For other uses see Beirut (disambiguation).
|Native Name:||بيروت Bayrūt|
|Other Name:||Beyrouth (French)|
|City Motto:||BERYTUS NUTRIX LEGUM (latin)|
|Subdivision Name1:||Beirut, Capital City|
|Leader Name:||Abdel Mounim Ariss|
|Area Total Km2:||648|
|Population As Of:||2007|
|Population Total:||1 812 000|
|Population Metro:||~ 2 600 000|
|Population Density Km2:||2800|
|Website:||City of Beirut|
Beirut (Arabic: بيروت, Bayrūt) is the capital and largest city of Lebanon with a population of over 2.1 million as of 2007. Located on a peninsula at the midpoint of Lebanon's coastline with the Mediterranean sea, it serves as the country's largest and main seaport and also forms the Beirut District area, which consists of the city and its suburbs. The first mention of this metropolis is found in the ancient Egyptian Tell el Amarna letters, dating to the 15th century BC, and the city has been continuously inhabited over the centuries since.
Beirut holds Lebanon's seat of government and plays a central role in the Lebanese economy with its Downtown, Hamra, Verdun, and Ashrafieh based corporate firms and banks. The city is also the focal point of the region's cultural life, renowned for its press, theaters and cultural activities. After the destructive Lebanese civil war, Beirut underwent major reconstruction,   and the redesigned historic city center, marina, pubs and nightlife districts have once again rendered it a popular tourist attraction.Beirut was named the number one Place to Visit in 2009 by The New York Times. It was also list as one of the top ten liveliest cities in the world by the Lonely Planet list of the top ten cities for 2009. 
Originally named Bêrūt, "The Wells" by the Phoenicians,  Beirut's history goes back more than 5000 years.  Excavations in the downtown area have unearthed layers of Phoenician, Hellenistic, Roman, Arab and Ottoman remains. The first historical reference to Beirut dates from the 14th century BC, when it is mentioned in the cuneiform tablets of the "Amarna letters." Ammunira of Biruta (Beirut) sent 3 letters to the pharaoh of Egypt. Biruta is also referenced in the letters from Rib-Hadda of Byblos. The most ancient settlement was on an island in the river that progressively silted up. The city was known in antiquity as Berytus (see also List of traditional Greek place names); this name was taken in 1934 for the archaeological journal published by the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at the American University of Beirut.
In 140 BC, the city was taken and destroyed by Diodotus Tryphon in his contest with Antiochus VII Sidetes for the throne of the Seleucid monarchy. Beirut was soon rebuilt on a more regularized Hellenistic plan, renamed Laodicea in Phoenicia (Greek, Modern (1453-): Λαοδικεια ή του Φοινίκη) or Laodicea in Canaan, in honor of a Seleucid Laodice. The modern city overlies the ancient one and little archaeology had been accomplished until after the end of the civil war in 1991; now large sites in the devastated city center have been opened to archaeological exploration. A dig in 1994 established that one of Beirut's modern streets, Souk Tawile, still follows the lines of an ancient Hellenistic/Roman one.
Mid-first century coins of Berytus bear the head of Tyche, goddess of fortune; on the reverse, the city's symbol appears: a dolphin entwines an anchor. This symbol was taken up by the early printer Aldus Manutius in 15th century Venice.Beirut was conquered by Agrippa in 64 BC and the city was renamed in honor of the emperor's daughter, Julia; its full name became Colonia Julia Augusta Felix Berytus.  The veterans of two Roman legions were established in the city: the fifth Macedonian and the third Gallic. The city quickly became Romanized. Large public buildings and monuments were erected and Berytus enjoyed full status as a part of the empire.
Under the Romans, it was enriched by the dynasty of Herod the Great, and was made a colonia, Colonia Iulia Augusta Felix Berytus, in 14 BC. Beirut's school of law was widely known at the time. Two of Rome's most famous jurists, Papinian and Ulpian, both natives of Phoenicia, taught at the law school under the Severan emperors. When Justinian assembled his Pandects in the 6th century, a large part of the corpus of laws were derived from these two jurists, and Justinian recognized the school as one of the three official law schools of the empire (533). Within a few years, as the result of a disastrous earthquake (551),   the students were transferred to Sidon. Saida (Sidon)], IkamaAbout 30,000 were killed in Berytus alone and, along the Phoenician coast, total casualties were close to 250,000.
