There are so many fascinating facts about Lebanon. This is a country that is steeped in history and culture, yet due to political instability in recent years, not many people have had the chance to visit and learn about this wonderful country. But, now is your chance! Lets deep dive into the 30 most fascinating facts about Lebanon…
- Fascinating Facts About Lebanon
- 1. One of the World’s Oldest Cities Is in Lebanon
- 2. Lebanon Has a High Literacy Rate
- 3. Lebanon Has Always Welcomed Refugees
- 4. Lebanese Food Is Extremely Popular
- 5. There Are Three Main Languages in Lebanon
- 6. Lebanon Is the Home Country of Many Literary Artists
- 7. Lebanese People Are Extremely Welcoming and Friendly
- 8. Lebanon Has Relevance in Religious Scripts
- 9. Lebanon Has High Inflation Rates
- 10. There Are Over 18 Religious Groups in Lebanon
- 11. Lebanon Is the Only Country in the Middle East With No Desert
- 12. Lebanon Is One of the Smallest Countries in Asia
- 13. Beirut Is Known for Its Nightlife
- 14. The Oldest Law School in the World Is in Lebanon
- 15. Lebanon Has Faced a Civil War
- 16. Qurnat As-Sawda Is the Highest Peak in Lebanon
- 17. Lebanon Is Known for Its Soap-Making Industries
- 18. Basketball Is the National Sport of Lebanon
- 19. Lebanon Has One of the Highest Numbers of Public Holidays!
- 20. Lebanon Is Known as “God’s Country on Earth”
- 21. There Are More than 50 Banks in Lebanon!
- 22. Lebanese People Love to Smoke
- 23. Don’t Say No if You’re in the House of a Lebanese Person!
- 24. Lebanon Has Five UNESCO World Heritage Sites
- 25. Most Lebanese People Don’t Live in Lebanon
- 26. Lebanon Has Over Twenty Rivers
- 27. Lebanon Has a Rich History of Wine-Making
- 28. Lebanon Has Its Own Unique Coffee – Ahweh!
- 29. Music and Dance Are Popular in Lebanon
- 30. Lebanon was Once Known as the “Switzerland of the Middle East”
Fascinating Facts About Lebanon
If you ask me, Lebanon is a treasure box in the Middle East. There’s so much to know about this country, due to its historical significance, diverse culture, delicious food, and welcoming people.
Hence, it’s hard to fit everything in these 30 facts about Lebanon, but I’m sure that this information will help you know more about this tremendous country.
So, without any further ado, let’s get into it.
These facts about Lebanon cover everything, right from its history to its economy.
1. One of the World’s Oldest Cities Is in Lebanon
If you’re a fan of history, these historical facts about Lebanon will surely excite you!
One of the oldest inhabited cities in the world, Byblos, is located in Lebanon. Archaeologists have found out that the city is 8,000 years old!
During its early years, Byblos was an important centre for maritime trade. Hence, you’ll find many ruins of fortifications, temples, and necropolis here.
2. Lebanon Has a High Literacy Rate
Here is one of my favourite facts about Lebanon.
The Lebanese people are one of the most educated ones in the world. The literacy rate of adults (over 15 years of age) was around 95.30% in 2019.
3. Lebanon Has Always Welcomed Refugees
These facts about Lebanon will fill you with respect for the country.
Despite being a small country, Lebanon has welcomed many refugees to safeguard them against wars and political instability.
During the Syrian refugee crisis of 2011, Lebanon opened its borders to Syrian refugees and welcomed them. Hence, there are over 1.5 million Syrians residing in Lebanon.
Lebanon has also taken in Palestinian refugees after the Israel-Palestine conflict.
4. Lebanese Food Is Extremely Popular
I cannot discuss these facts about Lebanon, without talking about its mouth-watering cuisine! After all, Lebanese restaurants are present almost everywhere in the world.
Lebanese cuisine is known for its bread, such as the Pita bread. I love how they also use the signature Mediterranean spices and olive oil to make their dishes more flavourful.
