The guidebook publishers have placed the capital on a par with Shanghai, 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 cites 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 plagues 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 back to its former glory.
Other cities on the new list range from the sedate Belgian city of Antwerp to the tough Scottish industrial city of Glasgow. The Chinese boom-town of Shanghai, Portuguese capital Lisbon and Polish capital Warsaw all appear, as well as Switzerland’s second city, Zurich, Brazil’s Sao Paulo and Mexico City.