Lebanon lies to the east of the Mediterranean,
sharing borders to the north and east with Syria,
and to the south with Israel. It is a mountainous
country and between the two mountain ranges of
Jebel Lubnan (Mount Lebanon), Mount Hermon and
the Anti-Lebanon range lies the fertile Bekaa
Valley. Approximately half of the country lies
at an altitude of over 900m (3000ft). Into this
small country is packed such a variety of scenery
that there are few places to equal it in beauty
and choice. The famous cedar trees grow high in
the mountains, while the lower slopes bear grapes,
apricots, plums, peaches, figs, olives and barley,
often on terraces painstakingly cut out from the
mountainsides. On the coastal plain, citrus fruit,
bananas and vegetables are cultivated, with radishes
and beans grown in tiny patches
is one of the smallest countries of the Middle
East, and the change in nature is not connected
to geographical distances, but altitudes. Lebanon
is historically defined from the mountains, which
have provided for protection for the local population.
While some areas can be arid, the valleys between
the mountains are green.
Most of the population is live along the coast,
living primarily of fishing, agriculture and trade.
Lebanon is a parliamentary democratic
republic; it gained its independence in 1943.
It has a parliamentary system of government and
a cabinet headed by a prime minister. The constitution
is based on the separation of the executive, legislative
and judiciary authorities. The President is elected
for six years by the Parliament. The 128 deputies
are elected by universal adult suffrage for a
four year term
Lebanon is host to the Baalbeck International
Festival, an annual music fest. At one time, international
opera, ballet, symphony and drama companies worldwide
performed in Beirut. Some Lebanese artists are
active in European opera and theater companies,
while others are trying to create a wider audience
for classical Arabic music and theater. Dabkah
(the national dance) and zajal (folk poetry) are
enjoying a revival.
is available. Country code: 961. Outgoing international
code: 00. Cellular phones are widely used and
are available for hire to visitors.
GSM 900 network in use. Network providers are
Libancell (website: www.libancell.com.lb) and
Cellis (website: www.cellis.com.lb).
facilities available. Faxes can be sent from centrales
(state telephone bureaux) in major towns and from
most hotels (who often add 25 per cent to the
main ISPs are Cyberia (website: www.thisiscyberia.com)
and IDM (website: www.idm.net.lb). There are Internet
cafes in Beirut, Tripoli and most major towns.
Post: With the
newly privatised LibanPost, post to Europe usually
takes two to four days and to the USA between
four to seven days. Post offices are open Mon-Thurs
0800-1400, Fri 0800-1100.
are more than 30 daily newspapers published in
Arabic, Armenian and French and over 100 publications
appear on a weekly or monthly basis. The Daily
Star and Beirut Times are published in English
and there are several English-language weeklies,
primarily Monday Morning. The best-selling Arabic
dailies are Al Anwar, An Nahar, Al Liwa, Al Safir
and Al Dyar. The most important dailies in French
are LOrient-Le Jour and Le Soir. A wide choice
of international newspapers and magazines are
BBC World Service (website: www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice). From time to time the frequencies
change and the most up-to-date can be found online
wide range of Arabic, English and other language
TV stations are available in Lebanon.
Star TV, Orbit, E-Vision and Showtime are some
of the most popular networks available.