability, that 10% of Lebanon's exclusive economic
zone contained up to 660 million barrels of oil and up to 30×1012 cu
ft of gas.
The Syrian crisis has significantly affected Lebanese economic and
financial situation. The demographic pressure imposed by the Syrian
refugees now living in
Lebanon has led to competition in the labour
market. As a direct consequence unemployment has doubled in three
years, reaching 20% in 2014. A loss of 14% of wages regarding the
salary of less-skilled workers has also been registered. The financial
constraints were also felt: the poverty rate increased with 170.000
Lebanese falling under the poverty threshold. In the period between
2012 and 2014, the public spending increased by $1 billion and losses
amounted to $7.5 billion. Expenditures related only to the Syrian
refugees were estimated by the Central Bank of
Lebanon as $4.5 billion
Lebanese real GDP growth
Interestingly, in the 1950s, the second highest level of GDP was
initially reached by Lebanon. Despite not having oil reserves,
Lebanon, as the banking center of the
Middle East and one of the
trading centers, had a high national income.
The 1975–1990 civil war heavily damaged Lebanon's economic
infrastructure, cut national output by half, and all but ended
Lebanon's position as a West Asian entrepôt and banking hub. The
subsequent period of relative peace enabled the central government to
restore control in Beirut, begin collecting taxes, and regain access
to key port and government facilities. Economic recovery has been
helped by a financially sound banking system and resilient small- and
medium-scale manufacturers, with family remittances, banking services,
manufactured and farm exports, and international aid as the main
sources of foreign exchange.
Until July 2006,
Lebanon enjoyed considerable stability, Beirut's
reconstruction was almost complete, and increasing numbers of
tourists poured into the nation's resorts. The economy witnessed
growth, with bank assets reaching over 75 billion US
Market capitalization was also at an all-time high,
estimated at $10.9 billion at the end of the second quarter of
2006. The month-long 2006 war severely damaged Lebanon's fragile
economy, especially the tourism sector. According to a preliminary
report published by the Lebanese
Ministry of Finance
Ministry of Finance on 30 August
2006, a major economic decline was expected as a result of the
Over the course of 2008
Lebanon rebuilt its infrastructure mainly in
the real estate and tourism sectors, resulting in a comparatively
robust post war economy. Major contributors to the reconstruction of
Saudi Arabia (with US$1.5 billion pledged),
the European Union (with about $1 billion) and a few other
Persian Gulf countries with contributions of up to
Main article: Tourism in Lebanon
Baalbek, temple of Jupiter
The tourism industry accounts for about 10% of GDP. Lebanon
managed to attract around 1,333,000 tourists in 2008, thus placing it
as rank 79 out of 191 countries. In 2009, The New York Times
Beirut the No. 1 travel destination worldwide due to its
nightlife and hospitality. In January 2010, the Ministry of
Tourism announced that 1,851,081 tourists had visited
Lebanon in 2009,
a 39% increase from 2008. In 2009,
Lebanon hosted the largest
number of tourists to date, eclipsing the previous record set before
the Lebanese Civil War. Tourist arrivals reached two million in
2010, but fell by 37% for the first 10 months of 2012, a decline
caused by the war in neighbouring Syria.
aches at the ruins of Anjar
Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and
Japan are the three most popular origin
countries of foreign tourists to Lebanon. The recent influx of
Japanese tourists has caused the recent rise in popularity of Japanese
Cuisine in Lebanon.
Demographics of Lebanon
Demographics of Lebanon and Lebanese people
Artisan in Tripoli
The population of
Lebanon was estimated to be 6,006,668 in 2016,
however no official census has been conducted since 1932 due to the
sensitive confessional political balance between Lebanon's various
religious groups. Identifying all Lebanese as ethnically
a widely employed example of panethnicity since in reality, the
Lebanese "are descended from many different peoples who have occupied,
invaded, or settled this corner of the world", making Lebanon, "a
mosaic of closely interrelated cultures". While at first glance,
this ethnic, linguistic, religious and denominational diversity might
seem to cause civil and political unrest, "for much of Lebanon’s
history this multitudinous diversity of religious communities has
coexisted with little conflict".
The fertility rate fell from 5.00 in 1971 to 1.75 in 2004. Fertility
rates vary considerably among the different religious groups: in 2004
it was 2.10 for Shiites, 1.76 Sunnis and 1.61 for Maronites.
Lebanon has witnessed a series of migration waves: over 1,800,000
people emigrated from the country in the 1975–2011 period.
Millions of people of Lebanese descent are spread throughout the
world, mostly Christians, especially in Latin America.
