Once called the Paris of the Middle East this city is a unique blend of Parisian elegance and old Arabic architecture. The windows of skyscrapers reflects Ottoman minarets of mosques, of which every morning the muezzins are calling for prayer. LOT Polish Airlines now offers direct flights to Beirut.
A bit of history
Right from the beginning of its existence, Beirut was a center of culture and trade. This tradition survived till today, so if you think about shopping you are in the right place. Commercial center of Bangkok is in Hamra district . Hundreds of shops, designer boutiques, malls and more or less luxurious hotels define the rhythm of this part of town. You will also find here modern version of traditional souks, where it is possible to buy almost anything you want.
What to see and do in Beirut
It is worth to start Beirut sightseeing with an impressive campus of American University. It is located right on the shore of the Mediterranean Sea. You will find here plenty of green plants, students from all over the world and ... fashion show. To enter the campus you need to be introduced by a student or employee (except museum). Addition advantage is quite a lot of pubs where you can grab a bite and drink. Old Town of Beirut is the central point of the city. Unfortunately it is old only because of the history. After the civil war not much of it left. Quarter was rebuilt in the 90s, referring to the new project plans from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Back then Beirut experienced the greatest prosperity, boasting the term "Paris of the Middle East". Today it is hard to guess that this is the oldest part of town, which hides remains of four thousand years old buildings. During the day there are almost only tourists, but this place wakes up in the evenings, when elegant couples occupy tables in just as elegant restaurants.
Modern center of Beirut is quite interesting because of its thoughtful architecture. Buildings have a unified sandy-amber color, the streets are clean, there is no shortage of green -trees, flowerbeds. Also a central location on the square Najhem is characteristic because of the Middle Eastern city clock tower.
Additionally on the main streets there are a lot of luxurious and expensive boutiques. In the evenings city life moves to the seaside boulevard. This place gets really crowded and alive at this time of the day. On the boulevard you can walk down the stairs a few meters below the sea itself. In summer, during the day, you get to Pigeon Rock by the boat and swim in a natural rocky arch. Quite particular for Beirut is that at very small distances there are located temples of different religions- mosques, churches, synagogues. At the same time in almost every corner there are international banks and companies. You can feel in this town big money, the best perfume and luxury.
Food and coffee
Beirut welcomed with open arms international food, on the assumption that modern metropolis have to offer everything for its residents. At the same time, however, it remained faithful to the traditional dishes and local food. Another story here is famous coffee. The locals can drink a few dozen small cups per day, which leads to the assumption that in their veins there is more caffeine than blood.
Beirut Airport [BEY]
Getting to Beirut now became easier thanks to LOT Polish Airlines. Cheap air tickets to Beirut International Airport make the travel more convenient and faster for every passenger.
Beirut airport is located only seven kilometers from the city. It is the only civilian airport in Lebanon. Annually serves more than 4 million passengers. According to "Skytrax magazine" airport in Beirut is the second best airport in the Middle East, right after the Dubai International Airport. The airport is used mainly by international carriers, but not only. Many large cities around the world is connected by air with the capital of Lebanon.
The airport was opened in 1954.
During the civil war it was destroyed and lost most of its carriers. After the war ended, the ten-year renewal program began. The first phase included construction of airfield was completed in 1997.The second stage was reconstruction and development of terminals and airport infrastructure. After putting all the upgrades, in 2005 the port reached the possibility of serving more than 6 million passengers a year.
How to move there
The airport has one four-levels passenger terminal, which consists of East and West wing. Each wing has its own gates, café, restaurant and shops. Passengers can enjoy their time in restaurant, cafes, shops. There are also ATMs, post office and chapel, so everyone can effectively wait for their plane. You can use the Internet lounges for VIPs. The Internet is available for 30 minutes. It is possible to buy more access in duty free zone and in 15 kiosk in the departure hall. There are also facilities for disabled people and for mothers with children. In a duty free zone you can buy luxury clothes, cosmetics, electronics, food and Cuban cigars.
On the zero level there is arrival area. After going through the passport control, arriving passengers can access the duty-free zone. The second level is for departure. There is security and tickets checkpoint and a primary duty- free area. On the third level there are all private airline lounges, restaurant and prayer room. The fourth level is closed for the passengers and it holds mostly airport administration.
How to get there
Beirut Airport is relatively close to the city center, so getting there is not very complicated. On the airport there are several car rental companies. They have wide range of cars in different size, class and price. At the airport, next to the arrivals hall there are available taxis. Those marked with the airports logo are managed by the airport authorities and have established a standard rates. You can use other taxi companies, but prices vary and are negotiable. At the airport there is also a three-storey parking for 2350 cars. Pricing is available on the airport website. If you do not have much time to spend in Beirut, there are also hotels located near the airport. They can be easily reached by a taxi.
In the past the capital city of Lebanon was called the Paris of Middle East. With passing time and turbulent, diverse history it has been changed and destroyed. But now nothing seems to stop fast grow and development of this amazing city. Newly rebuilt, neat hotels and architecture seem to prove it. People again think Beirut is the Paris of this region, especially when it comes to prices. Fortunately there is a vast range of accommodation possibilities. In Beirut you will find a lot of expensive, high quality hotels. On the other hand there are also a lot of cheap places for backpackers.
Achrafieh is one of the oldest part of the city on the eastern part of Beirut along the seashore. It is known from its narrow and winding streets. This district is both commercial and residential. Central location in this neighborhood is Sassine Square, which is political and social focus point. Though this is the older part of town, after civil war not much of it left. Now it is known from large apartments and many office buildings. Achrafieh is a little bit more expensive than rest of the districts. There are plenty of luxury hotels there, which offer high quality service and make your stay very comfortable.
Beirut Downtown zone
Beirut Downtown is a perfect example of its fast grow and ability to recover after difficult time. Here beautiful renovated colonial buildings stand right next to modern skyscrapers. This gives you an insight to both the past and the future of Beirut. The atmosphere in this area is very vibrant, thanks to a lot of cafes and restaurants. Also it is convenient as a place to sleep. Everyone should find here something for themselves, whether it is high-end hotel or regular guesthouse or hostel. This location is also very good if you want to see most of the city attractions.
A great location for people who want to stay in a lively place with exciting nightlife is Monot Street. It is in a close neighborhood to Achrafieh, but offers very different atmosphere. Gemmayze is another close district with a little bit more relaxing and artistic feel. You can spend days here surrounded by many restaurants, bar, cafes and French architecture. This location is again very diverse in accommodation offer. There are different kind of hotels, guesthouses and hostels with different architecture, prices and standard. A great bonus is an interesting location.
If you want to have an amazing view of the Mediterranean you should choose Ras Beirut area.
This neighborhood is a fine example of how different religions can coexist next to each other. What is characteristic here is the luxury and elegant. It is perfect for romantic walks along the shore and family meetings. No matter which location you choose, you have to be prepared that Beirut hotels are not the cheapest ones. The city itself is called the Paris of Middle East and you can see, that this is not only about architecture and atmosphere. Fortunately Beirut is worth it and you will definitely be glad, that you could spend the time there.
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