The capital of Lebanon, situated on a small peninsula jutting out of the coastline into the Mediterranean Sea, Beirut is not only the country's largest city and main seaport, but also contains around half of the entire population of the country. These days, it is described by various travel sites as one of the top 10 destinations in the world, and in 2009 was named by the New York Times as the top place to visit for the year. The city is a testament to overcoming the odds, and has rebuilt itself ever since the tragic and destructive years during the Lebanese civil war, emerging into the 21st century as a modern hub that has created a city the entire world is watching and applauding.
The only way to really experience Beirut is to start in the heart of the city where all of the culturally-significant sites are. Most of the historical sites have been painstakingly renovated over the years since the civil war, and the markets which are spaced between create a unique maze that is a shopper’s paradise. The history of this place goes back more than 5,000 years, but it is mostly remembered for the major wars fought during the civil war era between the Christian and Muslim factions that started in 1975 and lasted nearly 15 years. In the last two decades since the city finally began to be rebuilt in 1989, it has transformed into one of the major Middle Eastern cities.
Beirut is a city very much living in the here and now. Its residents are eager to put behind them the tragedies of the 20th century, and so far they are doing an amazing job. Coming here means living entirely in the moment, enjoying a mixture of culture, heritage, and modernity as the people around you push forward into the 21st century with nothing in mind but enjoying their life and freedom.
The Jeita Grotto (Arabic: مغارة جعيتا) is a compound of interconnected karstic limestone caves in Jeita, Lebanon located 18 kilometres (11 mi) north of Beirut in the Valley of Na…