Beirut passed to the Arabs in 635.  As a trading centre of the eastern Mediterranean, Beirut was overshadowed by Akka during the Middle Ages. From 1110 to 1291 it was in the hands of the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem. John of Ibelin, the Old Lord of Beirut (1179 - 1236) rebuilt the city after the battles with Saladin, and also built the Ibelin family palace in Beirut.
No matter who was its nominal overlord, whether Turk or Mamluk, Beirut was ruled locally by Druze emirs. One of these, Fakr ed-Din Maan II, fortified it early in the 17th century, but the Ottomans retook it in 1763 and thenceforth, with the help of Damascus, Beirut successfully broke Akka's monopoly on Syrian maritime trade and for a few years supplanted it as the main trading centre in the region. During the succeeding epoch of rebellion against Ottoman hegemony at Akka under Jezzar and Abdullah pashas, Beirut declined to a small town (population about 10,000), and was fought over among the Druze, the Turks and the pashas. After Ibrahim Pasha captured Akka in 1832, Beirut began its early modern revival.
In 1888, Beirut was made capital of a vilayet in Syria, including the sanjaks Latakia, Tripoli, Beirut, Akka and Bekaa. Beirut became a very cosmopolitan city and had close links with Europe and the United States. Beirut became a centre of missionary activity that build an impressive education system. This included the Syrian Protestant College, which was established by American missionaries and eventually became the American University of Beirut (AUB). Beirut became the centre of Arab intellectual activity in the 19th century. Provided with water from a British company and gas from a French one, the city thrived on exporting silk grown on nearby Mount Lebanon. After French engineers established a modern harbor (1894) and a rail link across Lebanon to Damascus, and then to Aleppo (1907), much of the trade was carried by French ships to Marseille, and soon French influence in the area exceeded that of any other European power. In 1911, the population mix was reported in the Encyclopædia Britannica as Muslims, 36,000; Christians, 77,000; Jews, 2500; Druze, 400; foreigners, 4100.
Lebanon achieved independence in 1943, and Beirut became its capital city. Beirut remained an intellectual capital of the Arab world and a major commercial and tourist center until 1975 when a violent civil war broke out in Lebanon.  During most of the war, the city was divided between the largely Muslim west part and the Christian east. The central area of the city, previously the focus of much of the commercial and cultural activities, became a no man's land. Many of the city's inhabitants fled to other countries. In 1983, French and US barracks were bombed.  
Since the end of the war in 1990, the people of Lebanon have been rebuilding Beirut, and by the start of the 2006 Israel-Lebanon conflict the city had somewhat regained its status as a tourist, cultural, and intellectual center in the Middle East, as well as a center for commerce, fashion, and media. Reconstruction of downtown Beirut has been largely driven by Solidere, a development company established in 1994 by Rafik Hariri. Beirut is home to the international designer Elie Saab, jeweller Robert Moawad, and to some popular satellite television stations, such as LBC, Future TV, New TV and others. The city was host to the Asian Club Basketball Championship and the Asian Football Cup. Beirut also successfully hosted the Miss Europe pageant eight times, 1960–1964, 1999, 2001–2002.
The 2005 assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri near the Saint George Bay in Beirut shook the entire country.   Approximately one million people gathered for an opposition rally in Beirut, a month after the death of Hariri.  The "Cedar Revolution" was the largest rally in Lebanon's history. The last Syrian troops withdrew from Beirut on 26 April 2005. Both countries established diplomatic relations on 15 October 2008.
In May 2008, violent clashes broke out in Beirut and opposition militants briefly controlled West Beirut before giving it to the control of the Lebanese Army.
Beirut is home to one of the largest seaports of the eastern Mediterranean Sea; its location and depth allows it host the largest Mother ship vessels. As such, its recently completed container port is operating at over capacity 10 years before the studies showed it would.
Beirut is a thriving and expanding tourism destination. One billion dollars has so far been pumped into new infrastructure (new hotels and renovations) and continues to rise.
