What should tourists avoid in Lebanon

Lebanon

The Foreign Office of the Federal Republic of Germany has one for this country Partial travel warning published (web link).

Greater caution is advised when traveling to Lebanon. Media coverage as well as this travel and safety advice should be followed carefully.

We strongly warn against traveling - to the districts of Tripoli, Akkar and Minieh-Dinnieh in the north of Lebanon - to the Bekaa plain north of Baalbek. In the vicinity of the Syrian border, currently mainly in the area around Arsal, there is an increased risk of kidnapping for foreigners. - to the Palestinian refugee camps Nahr al-Bared and Beddawi near Tripoli - to the Palestinian refugee camps Ain al-Helweh and Mieh Mieh near Sidon.

We strongly advise against traveling - to the rest of the Bekaa plain including the tourist sites of Baalbek; - to the areas south of the Litani (with the exception of the city of Tire) including the border area with Israel; - to the southern suburbs of Beirut (so-called Dahiye).

Lebanon: Travel and safety information from the Federal Foreign Office. Date of last travel warning: 25.05.2018.
location
flag
Short dates
CapitalBeirut
Form of governmentParliamentary republic
currency1 Leban. Pounds (LBP) = 100 piastres
surface10,452 km²
population6.2 million
languagesArabic
ReligionsMuslims 60% (Shiites, Sunnis, Druzen, Alawites), Christians 40% (Maronites, Greek Orthodox ...)
Phone code+961
Internet TLD.lb
Time zoneCET + 1h

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

Road map of Lebanon (2009).

Cities [edit]

Other goals [edit]

In the hills near Bsharri in winter 2009.
The stalactite caves of Jeita can be reached by cable car.
World heritage sites
The old monasteries (mostly Armenian Orthodox, in the rocks of the valley of Qadisha.
  • the Umayyad ruins of Anjar
  • the ruins at Baalbek
  • the old city of Byblos
  • the scenic valley of Qadisha with the "divine cedars"
  • the Roman ruins of Tire

Cedar forests [edit]

The Lebanon cedar is the symbol of the country. Cedar forests, together with oak and pine forests, once covered large parts of the Lebanon Mountains. Today the mountains are largely deforested in the coniferous forest zone.

  • Al-Shouf Cedar Nature Reserve - The approximately 150 hectare forest on the aerial photo can be found at 33.68691944, 35.69632222Name is missing33 ° 41 ′ 13 ″ N35 ° 41 ′ 47 ″ E. The forest area is between 1,600 and 1,800 m above sea level, around 30 km as the crow flies south-east of Beirut.
  • Another small remnant of the cedar forest is at the foot of the ski resort The Cedars found in northern Lebanon. At 34.24386944, 36.04846111 Name is missing34 ° 14 ′ 38 ″ N36 ° 2 ′ 55 ″ E, an approximately 12 hectare forest with Lebanon cedars can be visited at 1900 m altitude. In the ski area, a ski lift leads to an altitude of over 2800 m on the flank of the Qurnat as-Sauda mountain ("Black Horn"). With a height of 3,088 meters, the mountain is the highest point in the Lebanon Mountains.

Background [edit]

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

From 1000 BC These coastal cities develop into small kingdoms and become the cultural and trading area of ​​Phenicia. Its trade relations extend over the entire Mediterranean area. Here the Phoenician alphabet is developed, which also forms the basis for our present day. With Carthage (near Tunis in today's Tunisia) is 814 BC. Founded the most important Phoenician colony in North Africa.

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

With the rise of the Romans as the all-ruling power, it falls in 64 BC. To Rome and becomes part of the Eastern Roman Empire in 395. The country's importance had already declined significantly when it was largely destroyed by an earthquake in 551 AD.

The Aramaic Maronites immigrated to Lebanon between the tenth and eleventh centuries, forming the largest Christian denomination in the country.