Brazil has the largest expatriate population. (See Lebanese
Brazilians). Large numbers of Lebanese migrated to West Africa,
particularly to the
Ivory Coast (home to over 100,000 Lebanese)
Senegal (roughly 30,000 Lebanese).
Australia is home to over
270,000 Lebanese (1999 est.). In Canada, there is also a large
Lebanese diaspora of approximately 250,000–700,000 people having
Lebanese descent. (see Lebanese Canadians). Another region with a
significant diaspora is the Persian Gulf, where the countries of
Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman,
Qatar (around 25,000 people), Saudi Arabia
and UAE act as host countries to many Lebanese.
As of 2012[update],
Lebanon was host to over 1,600,000 refugees and
asylum seekers: 449,957 from Palestine, 5,986 from
Iraq, over 1,100,000 from Syria, and 4,000 from Sudan.
According to the Economic and Social Commission for
Western Asia of
the United Nations, among the Syrian refugees, 71% live in
poverty. The latest estimates by the
United Nations put the
number of Syrian refugees at more than 1,250,000.
In the last three decades, lengthy and destructive armed conflicts
have ravaged the country. The majority of Lebanese have been affected
by armed conflict; those with direct personal experience include 75%
of the population, and most others report suffering a range of
hardships. In total, almost the entire population (96%) has been
affected in some way – either personally or because of the wider
consequences of armed conflict.
Largest cities or towns in Lebanon
Main articles: Religion in Lebanon, Islam in Lebanon,
Lebanon, Secularism in Lebanon, and Irreligion in Lebanon
Religion in Lebanon
Religion in Lebanon (est. 2014)
Distribution of main religious groups of
Lebanon according to last
municipal election data.
Lebanon is the most religiously diverse country in the Middle
East. As of 2014[update] the
CIA World Factbook
CIA World Factbook estimates the
Muslim 54% (27% Shia Islam, 27% Sunni Islam), Christian
40.5% (includes 21%
Maronite Catholic, 8% Greek Orthodox, 5% Melkite
Catholic, 1% Protestant, 5.5% other Christian), Druze 5.6%, very small
numbers of Jews, Baha'is, Buddhists, Hindus and Mormons. A study
conducted by the Lebanese Information Center and based on voter
registration numbers shows that by 2011 the Christian population was
stable compared to that of previous years, making up 34.35% of the
population; Muslims, the Druze included, were 65.47% of the
World Values Survey of 2014 put the percentage of
Lebanon at 3.3%.
It is believed that there has been a decline in the ratio of
Christians to Muslims over the past 60 years, due to higher emigration
rates of Christians, and a higher birth rate in the Muslim
population. When the last census was held in 1932, Christians
made up 53% of Lebanon's population. In 1956, it was estimated
that the population was 54% Christian and 44% Muslim.
A demographic study conducted by the research firm Statistics Lebanon
found that approximately 27% of the population was Shia, 27% Sunni,
21% Maronite, 8% Greek Orthodox, 5% Druze, 5% Melkite, and 1%
Protestant, with the remaining 6% mostly belonging to smaller
Lebanon Christian denominations.
Other sources like Euronews or the Madrid-based diary La
Razón estimate the percentage of Christians to be around 53%.
Because the relative size of confessional groups remains a sensitive
issue, a national census has not been conducted since 1932. There
are 18 state-recognized religious sects – four Muslim, 12 Christian,
one Druze, and one Jewish.
The Shi'a residents primarily live in Southern Beirut, the Beqaa
Valley, and Southern Lebanon.
The Sunni residents primarily live in Tripoli, Western Beirut, the
Southern coast of Lebanon, and Northern Lebanon.
Maronite residents primarily live in Eastern
Beirut and the
mountains of Lebanon. They are the largest Christian community in
The Greek Orthodox, the second largest Christian community in Lebanon,
primarily live in Koura, Beirut, Zahleh, Rachaya, Matn, Aley, Akkar,
Tripoli, Hasbaya and Marjeyoun.
See also: Lebanese Arabic, Modern Standard Arabic, and French language
Article 11 of Lebanon's Constitution states that "
Arabic is the
official national language. A law determines the cases in which the
French language is to be used". The majority of Lebanese people
speak Lebanese Arabic, which is grouped in a larger category called
Levantine Arabic, while
Modern Standard Arabic
Modern Standard Arabic is mostly used in
magazines, newspapers, and formal broadcast media. Lebanese Sign
Language is the language of the deaf community. Almost 40% of Lebanese
are considered francophone, and another 15% "partial francophone", and
70% of Lebanon's secondary schools use French as a second language of
instruction. By comparison, English is used as a secondary
language in 30% of Lebanon's secondary schools. The use of French
is a legacy of France's historic ties to the region, including its
League of Nations
League of Nations mandate over
Lebanon following World War I; as of
2005[update], some 20% of the population used French on a daily
basis. The use of
Arabic by Lebanon's educated youth is
declining, as they usually prefer to speak in French and, to a lesser
extent, English, which are seen as more fashionable.
