Lebanon – small Middle Eastern country
Lebanon is a small Middle Eastern country on the eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea. The official name of the country is Lebanese Republic. It is mostly mountainous. The major mountain range, called the Lebanon Mountains, extends about 161 km northeast to southwest. Qurnat as-Sawda is the highest point (3,088 m). Mt. Hermon, which rises to 2,813 m, is the country’s second-highest peak. The area of the country is 10,400 square kilometers. It borders Israel and Syria. Lebanon has few year-round rivers. Its most important, and longest, river is the Al-Ljtanj (145 km).
Lebanon has a subtropical, temperate Mediterranean climate, with hot, dry summers and cool, humid winters.
Lebanon’s mineral resources include salt, limestone, silica, and gypsum. The mountains are a good source of iron ore. Major crops include potatoes, tomatoes, cucumbers, citrus fruits, onions, grapes, apples, and olives. Goats and sheep are the main livestock.
The name Lebanon comes from the Arabic name for the Lebanon Mountains, Djebel Libnan, which means “milky white mountains”.
Lebanon has a large population for its small area. Problems between Muslim and Christian people led to a long civil war that lasted from 1975 to 1991. Most Lebanese are Arabs. There are small groups of Armenians and Kurds. Arabic is the main language, but many people speak English and French.
In early times the Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, and Byzantines ruled what is now Lebanon. In 1516 the Turks made the region part of the Ottoman Empire. After World War I France governed Lebanon. In 1943 the country became independent.
Beirut is the largest city and the capital of the country. Until the late 20th century Beirut was a social and cultural center of the Middle East. Traditional two-story houses with red-tiled roofs sit side by side with fashionable new houses. There are many things to see in Beirut. The American University of Beirut Museum, the Nicolas Sursock Museum, and the National Museum are some of them.