In the course of the spread of Islam and the Arab conquests, Lebanon was annexed to the Caliphate in 636 after the Battle of Yarmuk, to which Syria already belonged. In the eleventh century Lebanon became a refuge for the Muslim sect of the Druze, who still settle 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 can be established in 1109. The rule of the Crusaders lasted until the end of the 13th century (1291), then they were driven out by the Mamelukes.

In 1517 Lebanon fell to the Ottoman Empire, to whose territory it belonged until 1860. However, Lebanon received 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 over rule. This tribe converted to the Maronite faith and ruled until 1840. Lebanon is regaining importance and is also known as the Levant in the 19th century. Due to the different interests of Egypt, France, England and the Ottoman Empire, there is increasing internal political tensions with a religious character. This leads to the end of the Druze rule and a reorganization of the country in 1845. The northern part is ruled by the Maronites and the southern part by the Druze, the Wali of Sidon is superior to both. During this time, councils are also formed, which are subordinate to the governors and represent the respective religious community. This division of offices according to religious affiliation continues to this day. The restless peace lasted until 1860. A protest originally started as a peasant protest is transformed into a religious dispute between the Maronite peasants and the Druze feudal lords. There is an escalation in the course of which there is a massacre of the Maronites. It is spoken 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 area. The rest of Lebanon now becomes an autonomous region in the Ottoman Empire with a Catholic governor who is not allowed to come from Lebanon. Beirut flourishes and gains its 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. In 1926 Lebanon was given its own constitution in accordance with the provisions of the League of Nations. This put the idea of ​​a federation with Syria, which is also under a French mandate, aside. During the Second World War, Lebanon is controlled by troops from the Allies and from free France under de Gaulle. The Maronite and Sunni representatives of Lebanon fight for independence together with the British.

Lebanon is one of the founding members of the UN in 1945 and, in the form of Charles Malik, played a key role in drawing up the UN Charter. Until 1958 the country was under American influence, especially the "American University" was the gateway here.

In the next few decades there were repeated unrest, the cause of which can 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. In 1968 Israel bombed Beirut airport after a guerrilla operation by the PLO. It has had its headquarters in Lebanon since 1970.

In 1975 the civil war began, with interventions from Syria and Israel. This leads to direct clashes between the US armed forces and the Syrian army. In the south, Hezbollah is operating against Israeli forces. 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.

Prime Minister Hariri ruled the country from 1992 to 2004 and rebuilt it in line with the neo-liberal economic theories of his American sponsors. The final withdrawal of the Israeli armed forces from southern Lebanon in 2000 also fell during this period. In 2004, he resigned. On February 14, 2005 he died in an attack in Beirut. Formation of a new government under Prime Minister Siniora. The office of Prime Minister was then taken over by the son of the deceased Saad Hariri, true to American models.

Hezbollah operates in the south of the country. The war started by Israeli attacks in 2006 ended after a ceasefire. For stabilization purposes, UN troops (UNIFIL) were reinforced by fighters from the German Armed Forces, whose mandate is extended annually.

Arrival [edit]

Due to the political situation that prevailed in 2018, the only practicable entry option is by air to Beirut.

Entry requirements [edit]

Most western foreigners no longer require a visa to enter Lebanon. Upon arrival, you fill out an immigration card and then go straight to passport control (to the counters for foreigners on the right-hand side). There the passport details are entered into the computer and you get your entry stamp, which entitles you to stay for up to a month. You will be asked for your telephone number and address in the country. The father's first name is also information that is sometimes requested. The rule of “at least another 6 months” has been abolished, but in 2018 the word did not get around too far.

The passport must not contain an endorsement of the State of Israel or a Jordanian / Egyptian stamp from a land border crossing to 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 recognized.

Stay extensions
On the General Security website it is pointed out that since March 5, 2018, visa extensions can be applied for at any post office. However, details of the procedure are not explained.

The General Directorate of General Security is responsible (hotline: ☎ 1717; office hours 8.00-15.30), the addresses of the regional offices can be found on the website. Overdrafting the visa can result in heavy penalties, in any case an “Exit Visa” must be applied for.

