Beirut, the capital city of Lebanon, is aptly known as the 'the Paris of the Middle East'. It is the commercial, cultural, and tourist center of the country. The city's vibrant nightlife and rich historical legacy make it one of the topmost tourist destinations in the country. From ancient sites to eateries and shopping centers, you can find it all in Beirut.
Being the largest city of Lebanon, Beirut is a favorite of tourists all over the world. If you are looking for fun things to do in Beirut and interesting places to visit, you will not be disappointed as the city has a lot to offer. Whether you like to party it up or spend time browsing for goods to take back home, you will find yourself pleasantly surprised. One of the essential things to do in Beirut before you start with anything else is to marvel at just how beautiful it is and what better way to do this than going for a stroll along The Corniche. The coastline offers an interesting mix of the fishermen, the wealthier people in their Lamborghinis and loud vendors trying to sell you coffee and tea all in one place. The fresh sea air blowing from the sea serves as a bonus point. One of the things to do in Beirut is to stuff yourself with some amazing delicious food. Food lovers are in for some treat when visiting Beirut since the place has so many good and affordable restaurants. Dar Bistro &Books, Tawlet etc are some of the popular restaurants here serving you deliciously heavenly food. One restaurant in particular is ‘Motto’ which has the honor of being the only restaurant in all of Lebanon where customers have the right to pay whatever they think is fair for whatever they eat. Talk about convenience!
One of the most famous places to visit in Beirut is the National Museum of Beirut. Though it is not that big in size, it still contains a lot of interesting things for you to look at. The beautiful mosaics in the museum serve as the cherry on top. The artifacts that are displayed here are no less than intriguing. Since the museum is not that big, and if you are looking for places to visit in Beirut that don’t eat up much time, a visit to this museum is a must. Another one of the fun things to do in Beirut is to practice your photography skills! Beirut offers so many beautiful views that you would be crazy to not capture some beautiful shots. Places like Zaitunay Bay are perfect for pictures. Considered as the one of the most posh areas in all of Beirut, it serves as the perfect backdrop for your pictures. So dress stylish and blend right in with the environment.
Martyrs’ Square is a public square in downtown Beirut built by the Ottomans in the 19th century. The place is a lot more than just a monument. It has a long history as a site of public political expression and revolution. Until the early 20th century, the city center was known as Place des Canons due to the Russian artillery which was placed there in the 18th century.
After its use as the site for execution of Lebanese nationalists, the square was renamed as Martyrs’ Square.
The place has always remained a popular spot for protests and demonstrations. The most notable demonstrations that were organized at the Martyrs’ Square include the 2005 anti-Syrian protests and the 2007 anti-establishment protests organized by Hezbollah.
Martyrs’ Square suffered extensive damage during the Lebanese Civil War and the political upheavals that the country faced. In order to renovate and restore the city’s geographical, political, and social center, an international contest was organized by the government in 2005 for transforming the square into Beirut’s premier public space and tourist attraction. Today, while the landmark bears the scars of wars, the Martyrs’ Square manages to attract thousands of visitors every year because of the spectacular view of the sea and the Garden of Forgiveness it offers to its north.
a modern city with a vulnerable past survived more than 15 years of conflict, and today, it’s rightly called the tourism capital of Lebanon. The Beirut Central District or Downtown Beirut offers unforgettable experiences to thousands of tourists who visit Lebanon to explore this cosmopolitan city that has earned the title of ‘the city that would not die’. Downtown Beirut is situated on the northern coast and can be easily accessed using a variety of transportation modes, including the Beirut Seaport, Rafik Hariri International Airport, and multiple highways.
While Beirut has undergone extensive reconstruction over the past few years, visitors can still find hints of the historical heritage of Lebanon in downtown Beirut. Some of the famous tourist attractions of downtown Beirut include Pigeon Rocks, Mohammed Al-Amin Mosque, Roman Baths, Harissa, Jeita Grotto, and National Museum of Beirut. In addition to these archeological landmarks, high-end clothing and jewelry shops, restaurants, and hotels can be found on almost every corner of the Central Beirut District.
The booming coastal metropolis, which is in the midst of its revival, offers an alluring fusion of Lebanon’s complex history and Beirut’s increasingly modern lifestyle. So, plan a visit to Beirut this summer and let yourself be blown away by the place which is known as the Pearl of the Middle East.
