Category Archives: Tourism

Mir Amin Palace Hotel: A Perfect Getaway

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The Chouf is one of the best-preserved and most beautiful areas in Lebanon. It boasts the biggest Cedars forest in Lebanon, historical palaces built by the Emirs of Lebanon, most notably the magnificent Beiteddine palace, as well as beautiful old Lebanese houses, monasteries and attractions. It’s the perfect getaway from the city, the noise and the pollution and the Mir Amin Palace Hotel is the ideal place to stay when you’re planning a weekend in the Chouf.

The Mir Amin Palace was once a residence of the last Emirs of Lebanon back in the 19th century, and has been restored and turned into a splendid five-star hotel overlooking the Chouf Mountains. I went there to spend the weekend in September and I was completely blown away by the beauty of this palace, its historic courtyards, its room and suites, its spacious terraces and its great food and ambiance.

It’s really hard to describe in words how awesome this place is, so I will let pictures speak for themselves and add small captions below them.

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The road from the highway to Mir Amin Palace is well paved and surrounded by trees and forests.

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Entrance road to the Mir Amin Palace Hotel

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Entrance to the Mir Amin Palace Hotel

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After you check in, you step out to see this beautiful terrace

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Mir Amin Palace’s spacious rooms decorated with antique beds and furniture

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Walk around the palace and check its beautiful courtyards

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An Arabic lounge outside the hotel’s suites

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Hall Arcades

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What was once the residence of a Lebanese Emir

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View of the Palace from the pool

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Beautiful pool and a breath-taking view

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The Outdoor terrace

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Great Lebanese food

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and entertainment

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Overlooking the Chouf mountains

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Sunset

Overlooking the spectacular mountain valley view’s to the sun kissed terraces and the shimmering Mediterranean below, Mir Amin Palace Hotel Beiteddine Lebanon welcomes you to experience a tangible sense of history escaping from life’s stresses in the city.

This is exactly what this hotel offers its guests and more. It’s a great escape during the summer and I can’t wait to spend a weekend there during the winter with all the snowy mountains around us.

You can check out more details on the hotel’s [website].

Zahlé First Arab City to be designated as a UNESCO Creative City

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[YouTube]

Zahlé joined the network in the gastronomy category.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has designated Brazzaville (Republic of Congo), Zahlé (Lebanon), Kraków (Poland) and Fabriano (Italy) as new members of its network of “creative hubs” promoting socio-economic and cultural development worldwide through creative industries.

Brazzaville, designated “City of Music”, is the first African member of the Creative Cities Network, which was launched by UNESCO in 2004 to develop international cooperation among cities that have recognized creativity as a driver for sustainable development.

Zahlé, Kraków and Fabriano join the Network in the categories of Gastronomy, Literature, Crafts and Folks Arts, respectively. [UN]

Here we go again: Beirut Among The 28 Official Finalists For The New7Wonders Cities

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I hope we will not go through this experience again and waste money over this scam. Jeita already lost in the N7W and 10 million dollars were wasted. In case you forget about this competition, here’s why N7W was a bad idea and still is today and here’s a study to back this claim.

Bernard Weber, Founder-President of New7Wonders, announces the names of the 28 Official Finalists in the New7Wonders Cities campaign on 21 October 2013 in Zurich, Switzerland. They are, in alphabetical order:

Athens, Greece
Bangkok, Thailand
Barcelona, Spain
Beirut, Lebanon
Casablanca, Marocco
Chicago, USA
Doha, Qatar
Durban, South Africa
Havana, Cuba
Ho Chi Minh City, Viet Nam
Istanbul, Turkey
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Kyoto, Japan
La Paz, Bolivia
London, United Kingdom
Mendoza, Argentina
Mexico City, Mexico
Mumbai, India
Perth, Australia
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Prague, Czech Republic
Quito, Ecuador
Reykjavik, Iceland
St. Petersburg, Russia
Seoul, South Korea
Shenzhen, China
Vancouver, Canada
Vigan, Philippines

CNN Travel: Beirut Among the World’s Top Cities

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Downtown Beirut by Michaelallangrant, on Flickr

Condé Nast Traveler announced the winners of its 26th annual Readers’ Choice Awards two days ago and Beirut made it as one of the World’s best cities. It’s quite surprising to be honest to see Beirut on that list, specially after the past two years we had and the ongoing Syrian war. Let’s hope things will get better in Lebanon this year so we could improve on that ranking.