English is increasingly used in science and business
interactions. Lebanese citizens of Armenian, Greek, or
Kurdish descent often speak their ancestral languages with varying
degrees of fluency. As of 2009[update], there were around 150,000
Armenians in Lebanon, or around 5% of the population.
Main article: Culture of Lebanon
Temple of Bacchus
Temple of Bacchus is considered one of the best preserved Roman
temples in the world, c. 150 AD
Ruins at port of Byblos.
The culture of
Lebanon reflects the legacy of various civilizations
spanning thousands of years. Originally home to the Canaanite-
Phoenicians, and then subsequently conquered and occupied by the
Assyrians, the Persians, the Greeks, the Romans, the Arabs, the
Fatimids, the Crusaders, the
Ottoman Turks and most recently the
French, Lebanese culture has over the millennia evolved by borrowing
from all of these groups. Lebanon's diverse population, composed of
different ethnic and religious groups, has further contributed to the
country's festivals, musical styles and literature as well as cuisine.
Despite the ethnic, linguistic, religious and denominational diversity
of the Lebanese, they "share an almost common culture". Lebanese
Arabic is universally spoken while food, music, and literature are
deep-rooted "in wider Mediterranean and
Arab Levantine norms".
Votive marble statue of a royal child, inscribed in Phoenician from
Eshmun sanctuary, c. 400s BC
Khalil Gibran is particularly known for his book The
Prophet (1923), which has been translated into more than twenty
different languages. Several contemporary Lebanese writers have
also achieved international success; including Elias Khoury, Amin
Maalouf, Hanan al-Shaykh, and Georges Schehadé.
In visual arts,
Moustafa Farroukh was one of Lebanon's most prominent
painters of the 20th century. Formally trained in Rome and Paris, he
exhibited in venues from Paris to New York to
Beirut over his
career. Many more contemporary artists are currently active, such
as Walid Raad, a contemporary media artist currently residing in New
In the field of photography, the
Arab Image Foundation has a
collection of over 400,000 photographs from
Lebanon and the Middle
East. The photographs can be viewed in a research center and various
events and publications have been produced in
Lebanon and worldwide to
promote the collection.
Lydia Canaan, first rock star in the Middle East
The music of
Lebanon is pervasive in Lebanese society. While
traditional folk music remains popular in Lebanon, modern music
reconciling Western and traditional
Arabic styles, pop, and fusion are
rapidly advancing in popularity. Lebanese artists like Fairuz,
Wadih El Safi
Wadih El Safi or Sabah are widely known and appreciated in
Arab world. Lebanese singer Lydia
Canaan is listed in the
catalog of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum's Library and
Archives in Cleveland, Ohio, USA as the first rock star of
the Middle East. Radio stations feature a
variety of music, including traditional Lebanese, classical Arabic,
Armenian and modern French, English, American, and Latin
Media and cinema
The cinema of Lebanon, according to film critic and historian, Roy
Armes, was the only cinema in the Arabic-speaking region, other than
Egypt's, that could amount to a national cinema. Cinema in
Lebanon has been in existence since the 1920s, and the country has
produced over 500 films.
The media of
Lebanon is not only a regional center of production but
also the most liberal and free in the
Arab world. According to
Press freedom's Reporters Without Borders, "the media have more
Lebanon than in any other
Arab country". Despite its
small population and geographic size,
Lebanon plays an influential
role in the production of information in the
Arab world and is "at the
core of a regional media network with global implications".
Holidays and festivals
Main article: Public holidays in Lebanon
Beiteddine Palace, venue of the Beiteddine Festival
Lebanon celebrates national and both Christian and
Christian holidays are celebrated following both the Gregorian
Calendar and Julian Calendar. Greek Orthodox (with the exception of
Easter), Catholics, Protestants, and Melkite Christians follow the
Gregorian Calendar and thus celebrate Christmas on 25 December.
Armenian Apostolic Christians celebrate Christmas on 6 January, as
they follow the Julian Calendar.
Muslim holidays are followed based on
the Islamic lunar calendar.
