Lebanon’s capital city of Beirut has seen an increase in tourism over the past decade, and for good reason. From historic sites to natural wonders to world-class museums, Beirut has plenty to offer visitors.
The Cilician Museum contains one of the largest collections of Armenian religious and cultural artifacts in the world. Most of these rare objects were smuggled out of what was then called Turkish Armenia in 1915 by a group of monks from the Monastery of Sis in Cilicia (you can learn more about their impressive feat when you visit the museum). The collection contains reliquaries, ornate ceremonial vessels and vestments, art pieces and more.
One of Beirut’s most stunning natural wonders is a set of offshore rock arches called Pigeon Rocks. The arches can best be seen from the Corniche, or by walking down to the lower level of the nearby cliffs.
One of the oldest buildings in Beirut, St. George’s was constructed in 1767. In 1975 (during the civil war), the cathedral was bombed and ruins from a Byzantine church were revealed. The cathedral has since been rehabilitated and the ruins have become a museum where visitors can enjoy ornate Byzantine mosaic floors as well as tombs (complete with skeletons).
National Museum of Beirut
The National Museum of Beirut contains an array of archaeological artifacts that provide a glimpse into Lebanon’s history. Notable objects include Byzantine gold jewelry, mosaics from the 3rd and 4th centuries, as well as Phoenician marble statues and bronze figures.
Horsh Beirut, a large pine forest and urban park on the edge of the city, provides the perfect natural escape. The green space includes a playground for children as well as walking paths and picnic spots. It’s a true community space that is treasured by local inhabitants.