You can check out the full list [Here].

World’s best cities

The “Top 25 Cities in the World” list had refreshingly surprising additions and rankings — Paris came in at a lowly 22 while Bruges and Cape Town tied for 11th place.

Budapest and Florence tied for second, while the very top spot was seized by the colonial city of San Miguel de Allende in central Mexico, which took the crown from last year’s favorite of Charleston, South Carolina (which was tied for fifth this year).

Italy snapped up five of the top 25 cities, while Spain managed to take three.

Despite its slide in the global rankings, Charleston was still voted the top city in the United States for the third year in a row, for its “sand, sun, history, good food and friendly people.”

via Gino

The World’s Second Biggest Cross in Kobayat

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Kobayat, a Lebanese town located north of Lebanon, is set to inaugurate the world’s second biggest cross and Lebanon’s biggest cross on the 26th of October. The cross is 40 meters long and 20 meters wide and was made in Romania.

That means that Lebanon now has the largest cross and the second biggest cross in the world. I am not a big fan of these records but if it helps the town attract further religious tourists, then it’s a smart move. Speaking of records, we also have the biggest rosary in the world in Deir el Ahmar.

There are plenty of beautiful sites and monasteries to visit in Kobayat for those interested. If you don’t know much about this town, check out my previous posts:

Kobayat’s Wonderland
Trip To Kobayat [Part1] [Part2]
Graneroverde – Kobayat

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via Lebanonfiles

Beirut is perpetually partying or at war

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Picture taken Larrysc

I was out partying at The Gärten by Uberhaus in Beirut yesterday and I felt disconnected from everything happening in Lebanon. People there were relaxed, having a great time and enjoying the awesome music.

Conflict or couture? Either Lebanon is a terrorist-infested, war-ridden hell, or the Paris of the East. This article falls into a tradition of western coverage of Lebanon that reduces the country to a clash between barbarism and western-style liberalism, attempting to create a causal link between the two and ultimately failing to grasp the deep history and many layers of complexity in contemporary Lebanon.

Beirut is a labyrinthine web of religions, cultures, political parties and socio-economic strata, all of which are the result of centuries of various dominations, geopolitical struggles and socioeconomic crises. Anyone attempting to write about Beirutis’ reality today must understand and explain this context. [Full Article]

Balade dans la «vallée des saints»

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Source

I just finished reading a nice article on Bcharré and the Kadisha valley prepared by Thomas Abgrall on LaPress.ca. Surprisingly enough, he asks at the end if it’s still safe to visit Lebanon nowadays and answers that while few areas remain risky, others like Kadisha are safe and can be visited.

This is unfortunately yet another opportunity the Lebanese Ministry Of Tourism didn’t grasp. While major cities like Beirut and Tripoli might be risky at the moment, remote areas like Bcharre, Zghorta, Ehden, Beiteddine, Deir el Amar and many others could have become touristic destinations. Having a second airport in the North would have greatly helped as well.

C’est du village de Bcharré, d’où est originaire le poète Khalil Gibran – célèbre pour son essai Le Prophète –, que démarre notre voyage dans la Kadisha, la «vallée des saints» libanaise. Bcharré, avec ses toits en tuile rouge et son double clocher, se trouve perché sur un plateau qui surplombe la «cuvette» de la Kadisha, une faille rocheuse au milieu de laquelle passe une vallée dont le fragile fil directeur est une rivière qui serpente entre les arbres.

De Bcharré, à flanc de falaise, une route en lacets descend dans la plaine. Les points de vue sont à couper le souffle, quelques grappes de végétation s’accrochent à la roche abrupte – ocre et grise – qui laisse transparaître des cascades. Des dizaines de grottes naturelles se sont formées au fil des millénaires, parfois très difficiles d’accès (à plus de 1000 m d’altitude), ce qui a fait de la vallée un lieu de refuge naturel pour les communautés de la région, en particulier les premières communautés chrétiennes, les maronites, qui représentent encore aujourd’hui environ 20 à 25% de la population libanaise.

Peut-on encore visiter le Liban sans risque? Même si certaines zones restent déconseillées – en particulier celles proches de la frontière syrienne –, certaines régions, en particulier chrétiennes (comme la vallée de la Kadisha), sont encore tout à fait accessibles et ne présentent aucun risque majeur, surtout si l’on fait appel à des agences.