12 Instagrammable places in Beirut
Beirut is the largest and capital city of Lebanon. As of 2020, Greater Beirut has a population of 2.4 million, making it the third-largest city in the Levant region and the thirteenth-largest in the Arab world. The city is located on a peninsula in the center of the Mediterranean coast of Lebanon. Beirut has been inhabited for more than 5,000 years, making it one of the oldest cities in the world. The first historical mention of Beirut is found in the Amarna letters from the New Kingdom of Egypt, which date back to the 15th century BC.
Beirut is the seat of the Lebanese government and plays a central role in the Lebanese economy, with many banks and corporations based in the city. Beirut is an important seaport of the country and the region and has a "Beta + World City" rating assigned by the research network "Globalization and World Cities". The Lebanese civil war severely damaged Beirut, and its cultural landscape underwent significant reconstruction.
Where is Beirut on the map
Beirut is located on a peninsula extending west into the Mediterranean Sea. Beirut on the map is surrounded by the Lebanese Mountains and has acquired a triangular shape, largely depending on its location between two hills and on the top of two hills: Al-Ashrafiya and Al-Musaitiba. The governorate of Beirut covers 18 square kilometers (6.9 square miles), and the urban agglomeration covers 67 square kilometers (26 square miles). The coast is quite diverse: rocky beaches, sandy shores, and cliffs are located next to each other.
Beirut has a hot-summer Mediterranean climate (Koppen: Csa), characterized by mild days and nights, as its coastal location allows you to moderate the temperature with the help of the sea. Autumn and spring are warm but short. Winter is mild and rainy. Summers are long, hot, and semi-empty. In the afternoon and evening, the wind prevails from the west (on land, blowing from the Mediterranean Sea); at night, it returns to the coastal zone, blowing from land to sea.
The average annual precipitation is 825 millimeters (32.5 inches), with most of it falling between October and April. Most of the autumn and spring rains fall under heavy downpours for a limited number of days, but they are distributed more evenly in winter over many days. Beirut weather in which the summer receives very little precipitation, if any, is famous for a rather hot climate. Snow is rare, except in the mountainous eastern suburbs, where snowfalls due to the high altitude above sea level. Hail (which can often be heavy) falls several times a year, mostly in winter.
The City of Beirut: A History
After the First World War and the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, Beirut and the rest of Lebanon were placed under the French mandate. Lebanon gained independence in 1943, and Beirut became the capital of Lebanon. The city has remained a regional intellectual capital, becoming a major tourist center and banking haven, especially due to the oil boom in the Persian Gulf.
This era of relative prosperity ended in 1975, when the Lebanese civil war broke out across the country. For most of the war, Beirut's area was divided between the Muslim west and the Christian East. The central part of the city, formerly home to much of the commercial and cultural activity, has become a no-man's land known as the "Green Line". Many residents have fled to other countries. About 60,000 people died in the first two years of the war (1975-1976), and most of the city was devastated. The Syrian siege of Achrafiyah, the main Christian district of Beirut, in 1978 was particularly devastating. Syrian troops relentlessly shelled the eastern quarter of the city, but Christian militias defeated numerous attempts by the Syrian elite to seize the strategic area in a three-month campaign later dubbed the "Hundred Days War".
1. American University of Beirut (AUB)
AUB is the most prestigious university in the city, and should be on your list of Instagrammable places, "what to see in Beirut". The historic buildings are interspersed with botanical gardens, a bird sanctuary, and a private beach on the 61 acres of land that make up the university. The Archaeological museum here is a must-visit and houses a large collection of important ancient artefacts. AUB offers guided tours of their campus, and you can contact them on their website for more information.
Location: Riad El Solh
2. National Museum of Beirut
It is the best museum in the 6000-year-old city. The museum owns about 100,000 ancient and medieval artifacts discovered in and around Lebanon, and is one of the top 10 Instagrammable places to visit in Beirut, the capital of Lebanon. It houses the world's most extensive collection of Phoenician objects, and a marble sarcophagus depicting a Phoenician ship is popular only with the Phoenician bronze statue of Reshep, which dates from the 19th and 18th centuries BC.
Location: Abdallah al-Yafi Avenue
Opening hours: Tuesday - Sunday, from 9 am to 17 pm.
Entrance fee: INR 200
3. Mohammed al-Amin Mosque
Tourist attractions in Beirut are not complete without a tour of the Blue Masjid, completed in 2008, and a fine example of postmodern Middle Eastern architecture. The Zahrafat inside the mosque is complex and attractive, and the artistically designed interiors and inscribed walls are open to the public. Once a small prayer corner, the Sunni place of worship was planned and built over several decades. The central blue dome is 48 meters high, and the minaret tower is 65 meters high, forming the most important feature of the horizon in the center of Lebanon.