Beirut is positioned on a peninsula extending westward into the Mediterranean Sea, about 94km north of the Lebanon-Israel border. The city is flanked by the Lebanon mountains; it has taken on a triangular shape, largely influenced by its situation between and atop two hills: Al-Ashrafieh and Al-Musaytibah. The Beirut Governorate area is of 18km2, and the city's metropolitan area is of 67km2. Beirut's coast is rather diverse; rocky beaches, sandy shores, and cliffs are situated beside one another.
Beirut has a Mediterranean climate characterized by a hot and humid summer, pleasant fall and spring, and cool, rainy winter. August is the hottest month of the year with a monthly average high temperature of 29 °C (85 °F), and January and February are the coldest months with a monthly average low temperature of 10 °C (50 °F). During the afternoon and evening the prevailing wind direction is from the west, i.e., onshore, or inland from the Mediterranean Sea; at night the wind direction reverses to offshore, i.e., blowing from the land out to the sea.
Winter is the rainy season, with major precipitation falling after December. The average annual rainfall is 860 millimetres (34.1 inches); the rainfall is concentrated during scattered days in winter falling in heavy cloudbursts.Snow in Beirut is extremely rare and usually occurs without accumulation. Exceptions are 3 big snowstorms occurred in 1920,1942 and 1950.
|Jan Hi °F:||61|
|Jan Hi °C:||16|
|Feb Hi °F:||62|
|Feb Hi °C:||16|
|Mar Hi °F:||65|
|Mar Hi °C:||18|
|Apr Hi °F:||71|
|Apr Hi °C:||21|
|May Hi °F:||75|
|May Hi °C:||23|
|Jun Hi °F:||80|
|Jun Hi °C:||26|
|Jul Hi °F:||84|
|Jul Hi °C:||28|
|Aug Hi °F:||85|
|Aug Hi °C:||29|
|Sep Hi °F:||83|
|Sep Hi °C:||28|
|Oct Hi °F:||80|
|Oct Hi °C:||26|
|Nov Hi °F:||72|
|Nov Hi °C:||22|
|Dec Hi °F:||64|
|Dec Hi °C:||17|
|Year Hi °F:||73|
|Year Hi °C:||22|
|Jan Lo °F:||50|
|Jan Lo °C:||10|
|Feb Lo °F:||50|
|Feb Lo °C:||10|
|Mar Lo °F:||52|
|Mar Lo °C:||11|
|Apr Lo °F:||58|
|Apr Lo °C:||14|
|May Lo °F:||63|
|May Lo °C:||17|
|Jun Lo °F:||69|
|Jun Lo °C:||20|
|Jul Lo °F:||73|
|Jul Lo °C:||22|
|Aug Lo °F:||75|
|Aug Lo °C:||23|
|Sep Lo °F:||72|
|Sep Lo °C:||22|
|Oct Lo °F:||68|
|Oct Lo °C:||20|
|Nov Lo °F:||59|
|Nov Lo °C:||15|
|Dec Lo °F:||53|
|Dec Lo °C:||11|
|Year Lo °F:||62|
|Year Lo °C:||16|
|Jan Precip Inch:||7.4|
|Jan Precip Cm:||18|
|Feb Precip Inch:||6|
|Feb Precip Cm:||15|
|Mar Precip Inch:||3.8|
|Mar Precip Cm:||9|
|Apr Precip Inch:||2.0|
|Apr Precip Cm:||5|
|May Precip Inch:||0.7|
|May Precip Cm:||1|
|Jun Precip Inch:||0.1|
|Jun Precip Cm:||0.25|
|Jul Precip Inch:||0|
|Jul Precip Cm:||0|
|Aug Precip Inch:||0|
|Aug Precip Cm:||0|
|Sep Precip Inch:||0.2|
|Sep Precip Cm:||0.5|
|Oct Precip Inch:||1.9|
|Oct Precip Cm:||4|
|Nov Precip Inch:||4.7|
|Nov Precip Cm:||11|
|Dec Precip Inch:||6.9|
|Dec Precip Cm:||17|
|Year Precip Inch:||34.1|
|Year Precip Cm:||86|
Beirut is divided into 13 municipality recognized quarters (quartiers):
These quarters are divided into sectors (secteurs).
Two of the twelve official Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon are located in Beirut: Burj el-Barajneh and Shatila. Of the fifteen unregistered or unofficial refugee camps, Sabra, which lies adjacent to Shatila, is also located in Beirut.