If you wish to try Lebanese cuisine, I highly recommend tasting Kibbeh (a traditional lamb dish), Falafel (a vegetarian dish), and Tabbouleh (a type of salad).
5. There Are Three Main Languages in Lebanon
Here’s one of the facts about Lebanon that you probably didn’t know!
Lebanon is a multilingual country, and there are three main languages here – Arabic, French, and English.
Most people in Lebanon speak Arabic, followed by French (40%–45%), and English (30%).
6. Lebanon Is the Home Country of Many Literary Artists
Being a reader and writer, these facts about Lebanon are one of my favourites.
Lebanon has always been a place of intellectualism, art, and knowledge. So, it’s not surprising that the country is home to many famous poets and writers.
Khalil Gibran, one of the world-renowned poets and philosophers, belongs to Lebanon. He’s well-known for his literary works such as “The Prophet” and “The Madman”.
7. Lebanese People Are Extremely Welcoming and Friendly
These facts about Lebanon will definitely make you want to visit the country!
Just like the beauty of Lebanon’s landscape, the Lebanese people are also equally beautiful and kind-hearted. The virtues of generosity and kindness are inculcated in the people by birth.
Therefore, these values are reflected in the welcoming and friendly nature of the Lebanese people. Most Lebanese people love to share meals, conversations and are ready to help a stranger.
8. Lebanon Has Relevance in Religious Scripts
Did you know that Lebanon is one of the few countries to be mentioned in the holy books?
For instance, Lebanon is mentioned in the Bible (mainly in The Old Testament) over 70 times. The holy book describes it as a beautiful place, full of Cedar trees.
Lebanon is also mentioned in the Quran as Lubnan. Even in the Quran, it is praised for its natural beauty.
9. Lebanon Has High Inflation Rates
These facts about Lebanon are related to its economy.
After the Covid-19 pandemic, the Beirut port explosion in 2020, and the Russia-Ukraine war, the country’s central bank decided to print more notes. As you can guess, this led to a decrease in the currency’s value and a sudden increase in inflation.
According to a World Bank report, Lebanon has the highest food price inflation rates (around 352 per cent), in the world.
10. There Are Over 18 Religious Groups in Lebanon
Lebanon is a melting pot of various ethnicities and 18 religious groups.
There are three main Muslim religious groups – Sunni, Shia, and Druze.
Moreover, you’ll find many Christian groups too, such as Maronite, Greek Orthodox, Armenian, Syriac, Roman, Evangelical, etc. There’s a Jewish community in Lebanon as well.
The largest religious group is Muslims (67.8%), followed by Christians (32.4%).
11. Lebanon Is the Only Country in the Middle East With No Desert
Most countries in the middle east such as Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, Palestine, etc. are covered in deserts. However, you cannot say the same for Lebanon, as it is the only country in the middle east with no desert.
12. Lebanon Is One of the Smallest Countries in Asia
Asia has many small countries, and Lebanon is one of them.
If you go by the land area, Lebanon ranks 45 in a list of 51 Asian countries. It has an area of 10,452 square kilometres.
13. Beirut Is Known for Its Nightlife
These are some of the facts about Lebanon and its capital, Beirut.
Right after World War II, Beirut was known as the “Paris of the Middle East”. It is because the country had a lot of French influence and intellectualism. Its vibrant city life was also one of the reasons.
However, after the Lebanese Civil War, the situation changed quite significantly. Yet, in the current years, Beirut has been rebuilt again, and it is also known for its nightlife. It was also ranked as the third-best nightlife city in the world.
Beirut has many well-known nightclubs, rooftop bars, and glamorous Lebanese restaurants that contribute to its fascinating nightlife.
14. The Oldest Law School in the World Is in Lebanon
Lebanon has the oldest law school, The Law School of Berytus, located in Berytus (or present-day Beirut). A Roman Emperor, named Septimius Severus, started law school in 200 AD.
This law school was an important centre for the study of Roman Law during the classical era. Hence, it attracted many young and rich Roman citizens.
15. Lebanon Has Faced a Civil War
One of the turning points in Lebanon’s history is the Lebanese Civil War. The war lasted for over 15 years (between 1975 and 1990), and was due to multiple reasons.
