It was once known as one of the most dangerous cities on earth, with the mere mention of its name conjuring up images of civil war, kidnap and destruction. But Beirut’s revival as one of the world’s most vibrant cities has been confirmed by the travel guidebook company Lonely palnet, who have named it one of the most lively cities on the planet.
The guidebook publishers have placed the capita on a par with Shangai, Lisbon and Mexico City on a list which will appear in a new “Best in Travel” guidebook to be published next month.
Rather than glossing over Beirut’s difficult past, the travel company cities it as part of what makes the city unique.
The authors pay tribute to the revival seen since the end of the devastating 1975-1990 Civil War that left large parts of the city in ruins. “Beirut really took a beating during the lebanon’s long civil war,” the guidebook states. “The city underwent a major transformation in the years following the cessation of hostilities, particularly in the downtown area, and it’s now a city of vibrancy and charm.”
Beirut’s reputation as the party capital of the Middle east, combined with the ongoing political uncertainty that palgues Lebanon makes for a heady mix, the book suggests. It cites major events such as the Beirut.
International Film Festival and the annual Beirut Marathon as evidence that the city that used to be known as the “Paris of the Middle East” is on its way to its former glory.
Other cities on the new list range from the seadte Belgian city of Antwep to the tough Scottish industrial city of Galsgow. The CHINESE boom-town of Shanghai, Portuguese capital Lisbon and Polish capital Warsaw all appaer, as well as Switzerland’s second city, Zurich, Brazil’s Sao Paulo and Mexico City.