Beirut is the capital of Lebanon, and was called the ‘Paris of the Middle East’. The civil conflict that lasted around 15 years placed a strain on the city. However, since the 1990’s, Beirut has started offering the best of Lebanon again. Many of the most popular Lebanon attractions are in Beirut. Here are five must-do things to do in Beirut.
1. Saint George’s Greek Orthodox Cathedral
This church is located in the Parliament Square, which is above the ruins of a Roman law school. The church has been standing since the 18th century and is the oldest church in the city. The church reopened in 2003 after restorations were completed.
2. Hamra Street
Hamra Street is called Rue Hamra and is one of the most important commercial centers and streets in Beirut. From the 1960’s to the 1990’s, the street was the home to many artists, journalists, and intellectuals who would visit the many cafes and theaters. Today, the street has shifted its identity and is now lined with many western stores, coffee shops, and hotels. It also attracts youth with the amount of clubs and bars on the street.
3. National Museum of Beirut
The National Museum of Beirut is located at the front of the Green line, which was the front line during the civil war. The museum suffered the most amount of damage than any other buildings in the area. The National Museum of Beirut has been restored and is the home to the largest collections of archaeological artifacts within Lebanon. It has one of the most extensive collections in the Middle East because the collection is made up of over 1,300 pieces.
4. Grand Omari Mosque
Taking a visit to the Grand Omari Mosque is also a visit to the heart of the layered history of the city. Before the Mohammad Al-Amin Mosque was built, the Grand Omari Mosque was the most important mosque in the city. The mosque also has unique origins since the foundation was laid originally to construct a pagan Roman temple. The foundation was then used to build a Byzantine church and was later turned into a Crusade church. There have been restorations that revealed inscriptions that date back to each period of the mosque’s history.
5. Central District
The Central District is named after the geographic location. It is also the commercial and administrative center of the city. The district has been affected by the recent history of the country.
The area that surrounds the Neijmeh Square and the clock tower in the square is a testimony of the post-war reconstruction project. There are also ruins of a Roman Bath just a couple of blocks away. You can also see the scars of the civil war because the most the intense fighting happened at the head of Matryr’s square. There are redevelopment processes happening in the area to restore the area.
There are many other things to do in Beirut that should be on your to-do list. Many of the Lebanon attractions are in the city or just outside it, which makes it easy to see the best of Lebanon during your visit.
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