The capital Beirut is the seat of the Lebanese Parliament and of the government, and encompasses all the Ministries, most of the public administrations, embassies and consulates. Beirut is one of six mohafazah (state governorates; mohafazat, singular), with the others being Beqaa, North Lebanon, South Lebanon, Mount Lebanon and Nabatiye.
|1||Kamel Abbas Hamieh||1936||1941|
|7||Chafik Abou Haydar||1967||1977|
|8||Mitri El Nammar||1977||1987|
|10||Nayef Al Maaloof||1992||1995|
The city is home to numerous international organizations. The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) is headquartered in Downtown Beirut  while the International Labour Organization (ILO) and UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) both have regional offices in Beirut covering the Arab world. The Arab Air Carriers Organization (AACO) is also headquartered in Beirut.
There are wide-ranging estimates of Beirut's population, from as low as 938,940 people, to 1,303,129 people, to as high as 2,012,000. The lack of an exact figure is due to the fact that no population census has been taken in Lebanon since 1932.
Beirut is one of the most religiously diverse cities of the Middle East, with Christians, and Muslims both having a significant presence. There are nine major religious sects in Beirut (Sunni Muslim, Shiite Muslim, Druze, Maronite Catholic, Greek Orthodox, Greek Catholic, Armenian Orthodox, Armenian Catholic, and Protestant). Family matters such as marriage, divorce and inheritance are still handled by the religious authorities representing a person's faith. Calls for civil marriage are unanimously rejected by the religious authorities but civil marriages held in another country are recognized by Lebanese civil authorities.Several decades ago, Beirut was also home to a Jewish community, in Wadi Abu Jamil neighbourhood.
The Lebanese Civil War greatly shifted the populations of neighborhoods throughout Beirut. East Beirut is categorized by a predominantely Christian population. Meanwhile, West Beirut has a large Muslim majority, with a sizeable Christian minority. In recent years, East and West Beirut have begun to see an increase in Muslims and Christians moving in to each half.
Beirut has had a history of political strife due to religious divisions. Religion has historically divided Lebanese society decisively, as evident in its prolonged civil war.
Higher education in Beirut, and all over Lebanon, is provided by technical and vocational institutes, university colleges, university institutes and universities. Among these numbers of institutions nationwide, the Lebanese University is the only public institution in the capital. The responsibility of the Directorate General of Higher Education is responsible for managing the university colleges, university Institutes and Universities in Beirut and nationwide.
Among the most famous private schools in Beirut are the International College, Beirut, the American Community School,Rawdah High School, the Saint Mary's Orthodox College, the Collège Protestant Français,College du sacre coeur gemmayze,the Collège Louise Wegman and the Grand Lycée Franco-Libanais.
The higher education system is based on the Baccalauréat libanais but the Baccalauréat Français is accepted as an equivalent. Before being admitted to any higher education institution, one must achieve his or her Baccalauréat examinations. Baccalauréat technique is an alternative to credentials.
Foreign students who wish to study in higher Lebanese institutions must also meet Lebanese qualifications. Their examinations must be equivalent to the Baccalauréat system before they are granted admission to higher institutions. They are not subject to any special quota system, and scholarships are granted within the framework of bilateral agreements concluded with other countries. Degrees obtained outside Lebanon must be certified by the Lebanese embassy abroad and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Lebanon. Then, candidates must go in person to the Secretariat of the Equivalence Committee with required documents.
Beirut is home to some of the most well-renowned universities in the Middle East, such as the American University of Beirut, Université Saint-Joseph, Ecole Supérieure des Affaires and the Lebanese American University, and the Hariri Canadian University.
By land, the latter are served by either service taxi or taxicab. A service taxi is a lot cheaper than a normal taxi, however to avoid misunderstanding agreement over the pricing need to be made before setting off.
Beirut has frequent bus connections to other cities in Lebanon and major cities in Syria. The Lebanese Commuting Company, or LCC in short, is just one of a handful brands of public transportation all over Lebanon. On the other hand, the publicly owned buses are managed by Office des Chemins de Fer et des Transports en Commun (OCFTC), or the "Railway and Public Transportation Authority" in English. Buses for northern destinations and Syria leave from Charles Helou Station. 
