Wings of Lebanon is now flying by Boeing 737-700 from Berlin Schönefeld to Beirut twice a week (on Tuesdays and Saturdays).
The scenery surrounding Lebanon’s lively capital is breath-taking. The city is situated on a peninsula on the Golfe de Saint George in the eastern Mediterranean Sea and is framed inland by mountains reaching up to 3,000 metres. The climate is Mediterranean and the best months to visit are April to June, as well as October and November. This port city is now only about four hours away by plane when you travel from Berlin.
A city of contrasts
Beirut is one of the most tolerant and open cities in the Middle East. Like no other city in the region, it represents culture, shopping, extensive nightlife and a wide range of leisure activities. Universities and publishing houses, museums and art galleries, theatres and cinemas, as well as a wide range of concerts, testify to the modern and diverse cultural life in Beirut. The people of Beirut are considered to be communicative and open-minded. They like to go out and enjoy showing strangers around their city.
An estimated two million people live here. That is a good 50 percent of all the Lebanese people living in the country. Beirut is one of the most important cities in the Orient. But not only that: with 18 recognised religious communities, Beirut is a melting pot of religions and cultures. The history of the city goes back 5,000 years. It tells of rise and prosperity, but also of natural disasters and wars. Phoenicians, Romans, Arabs, Byzantines, Druze, the Ottoman Empire, France – they all left their traces. Beirut has been destroyed and rebuilt so often during its eventful history that it has been given the unofficial nickname “the immortal city”. Today, Beirut, which was last influenced by Europe, offers a fascinating insight into past times and foreign worlds, especially for “Orient beginners”.
A metropolis between tradition and modernity
After the end of the Lebanese civil war in 1991, a gigantic construction project to rebuild the city was quickly brought forward, restoring old buildings, but also building new ones. The project is still ongoing today. Modern buildings in the style of Ottoman and French colonial architecture sprang up. The glass architecture of the hotels and apartment buildings dominates the Mediterranean promenade. Among the picturesque Ottoman villas of the last turn of the century, shimmering skyscrapers stretch upwards into the sky. They are surrounded by mosques and churches standing close together. But even the ruins of the less glamorous days still shape the image of the city. Among the most important places in the city are the Martyrs’ Square, the St. George Cathedral (main church of the Archdiocese of Beirut), the Sunni Al-Amin Mosque, consecrated in 2007, and the National Museum. Beirut’s iconic landmark, a clock tower dating from 1934, is located on Star Square.
The Mediterranean coast
The Corniche, which is almost five kilometres long, is the people of Beirut’s favourite place, as well as their pride and joy. The wide seaside promenade along the beach of the Avenue de Paris is both a meeting point and a leisure area. The Pigeon Rocks, two bizarre, huge and picturesque rocks, are in the southern part of the promenade, in the Raouché district. You can admire the 60-metre-high rock formations from a boat or sit back and relax (and look out over the view) in one of the numerous restaurants and cafés in the area.
The hotels on Beirut’s picturesque Mediterranean bay are in line with the sophisticated European way of life. Big stars and bands stay here when they give concerts in the city. You can admire elegant yachts while walking through the marina at Zaitunay Bay. The white sandy beach on the Mediterranean coast is a perfect place to relax.
The numerous restaurants, bars and cafés offer an excellent choice of food. In Lebanon, eating together is a bonding activity. Meze, a selection of different Lebanese starters, is eaten together and enjoyed together with shisha, a water pipe, while stories are told.
Rafiq Hariri International Airport is located on the southern outskirts of Beirut. There are official certified taxis with an airport logo on the side which drive passengers to the city at a fixed price.