Moving to Lebanon

Rich in culture and diversity, Lebanon is a country like no other. With Syria in the north and east, as well as Israel to the south, this region has never seen much tranquility. The remnants of turbulent history can be seen throughout the whole 10,452 square kilometers of the country. The official language is Arabic, while French and English can be often heard. If you plan on moving to Lebanon, the text that follows should be of great use to you.

Arabic caligraphy
If moving to Lebanon is in your future, it would be wise to find time for learning some Arabic.

How is climate like in Lebanon?

With Mediterranean sea to the west, Lebanon, naturally, has mostly the Mediterranean, temperate climate. This means that the weather is generally mild. Coastal areas are cool and rather rainy during the winter, whilst summers tend to be hot and humid. More elevated areas are particularly popular for tourist during the summer, since the high temperatures are far more bearable. During winter months, sometimes stretching all the way to summertime, mountain tops are covered with snow. The abundance of rainfall during the year catches a break from June to August. Know that most international moves include a change in climate. So, if you are up for moving to Lebanon, don’t forget to pack a raincoat as well as your best pair of rain boots.

Are there any environmental issues?

Beirut and Mount Lebanon have been suffering greatly from the severe garbage crisis. The Lebanese government works on dealing with this issue diligently since 2015. However, it’s worth mentioning that this is still an ongoing problem.

How will moving to Lebanon change your daily life?

Religion

For starters, it’s good to know that the Lebanese Republic is the most religiously diverse country in the Middle East. And that’s saying something. Muslims are the majority of the population, coming with 54% of the people. Christians follow with 40,5%. The rest are Druze, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, and Mormons. Having said this, know that the country of Lebanon celebrates national as well as both Christian and Muslim holidays.

A decorated Christmas tree
Although Islam is predominant, Christmas is still vastly celebrated.

Traffic

Traffic is mad and hectic. A rush hour last pretty much 24/7. Get used to lots of honking and no distinctive laws, so sometimes taking a taxi might be a better option.

Power cuts

Having electricity through the day is so rare, that it’s best to describe it as impossible. You ought to prepare yourself for often power cuts and plan your daily activities accordingly. It would be unwise to blowdry your hair, while the AC and the washing machine are on. However, there are good sides to this mishap. You’ll have to use the stairs more often, which will get you in shape in no time.

Smoking

Smoking is basically an integrated part of the culture in Lebanon. Not many are aware of the hazards it brings, and those that are simply refuse to care. People smoke everywhere and it’s viewed as normal.

A woman smoking
Get used to smoking. Everywhere.

City noise

It’s not the one you’re used to. Be ready to learn how to distinguish fireworks from gunshots, since they can be heard every 15 minutes.

People

Punctuality is not their strongest suit, so it’s best to accept someone being late as a rule. Families are close and it’s normal for parents to check on their kids if they have been eating properly that day, even if the offspring are in their 30’s. They are very proud, generous and welcoming people, with a tendency to show off.

Food is a blessing

This is where Lebanon really shows it’s potential. The Lebanese cuisine is an ancient one. Many dishes can be traced back to the eras of the Roman and Phoenician rule. These cultures dominated thousands of years ago. The Ottoman Empire left its mark, introducing cooking with lamb. Lastly, when France took control of Lebanon until 1943, it brought some of its desserts with it.

We are sure that many of you have heard, if not tried the glorious hummus. For those of you that haven’t, it is a dip or a spread made of blended chickpeas, sesame tahini, lemon juice, and garlic. It is a healthy substitute for meat and is rich in protein. Baba ghanouj is also well known. It is a savory dip made of char-grilled eggplant. Let’s not forget the falafel, small deep-fried patties made of particularly spiced ground chickpeas. For meat lovers, we have some good news. Lebanese cuisine excels in making shawarma, a sandwich with marinated meat skewered. And what is a meal without a dessert afterward? Baklava is surely the most famous and rightfully loved treat. They make it out of layered filo pastry filled with nuts and steeped in date syrup or honey.

A table filled with all kinds of delicious Lebanese dishes.
That doesn’t look half as bad now, does it?

Is it easy to get there?

Beirut International Airport is great for international travels. Additionally, regular flights from Middle East Airlines all over the world make moving to Lebanon much easier. Beirut Airport also holds an abundance of foreign airlines. If you are planning your trip from the United States of America, know that the conflicts with Syria might make your relocation an issue. The US government has warned that traveling to Lebanon is currently regarded as dangerous. Going to the Northern and Eastern borders is especially discouraged.

However, if you are lucky enough to catch a ride to Lebanon during peaceful times, there is no need to worry. It is a predominantly young country, with 61% of the people being anywhere from 15 to 65. A wide and varied range of cultures, religions and ethnic groups is bound to make you fall in love with the excitement everyday life brings.

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