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Beirut City Guide

Beirut's welcoming Mediterranean climate goes far beyond the temperature. The city's atmosphere throbs with joie de vivre. A cosmopolitan capital city and provocative college town, the "Paris of the East," offers unforgettable experiences to travelers of all walks of life.

In Beirut, you can unwind with a seaside promenade along the Corniche at sunset, or a dip into the warm Mediterranean waves. Feast on world-class cuisine in Downtown Beirut, or check out the city's Bohemian side in the Gemmayzeh district.Beirut Central District

These are just a few of the reasons why The New York Times rated Beirut as the world's top travel destination of 2009, with Lonely Planet and The Guardian placing the city on their Top 10 lists.

Condé Nast Traveler picked Beirut as 2013's Top City in the Middle East, with nearby Byblos coming in second place over Dubai, Tel Aviv, and Jerusalem. Where else in the world can you enjoy a first-rate oriental meze at an open-air restaurant, seated comfortably next to a burqa-clad woman on one side and a bejeweled jazz singer on the other?

Beirut has the unusual bragging right of having been a bustling coastal city for thousands of years, and all that history and port city culture still influence it today, where visitors are shown hospitality by bewilderingly diverse religious and cultural groups.The rich mingling of so many ancient traditions with thriving modernity create an utterly unique ambiance. The balance of ancient and modern is what makes Beirut so special.

In the midst of newly reconstructed Downtown highrises, visitors find themselves standing in front of ancient Roman baths where archaeologists are excavating 2,000 year old mosaics.

You can peruse contemporary art galleries on Rue Gouraud before studying Phoenician antiquities at the National Museum. Shop in the chic new Souks downtown or go treasure hunting for antiques in Saifi Village. Have heady conversations with university students at a 60s jazz café before returning to your room in a turn-of-the-century Ottoman mansion.

Sunbathe on the sandy beaches where the ancients used to walk, or go skiing at the new resort on the snow-capped peaks of Mount Makmel. Let yourself be blown away by the place where complexity and simplicity meet. You won't leave disappointed - in fact, you probably won't want to leave at all.