By plane

The only international airport is 33.82111111111135.4883333333331(IATA: BEY).

Cheap transfer connections from Central Europe are offered by the 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 traffic in Lebanon.

By bus

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

Car / motorcycle / bicycle [edit]

All land borders are closed for tourist purposes.

With the ship [edit]

At times there are cruise connections from Limassol (Cyprus) in the summer. The ferries from Turkey have been discontinued.

Mobility [edit]

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

When traveling with the taxi you should negotiate the price in advance to avoid surprises. From the airport to downtown Beirut there are 20-5 US $ taxi costs, 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 excessive prices. Within the city of Beirut, the price is fixed at 10,000 LL, unless you identify yourself as a tourist. Official taxis (and buses) have red license plates, but there are also numerous unregulated taxis, e.g. for Uber.

A service is significantly cheaper. It can be described as a mixture of taxi and bus. As a rule, the vehicle is a Mercedes passenger car or a minibus, and its taxi license is always identified by a red license plate. A fixed route is traveled and the vehicle stops as soon as someone indicates that he would like to ride with you. As many people are taken as can fit in. A trip in town usually costs 2,000 lira, a trip from Beirut to Tripoli costs at least 5,000 lira.

All major cities are through buses regularly approached from Beirut. There are three bus stations in Beirut, see more in the article on Beirut.

Rental car are available from around € 30 per day at international rental companies (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 is a constant traffic jam in Beirut.

"The unpredictable driving style of many road users as well as the often inadequate signposting of the roads cause foreign motorists certain difficulties." The Lebanese driving style differs greatly from that of Western Europe: right of way rules are usually negotiated by hand signals and horns. Traffic lights (if any) are more of a guideline. Under no circumstances should you try to insist on giving way, as is customary in Germany. The top speed of 100 km / h outside of built-up areas is not driven by locals either, due to the heavy traffic and poor road conditions.

Refueling: As a rule, every petrol station has a petrol station attendant who takes over refueling and cashing. At the beginning of 2013 the price for 20 liters of petrol was 36,200 LL

Edit language]

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

Buy [edit]

The reverse of the LL 250 coin is inscribed in Arabic.

The Lebanese lira, also known as the Lebanese pound, is pegged to the US dollar. 1 US $ = 8500 Lira. In Lebanon you can pay with either US $ or Lebanese Lira everywhere. Depending on which currency the seller has in stock, you get Lira or US $ as change.

Bills run around LL 1000; LL 5000; LL 10000; LL 20000; LL 50000 and LL 100000. There are coins for LL 250 and LL 500.

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

Kitchen [edit]

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

  • Hummus, 2 falafel, baba ghanoush, tabbouleh, chicken breast, lamb kebab, kofte and kibbeh (from left)

All kinds of grilled meats with sauces, vegetarian falafel and many other culinary delights invite you to dine on.

  • 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. Often there are onions, hummus and tabbouleh, or French fries.
  • Cafta are strongly seasoned, fried, baked or grilled minced meat rolls, mostly made from 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 coated 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, aniseed, 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.

Drinks [edit]

Coffee is usually served "Turkish". In addition to normal black tea is also Yerba mate surprisingly popular. Alcohol is legal and readily available in the cities in the form of wine and arak. The situation is different in Muslim rural regions. Tap water is not drinkable.

  • Backyard schnapps distillery near Bscharri

Nightlife [edit]

The Casino du Liban in the hills above Maameltein (22 km to Beirut) was the noblest house in the eastern Mediterranean before the civil war. It has since reopened on a smaller scale.

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

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

Accommodation [edit]

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

In general, hotel prices are at the Central European level for the corresponding category. There are hardly any hostels, if you have to calculate LL 40,000 for a 2018 dormitory bed in the capital. For double that you get a room in a middle class hotel.

When choosing a suitable accommodation, one should definitely consider the location. Due to the heavy traffic and the predominantly older cars, the air in downtown Beirut smells very strongly of gasoline. If you value peace 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 a reservation in good time. Here we recommend the package deals from Lebanese travel providers, which also include the transfer from the airport.