Muslim holidays that are celebrated
include Eid al-Fitr (the three-day feast at the end of the Ramadan
month), Eid al-Adha (The Feast of the Sacrifice) which is celebrated
during the annual pilgrimage to Mecca and also celebrates Abraham’s
willingness to sacrifice his son to God, the Birth of the Prophet
Muhammad, and Ashura (the Shiite Day of Mourning). Lebanon's National
Holidays include Workers Day, Independence day, and Martyrs Day.
Music festivals, often hosted at historical sites, are a customary
element of Lebanese culture. Among the most famous are Baalbeck
Byblos International Festival, Beiteddine
Jounieh International Festival, Broumana
Batroun International Festival, Ehmej Festival, Dhour Chwer
Festival and Tyr Festival. These festivals are promoted by
Lebanon's Ministry of Tourism.
Lebanon hosts about 15 concerts from
international performers each year, ranking 1st for nightlife in the
Middle East, and 6th worldwide.
Main article: Sport in Lebanon
Lebanon has six ski resorts. Because of Lebanon's unique geography, it
is possible to go skiing in the morning and swimming in the
Mediterranean Sea in the afternoon. At the competitive level,
basketball and football are among Lebanon’s most popular sports.
Canoeing, cycling, rafting, climbing, swimming, sailing and caving are
among the other common leisure sports in Lebanon. The
is held every fall, drawing top runners from
Lebanon and abroad.
Rugby league is a relatively new but growing sport in Lebanon. The
Lebanon national rugby league team
Lebanon national rugby league team participated in the 2000 Rugby
League World Cup, and narrowly missed qualification for the
2008 and 2013 tournaments.
Lebanon also took part in the
2009 European Cup
2009 European Cup where, after narrowly failing to qualify for the
final, the team defeated Ireland to finish 3rd in the tournament.
Hazem El Masri, who was born in Tripoli, will always be considered to
be the greatest Lebanese to ever play the game. He immigrated to
Lebanon in 1988. He became the greatest
National Rugby League
National Rugby League history in 2009 by scoring
himself 2418 points while playing for Australian club,
Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs where he also holds the record for most
first grade appearances for the club with 317 games and most tries for
the club with 159 tries. At international level, He also hold the
records as top-try scorer with 12 tries and top-point scorer with 136
points for the Lebanese national team.
Lebanon participates in Basketball. The Lebanese National Team
qualified for the
FIBA World Championship
FIBA World Championship 3 times in a row.
Basketball teams in
Lebanon are Sporting Al Riyadi
Beirut, who are the current
Arab and Asian champions, Club
Sagesse who were able to earn the Asian and
Arab championships before.
Fadi El Khatib is the most decorated player in the Lebanese National
Football is also one of the more popular sports in the country with
the Lebanese Premier League, whose most successful clubs are the
Al-Ansar Club and the Nejmeh SC, with notable players being Roda Antar
and Youssef Mohamad, the first
Arab to captain a European premier
In recent years,
Lebanon has hosted the AFC Asian Cup and the Pan
Lebanon hosted the 2009 Jeux de la
Francophonie from 27 September to 6 October, and have
participated in every
Olympic Games since its independence, winning a
total of four medals.
Prominent Lebanese bodybuilders include Samir Bannout, Mohammad
Bannout and Ahmad Haidar.
Water sports have also shown to be very active in the past years, in
Lebanon. Since 2012 and with the emergence of the
Festival NGO, more emphasis has been placed on those sports, and
Lebanon has been pushed forward as a water sport destination
internationally. They host different contests and water show
sports that encourage their fans to participate and win big 
Main article: Education in Lebanon
Haigazian University in Beirut.
AUB College Hall in Beirut.
Listed by the World Economic Forum’s 2013 Global Information
Lebanon has been ranked globally as the fourth best
country for math and science education, and as the tenth best overall
for quality of education. In quality of management schools, the
country was ranked 13th worldwide.
United Nations assigned
Lebanon an education index of 0.871 in
2008. The index, which is determined by the adult literacy rate and
the combined primary, secondary, and tertiary gross enrollment ratio,
ranked the country 88th out of the 177 countries participating.
All Lebanese schools are required to follow a prescribed curriculum
designed by the Ministry of Education. Some of the 1400 private
schools offer IB programs, and may also add more courses to their
curriculum with approval from the Ministry of Education. The first
eight years of education are, by law, compulsory.
Lebanon has forty-one nationally accredited universities, several of
which are internationally recognized. The American
Beirut (AUB) and the
Université Saint-Joseph (USJ) were
the first Anglophone and the first
Francophone universities to open in
Lebanon, respectively. Universities in Lebanon, both public
and private, largely operate in French or English.
