Strategically located at the crossroads of three continents, Asia, Africa and Europe, Beirut is unique among world capitals. With a population of almost a million and a half inhabitants, it is an intersection of East and West and a fascinating city of contrasts. With the return of peace to Lebanon, Beirut today is a hub of culture, commerce, banking and finance. The National Museum documents the great archaeological past of Lebanon, while musical, artistic and dramatic activities take place year round. Although a new commercial center has been rebuilt, a number of traditional houses still exist.
A tour of the old downtown should also include Omari Mosque, the Municipality Building, the Assaf and Amir Monzer Mosques, the arcade Maarad Street, the Parliament Building, the Roman columns on Nejmeh Square, and the historic Greek Orthodox and Greek Catholic churches opposite the Parliament. Also not to be missed is the area of Rawsheh, where Beirut’s famous Pigeon Rocks stand tall and proud in the sparkling sea. The many nightclubs and restaurants of this cosmopolitan city are justly famous.