Careful with electricity if you rent a house/apart
Favorite thing: I learned to appreciate the real value of flashlights and candles.
You might not feel it if you stay in a 5 stars hotel, but Lebanon is passing an electricity crisis. State supplies electricity to neighborhoods in turns for between 12 to 16 hours a day and most buildings or areas have their own generator. This is why I recommend you ask about this aspect before renting a house or an apartment. It can be awful during summer with no AC.
It happens that when you switch on several electronic devices at the same time, the electricity cuts. The golden rule is to switch on only one thing at a time.
The above is especially valid for Dahieh (the Southern suburb).
Be informed! Local media
Favorite thing: Time Out Beirut
After the July war, tourists avoided Lebanon because of the unstable political and social situation. Though sometimes accurate (just sometimes) in their reports, Western media don't always do justice to this country. This is why I warmly advise you to stay updated by reading local publications such as Naharnet or DailyStar, to name just a few.
Dollars are accepted everywhere
Favorite thing: The Lebanese local currency is the LIRA however, you won't need to change currency if you already have US dollars because they are accepted everywhere, even if you have any bill (restaurant, hotel, shops etc.) you get it in both lebanese currency and the USD equivalent. The exchange rate is fixed 1 USD = 1500 Lebanese Liras
Also ATMs are available everywhere and Credit Cards are accepted almost everywhere.
Favorite thing: Modern Downtown Beirut ws built on the on the site of the Roman city. One advanatage of all the reconstruction work in the area has been the uncovering of important Roman ruins, such as the baths and columns from the grand colonnade.
- Arts and Culture
- Historical Travel
On arrival visa
Favorite thing: Citizens of many countries can get their visa on arrival at Beirut International Airport.
Nationals of the following countries may apply for their visa on arrival : EU-15, GCC, Andorra, Australia, Canada, Czech Republic, Japan, Jordan, Norway, Romania, Switzerland, Turkey.
The price of the tourist visa is US$ 35.
Note also that if you are staying less than 48 hours you can also get a transit visa for free (go directly to the transit visa counter).
the oldest community in lebanon
Favorite thing: The Druze comprise another sect which is not widely regarded as being "truly" Islam by many Muslims. this is a religio-philosophical movement and a spirutual philosophie of life
the Druze hold other influential people - regardless of their religion - in great esteem, as the advocates of justice and belief in one god. These include the Egyptian Akhenaton, the Greek philosophers Socrates, Plato and Aristotle, and Alexander the Great.
This group diverged in the eleventh century . They were declared to be heretics when the eleventh century leader al Darazi declared that the Hakim in the name of god (996-1021) was actually divine.
the Druze have always kept their doctrine and ritual secret to avoid persecution . Although an important principle for them is to always tell the truth to each other, . Evidently their religion is rather complex, and involves a combination of neo-Platonic thought
they reject much of Islamic legal practice. The Druze scripture is called the Rasa'il al-hikmah (Epistles of Wisdom), most of which was created by Hamzah's successor, Baha al-Din al-Muqtana
They argue that individuals who believe that God will forgive them if they fast and pray, will commit transgressions in the expectation of being forgiven - and then repeat their sins. The Druze thus eliminated all elements of ritual and ceremony; there is no fixed daily liturgy, no defined holy days, and no pilgrimage obligations. The Druze perform their spiritual reckoning with God at all times, and consequently need no special days of fasting or atonement.
Fondest memory: This is a religious community generally considered to be Muslim but whose practices contain elements of Christianity and paganism.
The Druze consider their faith to be a new interpretation of the three monotheistic religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam. For them, the traditional story of the Creation is a parable, which describes Adam not as the first human being, but as the first person to believe in one god. Since then, the idea of monotheism has been disseminated by "emissaries" or prophets, guided by "mentors" who embody the spirit of monotheism. The mentors and prophets come from all three religions, and include Jethro and Moses, John the Baptist and Jesus of Nazareth, and Salman the Persian
The religion was brought to Lebanon around the eleventh century by Darazi (hence the name Druze), a disciple of Al-Hakim, a Fatimid caliph from Egypt who considered himself the final incarnation of God.
The Druze religion is secret and closed to converts.it is the most missunderstood and understudies in the whole world
- Arts and Culture
- Religious Travel
- Study Abroad
valid passport and a Lebanese visa
Favorite thing: Visitors to Lebanon must have a valid passport and a Lebanese visa. Visas are delivered by Lebanese diplomatic missions abroad. Tourists from the US and many Arab and European countries can obtain visas at the airport or any Lebanese border upon arrival.
