A modern capital with a prestigious past

Set against breathtaking Mount Lebanon, the deep blue Mediterranean Sea stretching out before it, Beirut teems with a tangible vitality and energy. Every neighborhood of the ancient city boasts its own distinct flavor, and locals will tell you their manakeesh bakeries are the best in the city. They’re right.

Walking the streets of the 5,000-year-old city, one senses the ancient presence of Canaanites, Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Ottomans, and more recently the French.


From the café-riddled streets of Achrafieh and Monot to ultra-modernized downtown to the winding streets of Raouche, all resplendent in tile, Beirut is an endlessly multifarious blend of histories, cultures, languages and foreign influences.


The modern cosmopolitan city of Beirut is home to more than 1 million people, and is the very heart of the country's economic and cultural life.


The Semitic name of the city—be'erot; "wells"—is derived from the word "bir," which is the Phoenician word for well. The city was given the name after several underground sweet-water wells were discovered within it.


The city boasts a glamorous past. As early as 4,000 years ago, it was a prosperous port on the Canaanite-Phoenician coast, and an important commercial center, serving as a crossroads for Eastern and Western civilizations. On the renowned tablets of Tell- Al-Amarna, in Egypt, which date back to the 14th century BC, the city was said to be well-defended under the reign of King Ammunira.


During the Roman era, the city became a prosperous colony called "Colonia Julia Augusta Felix Berytus," in homage to the daughter of Emperor Augustus. With Augustus at the helm of the city, the inhabitants enjoyed tax exemption according to the "ins italicum" law, since it was a Roman colony. Septimus Severus chose the city in the 3rd century to be the site of the law school that attracted students from all over the world. The school was the tribune of many prominent jurists, such as Papinianus, Ulpianus, Gaius, Paulus and the praetorian prefect of Illyria Anatoly the Beiruti, and it shone over the east region. Justinian assigned many professors to teach at the Beirut law school, who were instrumental in setting forth a legislative code that became the foundation of Western laws for centuries to come.


The city experienced a golden era until the Byzantine epoch. Throughout a 1,000-year span, the city gradually lost its splendor until the 18th century. Like other coastal cities, Beirut was occupied several times, and each occupation brought destruction and bombings, separated by intermittent periods of prosperity.


During World War I, Turkish Governor Azmi Pasha ordered the razing of much of the ancient quarters and neighborhoods to pave the way for a new city that combines Oriental influence with urban European foundations. Built with yellow stones and decked with small balconies, most of city’s antique buildings date from the Ottoman era and the subsequent French Mandate.


Mamluk Period Phoenician Period Greek Period Crusader Period Byzantine Period French Mandate Spring Summer Autumn Winter Festivals and events Night life Sightseeing Waterfront activities Art Scene Cinemas Shopping Amusement Centers Gastronomy Horse racing Parks and Gardens Theaters Playgrounds Ecotourism Religious tourism Entertainment Arts and Culture Historical Tourism


Things to do

Sursock Museum

The Nicolas Sursock Museum is a contemporary art museum housed in an opulent 1912 Venetian Italianate Sursock family mansion on Sursock Street in...

Walking Beirut

The best way to get to know any city is by walking, and this is especially true of Beirut. The labyrinthine nature of its streets and alleys makes...

Beirut Holidays Festival

Beirut Holidays is a series of summer concerts and shows held in Beirut Souks. Launched in 2012, the festival brings together diverse musical...

Grand Omari Mosque (Beirut)

Before being eclipsed by the Mohammad al-Amin Mosque, the Omari Mosque was Beirut’s central mosque. It takes its name from the caliph Omar Ibn aI-...

AUB Archeological Museum

The AUB Archaeological Museum is the third-oldest museum in the Near East, after Cairo and Constantinople, opening in 1902.   Guided tours are...


Badaro is a largely residential neighborhood that was planned in the mid 1950s along the eastern border of Beirut's Pine Forest, which Emir...

Castle Square Belvedere Park

Situated in the central business district of Beirut, Castle Square Belvedere Park is a public plaza adjacent to the oldest archaeological site in the...

Nejmeh Square - Maarad Street

Inspired by its French counterpart, Nejmeh Square is a pedestrian zone that combines French, Oriental and modern influences. The square is bordered...