Beirut ranks among world’s 10 ‘liveliest’ cities


It was once known as one of the most dangerous cities on earth, with the mere mention of its name conjuring up images of civil war, kidnap and destruction. But Beirut’s revival as one of the world’s most vibrant cities has been confirmed by the travel guidebook company Lonely Planet, who have named it one of the 10 most lively cities on the planet.

The guidebook publishers have placed the capital on a par with Shanghai, Lisbon and Mexico City on a list which will appear in a new “Best in Travel” guidebook to be published next month.

Rather than glossing over Beirut’s difficult past, the travel company cites it as part of what makes the city unique.

The authors pay tribute to the revival seen since the end of the devastating 1975-1990 Civil War that left large parts of the city in ruins. “Beirut really took a beating during the Lebanon’s long civil war,” the guidebook states. “The city underwent a major transformation in the years following the cessation of hostilities, particularly in the downtown area, and it’s now a city of vibrancy and charm.”

Beirut’s reputation as the party capital of the Middle East, combined with the ongoing political uncertainty that plagues Lebanon makes for a heady mix, the book suggests. It cites major events such as the Beirut

International Film Festival and the annual Beirut Marathon as evidence that the city that used to be known as the “Paris of the Middle East” is on its way back to its former glory.

Other cities on the new list range from the sedate Belgian city of Antwerp to the tough Scottish industrial city of Glasgow. The Chinese boom-town of Shanghai, Portuguese capital Lisbon and Polish capital Warsaw all appear, as well as Switzerland’s second city, Zurich, Brazil’s Sao Paulo and Mexico City.

Related: The New York Times recommends Beirut as the first place to visit in 2009


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  18. Sono 30 anni che non vivo nel Libano. Più ci torno più me ne rendo conto delle sue bellezze: mare, montagna, downtown of Beirut, Tripoli (Trablous), lo Chouf (Beiteddine – la foresta naturale del Cedro), il Nord con le sue tante meraviglie.

    Affascinanti le manifestazioni culturali: festival di Baalbek, di Beiteddine…

    A fianco a tutto questo, c’è lo scempio della edilizia selvaggia (cemento ovunque), mancanza di verdi nelle città, mancanza di giardini dove possono giocare i bambini…..

    Soprattutto mancano le biblioteche, non esistono proprio, non c’è nessun posto dove uno può andare a prendere un libro in prestito; è questo veramente una cosa triste, buona parte della gente, non senti il bisogno di informarsi, di leggere, di vedere cosa succede attorno.

    Va bene divertirsi, soprattutto per chi ha vissuto così tanti anni di guerra civile atroce. ma, non dovrebbe essere una scusa per non acculturarsi il minimo possibile.

  19. 19 JAM

    Finally. Now the world can see that we are not a country of violence but one of peace & love. All we want to do is live our life & be left alone.

    Inshallah we can finally get back to living, loving & partying!!!

  20. 20 lost

    Beirut really deserves to be the leading city in the world.

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