30 Important Facts About Lebanon

Last updated on March 3rd, 2020

Lebanon, officially known as the Lebanese Republic (Al-Jumhuriyah al-Lubnaniyah), is a country in Western Asia. It has a total area of 10,400 square km. Beirut is its capital and largest city. Arabic is its official language. Lebanese pound (LBP) is its official currency. Its land bordering countries are Israel and Syria. Let’s learn more about it with these interesting facts that talk about its history, culture, geography, people, government and more.

1. Lebanon is the smallest recognized country on the entire mainland Asian continent.

2. Lebanon was referred to as the “Switzerland of the East” during the 1960s because of its financial soundness and diversity.

3. Lebanon ranks the highest among the other countries in the Arab world in Human Development Index and GDP per capita.

4. Mount Lebanon is a mountain range in Lebanon which averages above 2500 m in elevation. The name of the country, in fact, comes from this mountain range.

5. Alexander the Great once conquered what is now Lebanon in 332 BCE.

6. Between 1516 and 1918, Lebanon was a part of the Ottoman Empire.

Flag of Lebanon

Flag of Lebanon
The flag of Lebanon. image credit – CIA

7. In Lebanon, no census has been undertaken since 1932 due to political sensitivity over religious affiliation.

8. The country underwent Civil War between 1975 and 1990 due to the fights between Christians and Muslims in the region.

9. Syria and Israel were actively involved in the Civil War fought in Lebanon. Both these countries sent their troops in the region.

10. Israel withdrew its troops from the region in May, 2000 and Syria followed suit in April, 2005.

A taxi driver is waiting for the next customer, reading of crumpled newspaper pages.
A taxi driver is waiting for the next customer, reading of crumpled newspaper pages.

The Lebanese government

11. The country’s parliament is equally divided among religious groups. Note that their president must be a Maronite Christian, the Prime Minister a Sunni Muslim and the Speaker of Parliament a Shiite Muslim.

12. They have seven main political parties.

13. The country operated less a President for more than a year. This has happened due to the movement of large flocks of Christians out of the country and they cannot have someone who is not a Maronite Christian as their president. However, Michel Aoun, the current president of Lebanon, was elected by parliament in October 2016.

14. Lebanon’s Parliament has 18 recognized sects and 128 seats. In fact, all 18 recognized religious sects in Lebanon are recognized in Parliament.

Lebanon’s geography

The Beqaa Valley, Lebanon.
The Beqaa Valley, Lebanon.

15. An extremely fertile flatland about 16 km wide and 129 km long from north to south, the Bekaa Valley, lies to the east of the Mount Lebanon Range.

16. Lebanon receives almost 80% of its yearly rainfall between November and March.

17. Lebanon has over 3,000 species of flora.

Lebanon on the map

Random facts

18. In Lebanon, a piece of land can have two legal owners. Yes, this is true. The piece of land is owned by one and the crop growing on the land is owned by other. So if you were to buy the piece of land, you would need to pay both these parties before you become the sole owner of the land.

19. Testimony from a pigeon clapper is not valid in court in Lebanon. As the work of this nature is considered unethical in Lebanon, people who do this job are considered inadequate for marriage, as well.

20. Since 1945, it is illegal to raise any foreign flag in Lebanon.

21. Lebanon is an important commercial hub for the Middle East.

22. Lebanon is also the first Arab country to permit private radio and TV.

Syrian Refugees Camp at Bekaa Valley, Lebanon.
Syrian Refugees Camp at Bekaa Valley, Lebanon.

23. Lebanon is currently shelter to some 450,000 refugees living in the country. Majority of these live in the 12 refugee camps set up in Lebanon. These refugees suffer from poverty, unemployment, bad infrastructure and poor housing conditions.

24. An estimated 8-14 million Lebanese live outside Lebanon than those within – approximately, 4.5 million.

25. Currently, Lebanon has 60% Muslim and 40% Christian population.

26. You can find the largest concentration of Lebanese outside Lebanon in Brazil, which is estimated to be around 6 million. Countries including Argentina, Mexico, Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela, and the Dominican Republic have large Lebanese communities.

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