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Lebanon is famous for its exquisite beauty, diversity, glamor, European flavor, and hospitable people. Its rich culture and history have placed it on the “must see” list of every world traveler. Lebanese cities are among the most famous names in ancient history and majestic ruins still stand today as a testimony to the greatness of people who lived in this land.
The nature of Lebanon makes it the only country in the Arab world that embraces four seasons yearly. No matter what the season, there is always something special to enjoy. In the winter season, ski resorts offer tourists slopes that are comparable to even the best resorts in Europe. In the summer, international festivals all over the country – in Baalbek, Byblos, Beiteddine, Batroun, and Jounieh – bring together Lebanese and foreign artists to perform in stunning archaeological and historical sites. These events have given Lebanon an enviable place on the cultural map of the Middle East.
Lebanon has it all! Visitors to Lebanon enjoy outstanding service in world-class hotels and resorts, restaurants, casinos, theaters, cinemas, and nightclubs and luxury shopping centers along with advanced communication and transportation services. Lebanon also offers access to cutting-edge medical centers.
Article 11 of Lebanon’s Constitution states that “Arabic is the official national language. A law determines the cases in which the French language is to be used”. The majority of Lebanese people speak Lebanese Arabic, which is grouped in a larger category called Levantine Arabic, while Modern Standard Arabic is mostly used in magazines, newspapers, and formal broadcast media. Lebanese Sign Language is the language of the deaf community. Almost 40% of Lebanese are considered francophone, and another 15% “partial francophone,” and 70% of Lebanon’s secondary schools use French as a second language of instruction. By comparison, English is used as a secondary language in 30% of Lebanon’s secondary schools. The use of French is a legacy of France’s historic ties to the region, including its League of Nations mandate over Lebanon following World War I; as of 2005, some 20% of the population used French on a daily basis. The use of Arabic by Lebanon’s educated youth is declining, as they usually prefer to speak in French and, to a lesser extent, English, which are seen as more fashionable.
English is increasingly used in science and business interactions. Lebanese citizens of Armenian, Greek, or Kurdish descent often speak their ancestral languages with varying degrees of fluency. As of 2009, there were around 150,000 Armenians in Lebanon, or around 5% of the population.
The Lebanese pound (Arabic: ليرة / lira; French: livre; ISO 4217: LBP) is the currency unit of Lebanon. It is divided into 100 piastres but inflation has eliminated the subdivisions.