According to the Webometrics Ranking of World Universities's, the
top-ranking universities in the country are the American University of
Beirut (#989 worldwide),
Lebanese American University (#2,178
Université Saint Joseph de Beyrouth
Université Saint Joseph de Beyrouth (#2,603 worldwide),
Université Libanaise (#3,826 worldwide) and Holy Spirit University of
Kaslik (#5,525 worldwide).
In 2010, spending on healthcare accounted for 7.03% of the country's
GDP. In 2009, there were 31.29 physicians and 19.71 nurses per 10,000
inhabitants. The life expectancy at birth was 72.59 years in
2011, or 70.48 years for males and 74.80 years for females.
By the end of the civil war, only one third of the country’s public
hospitals were operational, each with an average of only 20 beds. By
2009 the country had 28 public hospitals, with a total of 2,550
beds. At public hospitals, hospitalized uninsured patients pay 5%
of the bill, in comparison with 15% in private hospitals, with the
Ministry of Public Health reimbursing the remainder. The Ministry
of Public Health contracts with 138 private hospitals and 25 public
In 2011, there were 236,643 subsidized admissions to hospitals;
164,244 in private hospitals, and 72,399 in public hospitals. More
patients visit private hospitals than public hospitals, because the
private beds supply is higher.
Recently, there has been an increase in foodborne illnesses which has
put an emphasis on the importance of the safety of the food chain in
Lebanon. This raised the illues public awareness. More restaurants are
seeking information and compliance with International Organization for
Constitution of Lebanon
Driving licence in Lebanon
Index of Lebanon-related articles
Lebanese identity card
Lebanese nationality law
Lebanese people (diaspora)
Outline of Lebanon
Water supply and sanitation in Lebanon
French language in Lebanon
Migrant Domestic Workers in Lebanon
List of museums in Lebanon
^ Article 11 of the
Constitution of Lebanon
Constitution of Lebanon states: "
Arabic is the
official national language. A law shall determine the cases in which
French language can be used." See:
French language in Lebanon
Lebanon is the most common phrase used by Lebanese
government agencies. The phrase Lebanese
Republic is a literal
translation of the official
Arabic and French names that is not used
in today's world.
Lebanese Arabic is the most common language spoken
among the citizens of Lebanon.
^ Excluding the partially-recognized State of Palestine. Cyprus,
Brunei, Bahrain, Singapore, and the Maldives, whilst all smaller than
Lebanon and considered parts of Asia, are entirely on islands, and
therefore off the Asian continental mass.
^ 2005: Bassel Fleihan, Lebanese legislator and Minister of Economy
and Commerce; Samir Kassir, Columnist and Democratic Left Movement
leader; George Hawi, former head of Lebanese Communist Party; Gibran
Tueni, Editor in Chief of "An Nahar" newspaper. 2006: Pierre Gemayel,
Minister of Industry. 2007: Walid Eido, MP; Antoine Ghanim, MP.
^ "The Lebanese Constitution" (PDF). Presidency of Lebanon. Archived
from the original (PDF) on 19 January 2012. Retrieved 20 August
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Lebanon presidential election: Michel
Aoun – 83 (winner); blank votes – 36; others/cancelled – 8". The
Daily Star. Retrieved October 31, 2016.
^ a b "World Population Prospects: The 2017 Revision". ESA.UN.org
(custom data acquired via website).
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Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division. Retrieved 10
^ a b c d "Lebanon". International Monetary Fund. Retrieved 25 July
^ "2016 Human Development Report" (PDF).
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Programme. 2016. Retrieved 23 March 2017.
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Thomas. Lebanon: A
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Cities of the
Middle East and North Africa. ABC-CLIO. p. 104.
ISBN 1-57607-919-8. Archaeological excavations at
indicate that the site has been continually inhabited since at least
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2011. Retrieved 5 May 2012.
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March 2010. Retrieved 4 October 2010.
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Lebanon douses a terrorist
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of Canada. 28 May 2009. Archived from the original (Governmental) on
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of the Names for 6,621 Countries, Cities, Territories, Natural
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cases predicted the nation instead of just recording it; rather than
describing existing borders it created the reality it was assumed to
depict. The power of the map over the mind was great:”[H]ow could a
nation resist being found if a nineteenth-century map had predicted
it?” In the Middle East,
Lebanon seems to offer a corresponding
example. When the idea of a
Greater Lebanon in 1908 was put forward in
a book by Bulus Nujaym, a Lebanese
Maronite writing under the
pseudonym of M. Jouplain, he suggested that the natural boundaries of
Lebanon were exactly the same as drawn in the 1861 and 1863 staff maps
of the French military expedition to Syria, maps that added
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too, the prior existence of a European military map seems to have
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