Traveling Luck for Lebanon
Lebanon is located in Middle East, bordering the Mediterranean Sea, between Israel and Syria.
Land in Lebanon is narrow coastal plain; El Beqaa (Bekaa Valley) separates Lebanon and Anti-Lebanon Mountains.
Lebanese land covers an area of 10400 square kilometers which is about 0.7 times the size of Connecticut
As for the Lebanese climate; Mediterranean; mild to cool, wet winters with hot, dry summers; Lebanon mountains experience heavy winter snows.
Lebanese (singular and plural) speak Arabic (official), French, English, Armenian.
Places of note in Lebanon
Lebanese National Map
Regions of Lebanon
Lebanon has made progress toward rebuilding its political institutions since 1991 and the end of the devastating 15-year civil war. Under the Ta'if Accord - the blueprint for national reconciliation - the Lebanese have established a more equitable political system, particularly by giving Muslims a greater voice in the political process while institutionalizing sectarian divisions in the government. Since the end of the war, the Lebanese have conducted several successful elections, most of the militias have been weakened or disbanded, and the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) have extended central government authority over about two-thirds of the country. Hizballah, a radical Shi'a organization listed by the US State Department as a Foreign Terrorist Organization, retains its weapons. During Lebanon's civil war, the Arab League legitimized in the Ta'if Accord Syria's troop deployment, numbering about 16,000 based mainly east of Beirut and in the Bekaa Valley. Damascus justified its continued military presence in Lebanon by citing Beirut's requests and the failure of the Lebanese Government to implement all of the constitutional reforms in the Ta'if Accord. Israel's withdrawal from southern Lebanon in May 2000, however, encouraged some Lebanese groups to demand that Syria withdraw its forces as well. The passage of UNSCR 1559 in early October 2004 - a resolution calling for Syria to withdraw from Lebanon and end its interference in Lebanese affairs - further emboldened Lebanese groups opposed to Syria's presence in Lebanon. The assassination of former Prime Minister Rafiq HARIRI and 20 others in February 2005 led to massive demonstrations in Beirut against the Syrian presence ("the Cedar Revolution"). Syria finally withdrew the remainder of its military forces from Lebanon in April 2005. In May-June 2005, Lebanon held its first legislative elections since the end of the civil war free of foreign interference, handing a two-thirds majority to the bloc led by Saad HARIRI, the slain prime minister's son.
The 1975-91 civil war seriously damaged Lebanon's economic infrastructure, cut national output by half, and all but ended Lebanon's position as a Middle Eastern entrepot and banking hub. In the years since, Lebanon has rebuilt much of its war-torn physical and financial infrastructure by borrowing heavily - mostly from domestic banks. In an attempt to reduce the ballooning national debt, the Rafiq HARIRI government began an austerity program, reining in government expenditures, increasing revenue collection, and privatizing state enterprises. In November 2002, the government met with international donors at the Paris II conference to seek bilateral assistance in restructuring its massive domestic debt at lower interest rates. Substantial receipts from donor nations stabilized government finances in 2003, but did little to reduce the debt, which stands at nearly 170% of GDP. In 2004 the HARIRI government issued Eurobonds in an effort to manage maturing debt. The downturn in economic activity that followed the assassination of Rafiq al-HARIRI has eased, but has yet to be reversed. Tourism remains below the level of 2004. The new Prime Minister, Fuad SINIORA, has pledged to push ahead with economic reform, including privatization and more efficient government. The Core Group of nations has announced plans to hold a Donor's Conference in early 2006 to assist the government of Lebanon in restructuring its debt and increasing foreign investment.
Lebanese natural resources include limestone, iron ore, salt, water-surplus state in a water-deficit region, arable land
Nahr el Litani is the only major river in Near East not crossing an international boundary; rugged terrain historically helped isolate, protect, and develop numerous factional groups based on religion, clan, and ethnicity
Lebanese religion is Muslim 59.7% (Shi'a, Sunni, Druze, Isma'ilite, Alawite or Nusayri), Christian 39% (Maronite Catholic, Greek Orthodox, Melkite Catholic, Armenian Orthodox, Syrian Catholic, Armenian Catholic, Syrian Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Chaldean, Assyrian, Copt, Protestant), other 1.3%.
Natural hazards in Lebanon include dust storms, sandstorms.
- We advise against all but essential travel to Lebanon. We advise against all travel south of the Litani River.
- On 23 January 2007, opposition protestors stepped up their protests across Lebanon, blocking off major roads with burning tyres and setting cars alight. There were a number of shooting incidents and clashes between opposing groups and flights were cancelled. Further clashes broke out on 25 January 2007 and an over night curfew was imposed. We strongly advise you to avoid all public demonstrations.
- If you are in Lebanon you should exercise extreme caution and register with the British Embassy. You should keep abreast of the latest developments by listening to BBC and other English language broadcasts, and heed local advice.
- On 12 July 2006, two Israeli soldiers were kidnapped on the border between Israel and Lebanon. This led to a major outbreak of violence, including major Israeli strikes across Lebanon in which buildings, roads and bridges have been destroyed and hundreds of people killed and thousands injured. Following the adoption of United Nations Security Council resolution 1701, a ceasefire between Israel and Lebanon came into effect on 14 August 2006. While this has largely been observed so far, the security situation remains uncertain, and there remains much unexploded ordnance in Southern Lebanon.
- There is a serious risk of danger from unexploded bombs being accidentally detonated. This risk is greatest in the south of Lebanon, where the most ordnance fell. You should heed local advice in areas which have not been declared safe from unexploded ordnance.
- There is a high threat of terrorism in Lebanon, with a risk that Western and British interests may be targeted.
- You should carry identity papers with you at all times.
- We strongly recommend that you obtain comprehensive travel and medical insurance before travelling to Lebanon. You should check any exclusions, and that your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake. Please see the Travel Insurance.
SAFETY AND SECURITY
- Register with the British Embassy.
- Heed local advice in areas which have not been declared safe from unexploded ordnance.
- Keep abreast of latest developments by listening to BBC and other English language broadcasts.
- Avoid military sites, and entering any of the Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon, even if you are being accompanied by camp residents.
- Exercise caution when travelling in the Northern Beka'a valley and the mountainous areas bordering Syria where extremist groups and smugglers continue to operate.
- Avoid large crowds and public demonstrations, which have the potential to turn violent.
- Exercise caution on the border with Syria, where the situation remains tense.
LOCAL LAWS AND CUSTOMS
Lebanon is part Muslim, part Christian. In many areas you will find dress codes more relaxed than in other countries of the region. But you should still dress modestly when visiting sites of religious significance such as mosques or churches – and also where it is clear that local people expect it.
Family Law is dealt with in the religious courts. Aspects of the law differ from UK law, including in the fields of marriage and child custody.