The primary reason for the Lebanese Civil War was the difference of opinion between the Lebanese Muslims and the other citizens.
The Lebanese Muslims wanted Lebanon to be a part of the United Arab Republic (a political union of Egypt and Syria). But, other Lebanese groups wanted Lebanon to remain an independent country.
Keep in mind that this is an oversimplification of the causes of the Lebanese Civil War. There were many other underlying factors, such as socioeconomic disparities, an influx of Palestinian refugees, and political instability that led to the Civil War.
16. Qurnat As-Sawda Is the Highest Peak in Lebanon
Lebanon’s landscape consists of mountain ranges like the Mount Lebanon Range and the Anti-Lebanon Mountains.
There are many tall mountains in these ranges. The highest peak is the Qurnat As-Sawda in the Mount Lebanon Range. It is 3,088 metres or 10,131 feet above sea level.
17. Lebanon Is Known for Its Soap-Making Industries
If you love everything beauty and wellness-related, then these facts about Lebanon are for you.
Lebanon has a major soap-making industry and has also contributed a lot to its economy. Traditional Lebanese soaps, also known as saboun baladi, are made up of olive oil, water, and an alkaline component. Then, they’re boiled and moulded into the desired shapes.
Typically, you’ll find many old soap-making factories in Tripoli and Saida.
18. Basketball Is the National Sport of Lebanon
Here’s one of the fun facts about Lebanon sports. Since the 1920s, the people of Lebanon have played basketball.
The country has its own basketball team, known as Lebanon’s men’s national basketball team. The Lebanese Basketball Federation represents the team and administers it.
Lebanon’s basketball team has been one of the top teams, as it has been the finishing runners-up in the FIBA Asia Cup four times (2001, 2005, 2007 and 2022).
19. Lebanon Has One of the Highest Numbers of Public Holidays!
These facts about Lebanon will definitely make you want to be a student or an employee in Lebanon.
Lebanon has around 19 public holidays. When you compare it to other countries like the US and the UK, you’ll find that they only have 9 and 11 public holidays, respectively.
Some of the public holidays include Christian festivals, like Good Friday, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day. They also have their own independence day on November 22, which is also a nationwide holiday.
Most Islamic festivals like Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha are also considered public holidays.
20. Lebanon Is Known as “God’s Country on Earth”
Over the years, Lebanon has received several titles. One of the most popular ones is the “God’s Country on Earth” title.
When it comes to the natural landscapes, Lebanon is full of Cedar trees.
The Lebanese people tend to believe that God planted these trees with his own hands. Hence, they’re also known as “The Cedars of God”. Due to these reasons, the people also call Lebanon “God’s Country on Earth”.
21. There Are More than 50 Banks in Lebanon!
Before the Lebanese Civil War, banking was an integral part of Lebanon’s economy. Due to this reason, you’ll find that there are between 60 to 92 banks in Lebanon.
The central bank of Lebanon is Banque du Liban (BDL), which handles the other financial institutions. You’ll also find other banks such as Bank Audi, Byblos Bank, and Bank of Beirut.
Lebanon also has international banks such as Citi Bank, Banca di Roma, National Bank of Kuwait, and Arab Bank.
There’s also an organisation, the Association of Banks in Lebanon, responsible for representing the entire banking sector of Lebanon. It was founded in 1959.
22. Lebanese People Love to Smoke
Just like the French people, Lebanese people also love smoking. In fact, they have the highest rate of smoking in the entire middle east, and the sixth highest in the world.
As per research conducted, an average Lebanese smoker smoked 1,955 cigarettes! Also, around 42.60% of the total Lebanese population are active smokers.
23. Don’t Say No if You’re in the House of a Lebanese Person!
The Lebanese people have their own quirks, and these facts about Lebanon will cover those!
According to customs, it is rude to say no to anything that a person offers in Lebanon if you’re a guest at their place. So, even if you’re full and don’t want to eat more, you still shouldn’t refuse them.
It is because Lebanese people are hospitable and generous. Hence, they will always offer you something to eat, if you’re a guest at their place. If you refuse them, they might consider you impolite.
