Lebanon is a unique country with a wealth of history and culture. Although it’s part of the Arab world, it has always had a unique place within it. It is one of the few nations that boast having 18 religious communities living together in harmony. It has the highest percentage of Christian citizens in all Arab countries. There might only be 4 million Lebanese citizens living in Lebanon, but the number of immigrants is 15 million. This meant a large influx of money coming into the country that has over 100 banks on its soil. It has surpassed the neighboring countries by its quest for knowledge with 42 universities and having 70% of all students enrolled in private educational institutions. This is also why it averages 1 doctor/person when European nations and the United States of America have 1 doctor/100 person. It is a beacon of political freedom with 40 daily newspapers that exhibit different partisans’ values and opinions. It is the only Asian country that has no desert in it; instead, it has 15 rivers originating from its mountains and running through it.
Lebanon is deeply ingrained in the world history. The name Lebanon and its logo, the cedar, have each been mentioned 75 times in the Old Testament. The name “Lebanon” has been around for 4000 years which makes it the oldest nation’s name in history. It took millennia to gain its independence and was occupied by 16 nations: Egyptians-Hittites-Assyrians- Babylonians- Persians- Alexander the greats Army- the Roman Empire Byzantine- the Arabian Peninsula-The Crusaders- the Ottoman Empire- Britain-France- Israel- Syria. Given that, it’s no wonder Lebanon is the country with the most archeological sites on its land and with the biggest number of books written about it. The capitol “Beirut” has been destroyed and rebuilt 9 times earning it the nickname “the Phoenix” for its ability to always rise out of the ashes. The first law school in the world was also built in Beirut. Byblos is another major city with historical significance. The name Byblos comes from the word Bible. It is the oldest continuously lived in city, and it’s the birth place of the first alphabet. The temple of Jupiter in Baalbeck is the only surviving temple built for this Roman god. Hence, Baalbeck was nicknamed the City of the Sun. The southern city Qana witnessed Jesus Christ’s first miracle of turning water into wine. The original inhabitants of Lebanon are the Phoenicians. They were masters of trade, and for many centuries ruled the trading routes in the Mediterranean Sea by their cunning rather than military occupation. They built the first boat and sailed the open seas and oceans. In fact, recent discoveries proved they might have reached the shores of America many millennia before Christopher Columbus and the Vikings.
Legend has it that God’s own hands planted the cedars in Lebanon which is why we call them the Cedars of God and Lebanon is God’s Country on Earth. Is it any wonder that Lebanese have such undying love and devotion to it?