Lebanon

Lebanon officially known as the Lebanese Republic is a sovereign state in Western Asia. Lebanon’s location at the crossroads of the Mediterranean Basin and the Arabian hinterland facilitated its rich history and shaped a cultural identity of religious and ethnic diversity. At just 10,452 km2 (4,036 sq. mi.), it is the smallest recognized country on the entire mainland Asian continent.

During the 7th century AD the Muslim Arabs conquered Syria soon after the death of Prophet Muḥammad (PBUH), establishing a new regime to replace the Romans (or Byzantines as the Eastern Romans are sometimes called). Muslim influence increased greatly in the seventh century, when the Umayyad capital was established at nearby Damascus. The region eventually was ruled by the Ottoman Empire from 1516 to 1918. Following the collapse of the empire after World War I, the five provinces that constitute modern Lebanon came under the French Mandate of Lebanon.

Despite its small size, the country has developed a well-known culture and has been highly influential in the Arab world. In spite of prolonged civil war, Lebanon has the highest Human Development Index and GDP per capita in the Arab world, to the exclusion of the oil-rich economies of the Persian Gulf.

The tourism industry accounts for about 10% of GDP. Lebanon managed to attract around 1,333,000 tourists in 2008, thus placing it as rank 79 out of 191 countries. In 2009, The New York Times ranked Beirut the No. 1 travel destination worldwide due to its nightlife and hospitality.

Basic Information

Capital: Beirut
President: Michel Aoun

Currency

Lebanese pound (LBP)

Boundaries

Lebanon has a coastline and border of 225 kilometres on the Mediterranean sea to the west, a 375 kilometres, border shared with Syria to the north and east and a 79 kilometres long border with Israel to the south. The border with the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights is disputed by Lebanon in a small area called Shebaa Farms.

Languages

Lebanon’s official national language is Arabic . Moreover, there French and English that are fluently spoken and used all over the country.

Climate

Lebanon has a moderate Mediterranean climate. In coastal areas, winters are generally cool and rainy whilst summers are hot and humid. In more elevated areas, temperatures usually drop below freezing during the winter with heavy snow cover that remains until early summer on the higher mountaintops. Although most of Lebanon receives a relatively large amount of rainfall, when measured annually in comparison to its arid surroundings, certain areas in north-eastern Lebanon receive little because of rain shadow created by the high peaks of the western mountain range.

Major Religions

Lebanon’s population is estimated to be 54% Muslim (27% Shia; 27% Sunni), 5.6% Druze, who do not consider themselves to be Muslims, 40.4% Christian (21% Maronite, 8% Greek Orthodox, 5% Melkite, 1% Protestant

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