24. Lebanon Has Five UNESCO World Heritage Sites
Lebanon has many beautiful places to offer, be it historical sites or natural locations. Therefore, despite being one of the smallest countries in Asia, it has five UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
These sites are Anjar, Baalbek, Byblos, Ouadi Qadisha And The Forest Of The Cedars Of God, and Tyre.
Aanjar is known for the ruins of the Umayyad, from the 8th Century. Similarly, both Baalbek, Tyre, and Byblos are recognized as important cultural sites with a lot of history.
Also, Ouadi Qadisha is known for its early Christian monastic settlements. Within the valley, you’ll find many beautiful and tiny monasteries and cedar forests.
25. Most Lebanese People Don’t Live in Lebanon
These facts about Lebanon are quite astonishing!
Did you know that more than 4 million Lebanese have emigrated to other countries? Also, as of 2020, there were less than 4 million Lebanese people residing in Lebanon.
One of the major reasons for this diaspora is the Lebanese Civil War, which lasted for over 15 years.
26. Lebanon Has Over Twenty Rivers
Lebanon has been blessed with over 20 rivers. However, out of these, 22 rivers cannot be navigated.
The longest river in Lebanon is the Litani River as it starts from the Beqaa Valley, and is more than 140 kilometres in length.
There are several other small rivers, like Nahr Ibrahim (32 kilometres), Hasbani River (65 kilometres), and Nahr El-Kalb (31 kilometres).
27. Lebanon Has a Rich History of Wine-Making
Wine enthusiasts are going to love these facts about Lebanon.
If you believe that wine-making is only limited to France and Italy, you might be slightly mistaken.
Lebanon is one of the oldest countries to be involved in the art of wine-making. It has a wine-making past of almost 7,000 years!
The country has many old wineries, like the Château Ksara and Château Musar. Both these wineries are located in Bekaa Valley.
Also, Château Ksara was founded in 1857, and made the first-ever dry wine in Lebanon!
28. Lebanon Has Its Own Unique Coffee – Ahweh!
Here’s one of the facts about Lebanon for all the coffee aficionados.
If you ever visit Lebanon, you should try Lebanese coffee, also known as Ahweh. Its preparation is also pretty unique, as the locals use a small long-handled pot, known as “rakweh” for it.
The coffee beans are first roasted, and sometimes, cardamom is also added to it for extra flavour. The prepared coffee is also served in a different way, as handleless cups or finjans are used. As per the traditions, Ahweh is served with a glass of water and sweets.
29. Music and Dance Are Popular in Lebanon
If you love everything art-related, then these facts about Lebanon are for you. Most forms of art, including music and dance are quite famous in Lebanon.
When it comes to music, there are several Lebanese instruments used for folk music. Some of the popular instruments include Oud, Tablah, Mijwiz, and Qanun. Lebanese people are also quite fond of rock and heavy metal music, as they became the favourites during the Lebanese Civil War.
Along with humming to the tunes, Lebanese people also enjoy dancing! They’ve their own traditional dances, like Dabkeh (stomping of the feet), wherein footwork is important. Dabkeh is performed in various ceremonies, especially weddings.
30. Lebanon was Once Known as the “Switzerland of the Middle East”
Did you know that once upon a time Lebanon was known as the “Switzerland of the Middle East”? Most of us often get mistaken and think that it’s because of its picturesque mountains. However, it’s not the case.
Before the Lebanese Civil War, Lebanon was a banking and finance hub and had a stable economy. Additionally, the country was also culturally diverse and politically stable. Due to these reasons, Lebanon was titled as the “Switzerland of the Middle East”.
Note that it isn’t called the same anymore, because of the collapsing economy, increasing inflation, and political instability.
Further Reading – Facts About Lebanon
I hope reading these facts about Lebanon was almost as enriching as the country itself! After all, it is one of the oldest countries in the world and has blessed us with its beautiful landscapes, people, and food.
Just like Lebanon, there are other countries that are worth knowing. So, you can get to read more about them through some of my other posts like these: