The Lebanon, Lubnan in Arabic, is a relatively small country, covering an area of only 4036 square miles. Extending from north to south along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean, the country has borders with Syria in the north and east and with Israel in the south. The capital, Beirut, is located approx. in the middle on the Mediterranean coast. Since the last census took place as long ago as 1932, current population figures are only an estimate: approx. 3.8 mill for the entire Lebanon and 1.8 to 2 mill for Beirut.
Small the country may be, but it features a great variety of landscapes. From the beaches along the sea to the snow covered mountain ranges of Mount Lebanon with the fertile Bequaa valley in between. It's however the only Asian/African country which lacks a desert. On Mount Lebanon grow the only remaining Cedar groves, a cedar tree being the symbol of the country. Lebanon is the oldest existing name for a country; It's called this for 4000 years. Byblos to the north of Beirut is the oldest continually inhabited city in the world.
Beirut is divided into several districts each one being inhabited mainly by members of one of the numerous religions and sects which are present in the country, the differences between Christians and Muslims being the cause of the 16 year long civil war which tore the country apart breaking out in 1975.
Beirut has recovered its position as one of the most important centers for finance, culture, fashion and entertainment in the region and the tourist industry is growing fast, as expressed by the slogan on huge billboards which greet the visitor when leaving the airport: The World is Beirut-ing again!