Lebanon's diverse patchwork of Mediterranean-lapped coast, rugged alpine peaks and green,fertile valleys is packed into a parcel of land some 225km (140 miles) long and 46km (29 miles) wide.
Once known as the ‘Paris of the East', Beirutcommands a magnificent position, thrust into the Mediterranean. Behind the city are towering mountains, visible when the traffic haze settles down. The Corniche seafront boasts beaches, restaurants, theatres and a dazzling variety of shops and restaurants.
Beirut suffered greatly from Lebanon's 16-year civil war, but following an impressive and ongoing process of reconstruction, the city was poised to become one of the most popular tourist and business destinations in the Middle East before the Israeli attacks of 2006.
Outside of the capital, several UNESCO World Heritage Sites await, many of which reflect the country's various ancient civilizations. Phoenician tombs, Roman temples, Crusader castles and Mamlouk mosques can be found in the cities and ruins of Baalbeck, Byblos and Tyre. The town of Aanjar in the Bekaa Valley contains an Umayyad site from the 8th century - a unique historical example of a commercial centre that was inland. Within themountainous interior of the Kadisha Valley, ancient monasteries and churches can be seen, including a chapel built into the rock face