LOCAL INFORMATION & CUSTOMS

Your Guide to Lebanon
AND BEIRUT
LOCAL INFORMATION & CUSTOMS

Location: Beirut is located 33.89 latitude and 35.49 longitude and it is situated at elevation 102 meters above sea level.

Climate: Lebanon has a Mediterranean climate characterized by long, hot, dry summers and cold rainy winters.

Currency: Lebanese Pound LBP. Approximate conversion rate: USD 1 = LBP 1,500. USD is also a currently accepted in Lebanon.

Religion: Lebanon is one of the most religiously diverse country in all of the Middle East. Beirut has significant Christian and Muslim communities with 18 recognized religious groups.

Language: The official language is Arabic, but English and French are widely spoken. Most official signage is in Arabic and English.

Shopping: Shops are generally open from around 10:00 to 23:00.

Clothing: Lightweight summer clothing is suitable for summer and heavy winter cloth in winter. Swimwear is acceptable on the beach and at the swimming pool. Visitors to Beirut should dress modestly, particularly in conservative areas and public places. Swimwear is acceptable at the beach or around the swimming pool, but visitors should cover up elsewhere. Shorts and T-shirts are suitable attire in many places, although when visiting mosques, religious sites or older parts of the city, both men and women may feel more comfortable wearing loose-fitting clothes that cover shoulders, arms and legs. Women will usually be required to wear a headscarf when entering mosques.

Photography: Normal tourist photography is acceptable, but it is considered offensive to photograph Muslim women. It is also courteous to ask permission before photographing men. In general, photographs of government buildings, mosques or military installations should not be taken.

Car Hire: Self-drive cars are widely available, and the rental company will arrange for temporary driving licences for visitors.

Communication: Free Wi-Fi is available in most of the hotels, restaurants and commercial areas.

Medical Care: Excellent health facilities, with both government and private clinics and hospitals.

Working hours: The official weekend in Lebanon is on Saturday and Sunday. Government offices and banks open at 07:30 and close at 15:00, while private offices tend to keep longer hours with eight working hours between 07:30 and 09:00 with a lunch break lasting from 30 minutes to an hour.

General etiquette: Good manners and courtesy are prized attributes. Always arrive on time for a meeting. However, be aware that punctuality is not considered a virtue in the Arab world, and people are often kept waiting before or during a meeting.

Information about the local food: 38 different kinds of mezzes, the widest variety of mixed grills and the finest selection of oriental sweets. Traditional dishes include Hummus, Tabbouleh, Fattouch and grilled meat. Popular beverages are coffee and tea, which can be supplemented with cardamom, saffron or mint to give them a distinct flavour. Hotels frequently have pork substitutes such as beef sausages and veal rashers on their breakfast menus. If pork is available, it is clearly labelled as such. Alcohol is generally served everywhere.

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