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Tuesday 24th October
Lebanon Information - Page 1
Geography
The Lebanese Republic is in the Middle East and is bordered by the Mediterranean Sea, Syria and Israel.

Beirut is the capital city and a major port. Tripoli is Lebanon's second largest city.

Much of Lebanon is mountainous. The Bekaa Valley, part of the Great Rift Valley, is between the Lebanon and Anti-Lebanon Mountains. There is a narrow Mediterranean coastal plain. Lebanon's main rivers are the Litani and the Orontes.

Lebanon has a Mediterranean climate. Its summers are hot and dry. Winters can be mild and wet with snow in the mountains.

Environment
Lebanon is a small country with a varied landscape consisting of beaches, mountains, valleys, forests and woodlands.

The Qadisha Valley, a World Heritage site and one of Lebanon's areas of natural beauty, is the location of some of the famous cedars.

Few of the Cedars of Lebanon remain today. Deforestation is one of the country's environmental issues and forests and woodlands only cover a small percentage of the country.

The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew in the United Kingdom works with partners in Lebanon to store seeds of native plants. Some of the plants are rare and many are only found in Lebanon.

Architecture
There are a number of World Heritage sites in Lebanon: the Phoenician cities of Byblos, Baalbek and Tyre, Qadisha Valley, known for its early Christian monasteries, and the Islamic city of Anjar built in the eighth century.

Another of Lebanon's historic sites is Beaufort Castle. Built in 1139 by European Crusaders, it is the largest Crusader castle in Lebanon.

There are also many buildings dating from the Mamluke and Ottoman periods. Tripoli, in particular, has over forty buildings that are designated as historical sites.

Population
The population of Lebanon was estimated at 4,143,101 in 2011.

Languages
Arabic is the official language. French and English are widely spoken.

Religion
Lebanon has around seventeen religious sects, mostly representing the Muslim and Christian religions.

Food
The mezze which consists of many small dishes of food, such as houmous, goat's cheese, salads and vegetables, is a feature of Lebanese cuisine.

Main meals may include lamb, chicken, fish and vegetables. Popular main courses are kebbe, which is mutton pounded and served with crushed wheat, and chawarma, lamb cooked on a vertical spit. Stuffed vegetables are a feature of Lebanese cuisine. Staple foods include bread (flat varieties) and rice. Recipes may use yoghurt and nuts.

Desserts eaten are cakes, pastries, milk puddings, ice cream, sorbets and fresh fruit.

Coffee is preferred thick, strong and sometimes slightly scented. Tea is served sweet with mint. Beers, wines and spirits are produced locally and arak, an aniseed-flavoured spirit, is served with water.

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