Lebanon is a country in Western Asia at the crossroads of the Mediterranean Basin and the Arabian hinterland which has facilitated its rich history and shaped a cultural identity of religious and ethnic diversity. The earliest evidence of civilization in Lebanon dates back more than seven thousand years, predating recorded history.
It is the homeland of the Canaanites/Phoenicians, whose great coastal trading emporia supplied the known world with luxuries, including cedarwood, spices, and metals. When Pompey the Great absorbed the region into the Roman Empire in 64 CE, Lebanon became part of the province of Syria. Under the Pax Romana, the cities of the Levantine coast prospered, and the Romans built their largest ever temple at the cult center of Baalbek. Castles, churches, mosques and souks recall the medieval period, when Lebanon was a battleground between the Crusaders and Islam and a vibrant mixing bowl of religions and cultures.
- Currency - The currency of Lebanon is the Lebanon pound
- How to Dress - Lebanon is a country of mixed religions; there are in fact 18 official religions in Lebanon! In the capital, Beirut there are a mixture of people who are dressed conservatively and those who dress exactly as Westerners. In Lebanon you may dress as you please, there is no male or female dress code. However, some neighbourhoods in Lebanon are more conservative than others, so be aware of the kind of area you are going to and dress accordingly. As a general rule, in conservative areas it is best to cover your legs and shoulders (men and women). In other parts, such as the Christian areas, there is no dress code, you are free to wear whatever you want.
- Cultural Differences - Lebanon is a small yet diverse country. The culture is fundamentally conservative and exhibits a great deal of respect for traditions. 95% of the Lebanese population is Arab; therefore, the predominant unifying culture is Arab. However, lifestyles are strikingly Mediterranean for a Middle Eastern country. Personal integrity and dignity is still seen as an important virtue throughout Lebanon. It is arguably a reason why the Lebanese are particularly charitable and hospitable.
- Language - Arabic is the official language of Lebanon
- Tipping - It is commonplace to add a tip for good service in Lebanon. Up to 10% is acceptable. Archaeological Tours will take care of gratuities to restaurant staff, local guides and drivers.