Place de L’Etoile, also known as Nejmeh Square, is located in the heart of downtown Beirut. The city’s central square is home to several government offices, two cathedrals, museums, and several restaurants and cafes.
Nejmeh Square is an iconic space with a number of landmarks of great historical value. The jewel of the square is a clock monument which was built in 1930s.
The four-faced Rolex clock was a gift from Michel Abed, a Lebanese-Brazilian émigré, to the Lebanese government. During the Lebanese Civil War, the clock was dismantled and taken to a hiding place in order to safeguard it from damage. The clock was resurrected in the mid 1990s, and today, it remains the major attraction in Nejmeh Square for locals and tourists alike.
Place de L'Etoile is a pedestrian zone that combines Oriental, French, and modern influences. Elegant wrought iron is used to decorate balconies, windows, and facades. In addition to the infamous Clock Tower, there are several other landmarks, such as Saint George Greek Orthodox Cathedral, Saint Elias Greek Catholic Church, and the Lebanese Parliament. The place is home to several high-end restaurants serving French and Mediterranean food to the visitors who come here to dine, walk, or explore the history of Beirut.
One of the most interesting and endearing landmarks within the Beirut city, the Clock Tower is a famous building set in the downtown district area of the city. The tower is also known by the name of Solidere Clock Tower, and was made in the early phase of the 1900s. The unique and stylish structure of the clock tower was designed and constructed by the French and still stands a proud part of the city infrastructure and a remembrance of the city’s history.
This old and famous clock tower suffered a serious amount of war damage over the years, and has been duly restored to all its former glory with dedicated effort. The beauty and elegance of the tower is increased tenfold when the lights of the landmark are switched on at night.
Also known as the Ottoman Clock Tower, this landmark was constructed on the Grand Serail grounds. The tower was erected in honor of the 10th anniversary of the coronation of the second Sultan Abdul Hamid. The tower has a huge bell on the third floor which weighs around 300 kg. Also, the design of the building features 4 neo-oriental style miniature balconies, which adorn the floor of the tower. There are 4 big clock faces launched and fixed in the tower, which was brought over from France at the time of the Ottoman period.
The Saint George Maronite Cathedral is the famous cathedral of Maronite Catholic Archeparchy present in the city of Beirut in Lebanon. The construction of this cathedral was highly inspired by the famous Basilica Santa Maria Maggiore of Rome. This cathedral was heavily shelled and hit in the Lebanese civil war and was defaced and plundered. It was restored after the end of the war and was opened again by Nasrallah Boutros Sfeir who was a Maronite Patriarch. The cathedral contains many famous paintings. One of them is a painting by Delacroix which represents Saint George who is the patron saint of the Archdiocese and the cathedral in the city of Beirut.
Beneath the cathedral’s annex, several important archaeological remains have been found and preserved. These historical remains include an Ottoman Wall, A Hellenistic Structure and a small part of the roman Decumanus Maximus Street.
This cathedral is located in Beirut’s downtown area and it happens to be one of the most significant religious buildings in the city. The Mohammad Al-Amin Mosque is present right next to this cathedral and the Saint George Greek Orthodox Cathedral is present eighty meters to the north of it. The Saint George Maronite Cathedral should be definitely visited for a great spiritual experience.
Beirut is the epitome of tolerance and inter-religious harmony with its numerous places of worship of all faiths, particularly Christianity and Islam. The Saint George Greek Orthodox Cathedral is the oldest church located in Beirut, and one of the oldest in the country. The church holds a special place in Beirut, both geographically and historically. Built on the ruins of the Church of the Resurrection, the Saint George Greek Orthodox Cathedral is located right in the heart of Beirut’s city center. Just like many other landmarks of Beirut, the Cathedral suffered extensive damage during the Lebanese Civil War.
A multi-phase reconstruction and renovation project was then initiated in 1998, and the Cathedral opened its door in 2003.
The nave of the Cathedral is divided into five bays, which are further subdivided into three aisles. The elegant sandstone piers of the church add to its majestic beauty. The interior of this beautifully restored church is fully painted in majestic Greek Orthodox art.
The Cathedral also houses a museum which was inaugurated in December 2011. The museum consists of a crypt with 12 stops showcasing the different archeological layers of the church and several artifacts, such as pottery, oil lamps, vessels, and ornaments.
