Lebanon

The Middle East has interested me for some time. Unfortunately, travel to some countries in the region would be… unwise…

I’ve worked with a few Lebanese-Australians in various jobs and each of them, after hearing my stories of travel in Southeast Asia, said that Lebanon would be my cup of tea.

And so I went.

Because of its location between Europe and the Arabian peninsula, Lebanon is a country with an ancient and turbulent history. It shows a very strong influence from both cultures. I don’t think there are too many cities besides Beirut where you could be enjoying a beer at a rooftop bar while the mosque down the street broadcasts the call to evening prayer.

The people are amazingly friendly and accommodating, exhibiting that famous Mediterranean hospitality.

Lebanon is a country which was until recently at war, and the presence of military patrols and checkpoints as well as bullet-scarred buildings were reminders of the country’s strife in the not-too-distant past. Even now there are tensions at the southern border with Israel, and the presence of Daesh (ISIS) in neighbouring Syria is a constant worry.

I stayed mainly in Beirut but had a couple of days in Baalbek in the east of Lebanon where there are some of the best preserved ancient Roman ruins in the world. Unfortunately I didn’t get to see much else of this beautiful country due to becoming ill for about a week. I’m determined to make it back sometime soon to explore more.

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Beirut building damaged by gunfire.

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Beirut building damaged by gunfire.

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French colonial building in Beirut

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French colonial building in Beirut

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French colonial building in Beirut

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Pigeon Rocks, Beirut

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The Mediterranean coast

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Mohammad Al-Amin Mosque, Beirut

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Interior of Mohammad Al-Amin Mosque

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New residential towers in downtown Beirut

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Roman ruins, Baalbek

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The temple of Bacchus in Baalbek

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Beta Valley view from the Roman ruins in Baalbek

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The temple of Bacchus in Baalbek

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Mosque in Baalbek

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What’s left of the Holiday Inn in downtown Beirut. Used as a sniper position during the Lebanese Civil War. The building has been condemned and has been empty for decades.

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French colonial building in Beirut

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Beirut pizza shop in a building damaged by the war.

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A street in Hazmiyeh, a neighbourhood in southern Beirut

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A street in Hazmiyeh, a neighbourhood in southern Beirut

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A street in Hazmiyeh, a neighbourhood in southern Beirut

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A street in Hazmiyeh, a neighbourhood in southern Beirut

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New residential tower in downtown Beirut

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