The exchange rate of the Lebanese Pound (LBP) to the US dollar (USD) is approximately 1500 to one (1514.30), which converts to 1855 against the EUR and 2725 against the British Pound at today's exchange rates. The Lebanese Pound has been a stable currency recently, so there is no worry about holding small amounts or soaring rates of inflation which would devalue your left-over Pounds.
There are bank machines everywhere in the city center. You will see some majors such as Societe Generale and Credit Lyonnaise, due to the French colonial influence, and France's influence in the Middle East, as well as, many pan-Arab banks, such as Arab Bank, which is active outside of the ME as well. Of course, there is also the Bank of Beirut, which is also an international bank. Therefore, I would not be too concerned about the security of your bank card. You can either look for a name of a bank you know and trust, or for the banking network, such as Cirrus or Maestro, which your local bank is a member, and then use your bank card. Most of the bank machines give you a choice of USD or LBP, so if you do not know how long you will be in the city and do not want to be bothered reconverting unspent Pounds, you can take out a small amount of LBP for spending money, and then carry some dollars in reserve. Of course, you can pay with credit card almost everywhere in the city center without any difficulties.
Also, everyone from store keepers, to waiters, to the taxi drviers are keenly aware of the various exchange rates between dollars, euros and pounds, so you can usually pay for anything in cash, and receive a fair exchange rate. However, you may get your change back in local pounds, and do not expect to give a taxi driver a $50 dollar note for a $3 taxi ride, and expect him to have the correct change on hand.
Money changing and getting around in Beirut is not a problem at all, so don't worry about it.
Beirut has been occupied for a long, long time. There are still Roman ruins scattered around the city, and the clearance of downtown that accompanied the Solidere reconstruction project unearthed quite a bit of history. Just east of the Place l'Etoile and west of the Maronite cathedral is one set of Roman columns and foundations (pictured here), which no one seems to know what to do with yet. Just west of the plaza, sandwiched between gleaming new office buildings and the Grand Serail, are the remains of a large Roman baths complex--these are nicely excavated and dressed up with attractive stone surrounding walls and balcomies. Things like this can be in some unlikely places in Beirut--I spotted one lonely Corinthian column, all by itself, right in the middle of Hamra's bustling shopping district. I spied a lot of other ruins crumbling under demolished buildings around town, but it's hard to tell if they date from 200 or 2000 years ago.
Solidere is the name of the urban renewal project for the reconstruction of Downtown Beirut or BCD, following the destruction inflicted by the Civil War. Solidere, which was founded in 1994, is an acronym for Societe Libanese pur le Developpement et la Reconstruction du Centre-Ville de Beyrouth - you can see why it needs an acronym.
They seem to be doing a great job. I was really impressed by the elegant new buildings in and around Place d'Etoile.
Lebanon's long varied coastline and its Mediterranean climate make it an ideal place for water sports. Numerous resort complexes, beaches and swimming clubs have aquatic amusements and sports on offer, including water skiing, surfing, underwater fishing, sailing, scuba diving and snorkeling.
Equipment for water skiing and scuba diving can be rented from clubs and shops.
Église des Capuchins
This particular church is a Capuchin one, which means that it is a Catholic Church (like the majority of the churches in the heart of Beirut). It is not a particularly impressive church, although its proximity to the Serail indicates the importance of the church in Lebanese politics. It has some impressive stained glass windows, which are a bit hard to admire because the surrounding buildings can block out some of the direct sunlight that makes them really shine. When I visited the church in November 2010, it was under renovations, so the neo-Gothic church may be more impressive once the works are completed.