The churches located in Downtown Lebanon contribute to the rich religious background of the country. Some of the most famous ones include the Greek Orthodox Cathedral of Saint George that was inaugurated in 1767, the Greek Catholic Church of Saint Elias built in the nineteenth century and the Saint Louis Church of the Capucins which is a mid-eighteenth century church.
Located in Downtown Beirut, the Saint Louis Church of the Capucins is a Latin Catholic church that was built in 1864 by the Capuchin missionaries. The church served the foreign community of the Latin rite in Beirut and was first named after the King Louis IX of France. Famous for its facades made of sand stone, and elegant wooden windows, the church received heavy damage during the Civil War (1975-1990).
The bell tower that you see today in the Church was added in the 1950s. The Capuchins arrived in the sixteenth century in Beirut. They practiced their traditions in the historical Saint George Church since they didn’t have their own place of worship. Besides churches, Downtown Lebanon is famous for its restaurants. Some of the most popular ones include The Butcher Shop and Grill, The Met, Roadster Diner, BRGR.CO and the Shogun.
Beirut is a lively and vibrant city of Lebanon that has something to offer for everyone. From famous historical landmarks and museums to high-end shopping malls and restaurants, there are a number of tourist attractions that make Beirut a great destination for adventurers and tourists alike. In addition to this, Beirut also offers great religious tourism opportunities. Being the capital city of Lebanon, a country which is the heart of two major religions – Christianity and Islam, Beirut is home to several holy places. Amir Munzer Mosque is one of the several mosques located in the city.
Also known as the Naoufara (Fountain) mosque, the mosque was built in 1620 during the reign of the Prince of Mount Lebanon, Fakhr al Din II. The unique architecture of the mosque makes it a popular tourist attraction of downtown Beirut. There is an ancient fountain and eight Roman columns present in the courtyard of the mosque. Amir Munzer Mosque has sand colored walls and white minarets. The walls are covered in elegant, colorful calligraphy of Quranic verses.
Beirut can rightly be titled as a city of bewildering contradictions. The city offers tourists from diverse backgrounds a refreshing opportunity to explore the complex yet enticing history of Lebanon.
The Mohammad Al-Amin Mosque is a Sunni mosque which is located in downtown Beirut in Lebanon. This mosque is also known as the Blue Mosque. The foundation stone of this mosque was laid in late November in the year 2002. Rafik Hariri, who was the late prime minister of Beirut, gave generous donations for the construction of this mosque. The design of this mosque is heavily inspired by the Ottomans’ Monumental architecture. The built area of the mosque covers almost 11,000 sq meters, 65-meter high minarets and 48-meter high blue dome. The mosque was inaugurated in 2008 by Saad Hariri who is the son of the late Rafik Hariri.
The mosque is said to be a copy of the famous Sultan Ahmed Mosque of Istanbul. This mosque has become a prominent feature of Beirut’s center skyline. During the construction of this historic mosque, archeologists discovered a big section of the main Roman street i.e. Decumanus Maximus with complete columns and paving. Back in the 19th century, a prayer corner called Zawiya was present on the site of this mosque. In recent times, this mosque remains crowded by the tourists and locals who come there to offer the daily prayers. The Mohammad Al-Amin Mosque should be definitely visited for a great spiritual experience.
Located between the old city and the modern downtown, the Roman Baths are a unique display of the cultural heritage fused with modern times. The Roman Baths were first discovered in 1968, but it was not until 1995 when the reconstruction and landscaping resulted in complete discovery of the Roman ruins.
Located behind the Bank Street, the Roman Baths once served the residents who used to bathe in the semi-circle building. The historical Roman landmark still has an intact hypocaust and some empty pools. The well-preserved limestone pillars and heavy pediments of the building provide the visitors an insight into the majestic beauty of ancient Roman architecture.
In order to add to the convenience of the tourists visiting the Roman Baths, the local government has placed benches near the Roman ruins. These thoughtfully placed benches offer a unique and breathtaking view of the high-end apartments that were constructed after the Lebanese Civil War and the well-preserved Roman Baths.
There are a number of tourist attractions located in close proximity as well. These include the Corniche, the American University of Beirut, and Churches of Harissa. The Roman Baths are also surrounded by Mediterranean-style gardens which add to the mystic beauty of the ruins and recreate the typical atmosphere of the Roman gardens.