- the biblical land of the "Song of Songs" and the homeland
of the ancient Phoenicians - is one of the smallest and most fascinating
countries in the world. Into its small area is packed a wealth
of natural beauty and enormous human, historical and archaeological
only 130 miles (210 km) in length and 46 miles (75 km) in width,
it has a population of three million and is situated along the
east coast of the Mediterranean between Syria and Israel. Its
tiny coastline is dotted with the ancient ports of Tyre, Sidon,
Byblos, Tripoli and Beirut.
third of the total land mass is made up of mountains, which ascend
suddenly in places to a height of 8000 feet (2450 meters) and
are divided from north to south by the lush Bekaa Valley. On the
steep mountain slopes, terraced villages perch precariously amid
countless mountain springs and waterfalls.
sheer sudden height of the mountains becomes obvious when you
realize that it is possible, at certain times of the year, to
swim in the warm Mediterranean waters at the foot of the mountains
and one hour later, after motoring to the top, ski down the snowy
Lebanese landscape varies from barren, rocky terrain to fertile
valleys and plains. Much of the countryside is covered in cypress,
willow, poplar, oak and pine trees, and in places the remains
of famous cedar forests are still evident. There are many olive
groves and banana plantations, and countless thriving orchards
which produce an abundance of citrus fruits, apricots, peaches,
figs and pomegranates.
December through to the northern spring, wildflowers of every
color begin to bloom. Among these are narcissus, iris, crocus,
anemone, hibiscus, tulips and cyclamen. In the mountains flowers
seem to grow everywhere, even in the stone walls of ancient ruins.
picturesque country has been called the "Land of the Poets".
For thousands of years it has inspired men to sing its praises,
among them the great Lebanese poet and philosopher, Khalil Gibran.
Lebanon is a country of contrasts and diversities.
the capital, is a sophisticated city bursting with luxury products,
first class hotels, elegant women and fast cars. It has also regrettably,
been the scene of complex political conflicts.
trappings of the modern world stand alongside old souks (market
places) and ancient ruins.
the villages people cling to old traditions. They live in simple,
stone dwellings and retain a spontaneous outlook on life.