Holidays [edit]

meetingSurnameimportance
January 1stNew Years DayNew Year
February 09Festival of Sacrifice of St. MarronChristian holiday
May 1stLabor DayLabor Day
May 6thDay of the MartyrsMuslim holiday
15th of AugustAssumption DayCommemoration of the Assumption of Mary
22nd of NovemberIndependence dayNational holiday
November 1stAll Saints' DayChristian holiday
25 DecemberChristmasChristian holiday
April 2, 2021EasterGood Friday and Easter Sunday are public holidays
July 19, 2021Eid al-AdhaFestival of Sacrifice
May 13, 2021Eid al-FitrEnd of ramadan
October 19, 2021MouloudBirthday of the prophet

Activities [edit]

Beaches are often rocky, often privately owned and therefore only accessible during the season for a fee (approx. 8 to 12 euros). The water quality does not meet European standards, especially in the urban area between Sidon and Byblos.[1]

Skiing is possible even if the season is naturally short.

Climate [edit]

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

Security [edit]

See the travel warnings above!

Warning: The joke “I'm from Israel” should definitely be avoided in western-oriented Lebanon.

Lebanon is located in an earthquake area.

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 any time. There are military roadblocks at all major city entrances and exits, as well as at major junctions. Usually you are waved through, but you approach them with great caution. These, the military and corresponding institutions, or corresponding public buildings, may not be photographed. “During political speeches or family celebrations, shots are often fired into the air. This custom leads time and again to sometimes fatal injuries from falling cartridges. "[2]

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, and travel bans in the event of custody disputes are often imposed at short notice.

Health [edit]

In Lebanon, as in other Mediterranean countries, you can find a lot of street restaurants, cafes and fast food providers. Basically, most of them are very hygienic and you can eat as you please, but it is better to be careful than to be safe.

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

Caution, even if you have taken out health insurance at home, you should come to the hospital with cash (or have a credit card with you, all hospitals have ATMs). The admission takes place through an advance payment from a deposit, which is then settled. These deposits are from $ 1000 upwards. E.g. the AUB requires a deposit of 5000 US $. Or if time permits, call the foreign health insurer beforehand and call the responsible office in Lebanon so that the deposit payment can be paid directly by this branch office.

Very good specialists are available.

Rules of conduct [edit]

Outside of 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 mosques, which should not be entered without long clothing and headscarves (women). The churches also demand this respect.

Practical advice [edit]

Internet cafes have sprung up like mushrooms on every corner and chatting with mic and cam is normal, most of them have broadband technology.

The prices vary from quarter to quarter, from approx. LBP 1000 to LBP 5000.

post

The post office works and if you stay longer in Lebanon you can rent a post office box. Cost item per calendar year (or part thereof) approx. LL 75,000.

In Beirut you get the mail to your home if you have a private address.

Cellular

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 data prepaid cost US $ 17.
  • touch, area codes ☎ +961 30 or 37 to 39, or 764, 765, 816, 817.

Literature [edit]

Current German-language travel guides are not on the market in 2018, the latest are from around 2005-2010.

  • Lang, Tobias; Druze in Lebanon and Israel: History, Conflicts, and Loyalties; Berlin 2013; ISBN 9783879974160
  • Lehmann, Heike; Baalbek in post-ancient times; Rahden 2015; ISBN 9783896466655
  • Lewis, Kevin James; Counts of Tripoli and Lebanon in the twelfth century: sons of Saint-Gilles; London 2017 (Routledge); ISBN 978-1-315-60991-1 [History 11.-12. Century]
  • Lohmann, Daniel; Sanctuary of Jupiter Heliopolitanus in Baalbek: the planning and construction history; Rahden 2017; ISBN 9783896466686

Web links [edit]

This is a useful article. There are still some places where information is missing. If you have something to add be brave and complete them.
  1. ↑ [1] zggr. 2018-06-02
  2. ↑ [2] zggr. 2018-06-02