The culture of Beirut has evolved under the influence of contact with many civilizations and peoples, including Greeks, Romans and Arabs. The law school in Beirut under the Romanized Berytus is believed to be the first law school in the world. This history of multi-culturalism is a point of pride for the Lebanese.
Beirut hosted the Francophonie and the Arab League summits in 2002. In 2007, Beirut hosted the ceremony for Le Prix Albert Londres,  which rewards outstanding Francophone journalists every year. The city is set to host the Jeux de la Francophonie in 2009. 
The National Museum of Beirut is the principal museum of archaeology in Lebanon. About 1300 artifacts are exhibited, ranging in date from prehistoric times to the medieval Mamluk period.
The American University of Beirut archaeological museum is the third oldest museum in the Middle East, it exhibits a wide range of artifacts from Lebanon and neighboring countries.
Sursock Museum was built by the Sursock family at the end of the 19th century as a private villa. It was then donated to the Lebanese government and now houses Beirut's most influential and popular art museum. The permanent collection shows a collection of Japanese engravings and numerous works of Islamic art, and temporary exhibitions are shown throughout the year.
Robert Mouawad Private Museum exhibits Henri Pharaon's private archaeology and antiques collection, located near Beirut's the Grand Serail.
Planet Discovery is a children’s science museum. It holds interactive experiments, exhibitions, performances and workshops, and awareness competitions.
Beirut is the main center in Lebanon for the television, newspaper, and book publishing industries. The television stations include Tele Liban, LBC, Future TV, New TV, Al-Manar, ANB, and NBN. The newspapers include An-Nahar, As-Safir, Al Mustaqbal, Al Akhbar, Al-Balad, Ad-Diyar, Al Anwar, Al Sharq, L'Orient Le Jour and the Daily Star. Beirut is also one of the two main media hubs in the Arab World, the other being Egypt.
There are hundreds of art galleries in Beirut and its suburbs. Lebanese people are very involved in art and art production. More than 5000 fine art artists and equal artists working in music, design, architecture, theatre, film, photography and all other forms of art are producing in Lebanon. Every year hundreds of fine art students graduate from universities and institutions. Artist Workshops are flourishing all around Lebanon. In Beirut specifically, the art scene is very rich, vibrant, and diverse.
On another scale, fashion and couture are very much thriving throughout the city. Fashion houses are opening up and a number of international fashion designers have displayed their work in various fashion shows.
Many fashion designers have opened shops in Beirut such as Versace and Gucci, but many designers live in and around Beirut, for instance Elie Saab a major designer for women's clothing, lives in Beirut. Elie Saab has made dresses for the likes of Beyonce, Gwyneth Paltrow and Micha Barton. Elie Saab always donates a Christmas tree to downtown Beirut every year.
Another fashion designer from Beirut is Zuhair Murad who has designed clothing for the likes of Ana Ortiz and Christina Applegate. He has worked for Mango clothing line- which as an out let in Beirut and has his own retail in Beirut.
The once destroyed town center is thriving once again and is very much active. Its former reputation as a crossroads between three continents and gateway to the East has been restored and modernized. Beirut is the oft-invoked “Paris of the East”, and there is plenty of sightseeing, shopping, cuisine, and nightlife to keep a tourist within the city limits for the duration a visit to Lebanon. Lebanon's capital city is a vibrant, stylish metropolis, All over the city, sleek, modern buildings are springing up, alongside arabesque Ottoman and French-style buildings, giving Beirut a unique and very distinctive style often not seen in other Middle Eastern cities.
In Travel and Leisure magazine's World Best Awards 2006, Beirut was ranked 9th best city in the world, falling just short of New York City and coming ahead of San Francisco. However, the list was voted upon before the war broke out in Lebanon that same year. Tourist numbers have increased exponentially these last few months. Recently, Lonely Planet named Beirut as ranking in its 2009 top ten liveliest cities on the planet. "The New York Times" ranked Beirut first on its "44 places to go" list of 2009.
There are many shopping malls and outlet stores for all those shopoholics out there. Eldorado shopping mall, City Shopping mall,Beirut shopping mall etc to name a few has outlets in and around beirut. Beirut also has many western shops for those less adventurous, with Mango, Bershka and Starbucks have opened shop in the city.