Lebanon: A Globe-trotters Guide

Lebanon: A Globe-trotters Guide
I planned my trip to Lebanon from December 26th to January 5th. The mountains
in Lebanon are covered with snow and I thought this would be the most beautiful time to
visit the Middle East. The round-trip airline ticket should cost approximately $2,160.00.
I also found a hotel in central Beirut, The Holiday Suites Hotel, which should range
between $350 and $750 for the entire stay (travelocity.com). Also, there must be taken
into account the cost of meals which should be no more than $300 total for the entire trip.
I will also be carrying at least $1000 for souveniers, ski rental, and lift tickets, as well as
taxis and other public modes of transportation..
Lebanon is very beautiful, due to its four-season weather, beaches, and skiing
mountains. Lebanon has a commonly Mediterranean climate. The Lebanese people
experience hot, dry summers and mild to cool, wet winters. The Lebanese mountains
however, experience heavy snows for the duration of the winter months. Lebanon is a
predominantly mountainous country merely the size of Connecticut. The fertile Bequaa
Valley separates the Lebanese mountains from the Anti-Lebanese mountains on the
Syrian-Lebanese border.
The official language of Lebanon is Arabic, but French is widely spoken. Some
minor languages throughout Lebanese culture are Armenian and English. There are three
recognized religions in Lebanon; Islam, Christianity, and Judaism. There are
approximately seventy-one percent of the Lebanese people whom practice Islam, while
twenty-nine percent practice different denominations of Christianity and the remaining
citizens practice Judaism. (middleeastnews.com)
Lebanese culture varies within families, and varies even greater in respect to age
and wealth. A large majority of Lebanese women wear long gowns with a scarf wrapped
around their heads, and a jacket over their clothes. However, older Lebanese women
wear a long and baggy black dress and use a scarf tied behind their neck to hide their
hair. The fashion of men however is much more revealing, as with most Middle Eastern
cultures. The older men in Lebanon wear baggy trousers that are wound tightly around
the cuff. They wear open-necked collarless shirts, and they sometimes wear a hat called
a Turbish (Wormser 181).
As a westerner, I will not be required to wear the traditional Lebanese dress.
SInce I am planning a skiing trip, bringing lots of sweaters, and ski bibs will be
appropriate for this time of year. I will also need a ski parka, a hat, gloves, and a scarf. I
will probably bring some jeans to explore the tourist attractions in.

While visiting Lebanon, one would expect to enjoy traditional Middle-Eastern
cuisine. Some Lebanese dishes include Baba Ghanoush, which is a dip made from
pureed roasted eggplant as well as garlic and other Meditteranean spices. Another
Traditional Lebanese dish is Kibbeh Arnabieh. This dish is made of traditional Lebanese
Kibbeh in a tangy orange and tahini sauce. Stuffed vine Leaves, which are similar to
Greek dolmas, are also a widely consumed culinary delight.
There are many ancient sites to be visited while in Lebanon. Among them are the
Ruins at Ajar. This once was a Pheonician city, which now rests very near the
Lebanese-Syrian border. Echmoun is a second Phoenician site that should be visited.

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Another interesting thing to visit in Lebanon is the Baalbeck Roman Ruins, which are in
the North end of the Bequaa Valley. It is a massive complex with the temples of Venus,
Jupiter and Bacchus. The Hippodome, a stadium for chariot races, is also an exciting
tourist attraction that any westerner should encounter (www.mninter.net).

The Lebanese Republic is a traditional republican government. Its roots were
derived from Ottoman law, Canon law, Napoleonic Code, and Civil Law. Their
constitution, which was originally created on May 23, 1926, has been amended many
times. Lebanon has five Administrative divisions which consist of Al Biga, Al Junab,
Ash Shamal, Bayrut, Jabal, and Lubnan. The Lebanese President is Emile Lahoud. The
current Speaker of Parliament is Nabih Berri, and the Prime minister is Rafik Hariri.
Since Lebanons devastating sixteen-year civil war which ended only in 1990, a new
government has finally taken hold and gained some sort of control of the county
(Middleeastnews.com). Politically Lebanon is governed by many different sectarian
political groups. Most of these consist of individual political figures and their followers,
who are motivated by their individual religious beliefs, clan, and economic
considerations.

So, in conclusion, Lebanon is a very interesting place to be. There is ancient
ruins to visit, and mountins to ski on, food to enjoy, and marvelous scenery to take in
from all angles.


Works Cited
1.) http://www.middleeastnews.com/lebanon.html
2.) http://www.mninter.net/~engelst/mideast.htm
3.) Wormser, Michael D ed. The Middle East. Fifth Edition. Congressional Quarterly
Inc. 1981.