For more information, please vsit:www.general-security.gov.lb
Valet and Delivery
Favorite thing: In Beirut, almost everywhere you go there is a valet waiting to park your car. I LOVED IT! Even at small simple restaurants, the valet was there. Plus almost every kind of imaginable thing from takeout, groceries to dry cleaning can be delivered.... even fast food far beyond pizza and chinese! The other amazingly convenient thing is the quickstop convenience stores (think of a neighborhood 7-11), a couple on the Corniche come to mind, have someone out front to take your "order" for what you need and they bring it to the car. You don't even have to Park!
They make drive thrus seem like a thing of the past!
Lebanese Culture & History at Chez Andre
Favorite thing: If you want to have an experience of the old Beirut...of a place that still holds the memories and the smiles and the faces of Beirut's 60's and 70's till this day..go and visit Chez Andre in Hamra.
I was wondering whether to place this tip under the Restaurant tip/Nightlife tip..but I decided that this was a place that anyone with a little curiosity as to what a bar looked like 20-30 years ago should go and visit Chez Andre.
Try out the soujok and maqaniq or have a drink, listen to Fairuz and talk to the owner over the counter..or simply look around at the pictures hung up on the wall of this tiny place..I believe that you will enjoy the experience..i know i did ;-)
Unfortunately, this place has been relocated. Rumour has it, that the owner of Chez Andre had a disagreement with the owner of the building in which this place is in...It is now located in a building on the main Hamra Street, right above Starbucks. I do not know if it still holds the charm of the old place..but it seems to be attracting a good crowd.
Get Any Phone Number
Favorite thing: If you do not have internet access, or which to obtain any phone number (restaurant, company, gym, etc.), all you have to do is dial 1515 from any phone (landline or mobile). You will then be prompted to click 1, 2, 3 to be redirected to an operator that speaks (Arabic, English or French). At that point, you can ask the operator what you wish to know.
Most of the times, it only requires them a minute to come out with the number. If it is a small place, then sometimes you'd have to mention the location (ex: in Hamra or Verdun) and will most probably help you out with this information.
Legs in Love
Favorite thing: Those feet that walked thousands miles together, they stop, time to time, to take a rest, hugging...and loving, because they can't live far from each other... hands in this picture are busy to in holding cappuccino mug's and eyes are busy in glazing, eh... and legs they hug, feet they touch, under the table... we can't stay without a physical touch, our feet they say: there is no second no matter how they look like up there those two...without being in touch, so people, don't think those two here they leave each other, because here we are under the table, the prove... living prove!
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
Lebanon's Phone Directory
Favorite thing: This is for everyone out there that's looking for a phone number or website about a company, restaurant, shop or place in Beirut and Lebanon..It is Lebanon's yellow pages.
If you have internet access, this will be the place to find all the contact information that you might need. If you prefer to use the phone, then from any land line dial 1515 and you will be connected to OGERO - the local phone company. You will have to dial (1 arabic, 2 english, 3 french) then you will have to dial (2 to reach the phone directory services). Then simply ask them about the information you desire.
English site: http://www.yellowpages.com.lb/
French site: http://www.pagesjaunes.com.lb/
Vin du Liban
Favorite thing: Lebanon's wine making has a history that goes back thousands of years. Whereas in a lot of restaraunts you will find wine lists very heavy on the French side, it is definitely worth checking out the local productions. Chateau Musar, Chateau Kefraya, and Chateau Ksara are the more prevalent wineries you will find available. If you are a connoisseur, many of the wines are letting sit for several years. I had a 1990 Chateau Musar in Las Vegas once that was extremely good.
The Syrian Connection
Favorite thing: Many people believe that there is some Syrian connection with the Hariri assassination. That combined with several things the Syrian government did after asked to leave the country didn't exactly leave things in the best of relations. It might be wise not to advertise your going to Syria if you plan to. Depending on whom you talk to, it might arouse passions.
When I arrived in Beirut, a soldier glancing at my passport stopped and stared at my Syrian visa for a while. He returned my passport without speaking or looking at me.
Favorite thing: On Valentine's Day, 2005, Prime Minister Rafik Hariri was assassinated by a massive bomb. His body lies entombed next to the large mosque he constructed. It is easy to spot where he lies. Just look for the very large white tent close to Martyr's Square.
This of course is a very sensitive issue that aroused the passions of the Lebanese people enough to push for the removal of all Syrian troops who had been stationed there for 30 years. Pictures of Hariri are everywhere...and there are a few counters that mark the number of days since the bombing.
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