Location: Martyrs' Square
Opening hours: Open 24 hours
4. Beirut Souks
Souk means "market" in Arabic. Souks in the city are some of the most fun places in Beirut thanks to the exotic and unique goods they sell. The modern part of the market features the world's leading luxury brands, but tourists should definitely visit Souk al-Ahad, one of Beirut's most interesting places if you are looking for a souvenir. Here you can find all kinds of clothing, jewelry, furniture and lamps at prices that you can bargain with friendly Lebanese sellers, as well as top up your album "Beirut. Photo. Color".
Location: Corniche Al Nahr Emil Lahoud Avenue
Opening hours: Open every Sunday
5. Tourist landmark of resistance
It is a wartime museum and one of the most popular tourist attractions in Beirut. Run by the ruling Hezbollah militia, the museum emphasizes one-sided views of history but is still an important place to visit to gain a true understanding of the place. Located in the village of Mlita, about a three-hour drive from Beirut, the museum houses a bunker used by Hezbollah and an underground tunnel used during the war.
Location: 82 km from Beirut
What to see in Beirut if you want more fun and less history?
The Avenue de Paris, overlooking the sea in this upscale area of Beirut, is a popular walking spot and one of the most pleasant places to visit in Beirut. You can enjoy an evening coffee in the many cafes that stand on this street. The avenue is part of the greater Corniche of Beirut, which runs along the Mediterranean Sea and houses clubs that are the hottest places to visit in Beirut at night. The Pigeon Rock is a series of strange rock formations that jump out of the water off the coast in Rausch. The cliff, which offers Instagrammable views of the cliffs, is a popular place for both locals and tourists, and everyone wants to take a picture here as a souvenir.
7. Sursock Museum
The Sursock Museum, located in Ahrafieh, one of the oldest residential areas in Lebanon, is one of the main art venues in Beirut. Mainly a patron of contemporary art and some contemporary exhibitions, the museum is located in the former residential villa of the Beirut aristocrat Nicolas Sursok. While the various exhibitions are certainly an attraction, the expansive mansions on the street, built in the style of Lebanese classical architecture, are sure to turn your head!
Opening hours: from 10 am to 6 pm every day except Thursday; Thursday - from 12 pm to 9 pm.
8. Roman baths
If you are wondering what to see in Beirut that will betray its Roman roots, then Berit, located in the heart of Beirut, will not disappoint. Ancient Termia, this place was the meeting place of all the Romans in the city and was divided into four sections. One of these sections is currently a venue for art concerts and performances, while the other is a Mediterranean garden and one of the main tourist spots in Beirut.
Location: Banks and Capuchin Street
Opening hours: Open 24 hours
9. Martyrs' Square
To reflect Lebanon's rocky political history, this Martyrs' Square stands as an iconic landmark. Currently, it is one of the famous places where you can watch civil protests and rallies. It is an iconic landmark located in the center of Beirut. Formed and named in 1931, this place was a symbol of homage to the martyrs who executed the Ottoman rule.
Location: Beirut, Lebanon
Opening hours: 24 hours
10. Pigeon Rocks, Raouche
This natural wonder is located in the sea near the historic Raouche, the Pigeon Rocks are considered one of the pearls of Lebanon. Rocks surround this region, and there is evidence of human existence. Walking through the "Corniche Rausch", you can enjoy an Instagrammable view of the whole spectacle.
Location: Rauch, Beirut, Lebanon
Bonus: 2 Instagrammable cities near Beirut.
11. Byblos City
Just an hour's drive from the city, Byblos is one of the Instagrammable places to visit near Beirut if you are a lover of history, archeology, and beautiful Beirut photos on Instagram. The city is one of the oldest Phoenician cities and has been continuously inhabited since 5000 BC. The National Obelisk Museum was built 3200-3600 years ago and is a surreal event to visit. The Crusader Fort and the Sultan Abdul Majid Mosque are also historical monuments and worth visiting.
Location: 37 km from Beirut
12. Town of Baalbek
In the Bekaa Valley, the town of Baalbek, about two and a half hours from Beirut, is best known for the Roman temple of Bacchus, one of the last surviving Roman buildings in the world. The temple was built in memory of the Roman god of wine and had more than 180,000 years of history. The courtyard in front of the temple currently hosts the Baalbek International Festival, an annual celebration of history and architecture and one of the best Instagrammable places in Beirut if you are a fan of history and architecture.
Location: 85 km from Beirut
Entrance ticket: Admission is free
Aytan lives in Milan, Italy for 3 years now and has always been passionate about traveling and discovering new beautiful places all over the world. As of 2020, she has been to 10 countries and numerous cities which she lost the number of but the majority of them are definitely located in beautiful Italy. She loves digital marketing, art, music, and tries to find beauty in the smallest moments of our life. Her recent interest in spiritual growth has taught her one simple truth: "The most beautiful things in life are abstract." So, surely we can add travel to the list of these most beautiful things!