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After a period of civil war the city has bounced back and is once again a bustling and cosmopolitan capital of fashion, commerce, and culture. As a result of its multiple historical changes, today's Beirut city guide feels like a combination of many different cities rolled into one. In its heady old town, you'll find exquisite architecture like the Ottoman Majidiya Mosque. Neighbourhoods like Achrafiye are young and trendy, with quirky shops and hip bars. Cap it all off with the tranquillity of the deep blue Mediterranean viewed from the Corniche at sunset for a relaxing visit. From fine dining to street food, restaurants in Beirut provide a feast for the senses. Don’t miss the farmers' market at Souk el Tayeb, which is filled to the brim with freshly squeezed juices, fig jam, and tart cheese. Visit "Little Armenia" in Bourj Hammoud for 24-hour food stalls. For upscale fine dining, visit the trendy lounges of Gemmayzeh.
Many are drawn to Beirut for its hedonistic nightlife, but its cultural heritage is also worth exploring. Don't miss a trip to the National Museum of Beirut, which is stocked with artefacts spanning thousands of years. A walk through the city's centre allows you to admire its innovative architecture, including the former Green Line which divided East and West Beirut during the civil war. You'll see faded Ottoman mansions next to ornate mosques such as the Mohammed al-Amin Mosque in Martyr's Square. Marvel at the colourful stained glass of the Sursock Museum, which is lit up at night to further enhance its kaleidoscopic beauty. The Beirut Exhibition Centre or Beirut Art Centre are the perfect places to start, both are industrial sized spaces featuring the latest movers and shakers.The Hay Festival is a celebration of intellectual thought, culture and the arts, with writers and artists giving talks around the city. Runners from all over the world attend the Beirut Marathon each fall, with over 70 nationalities represented.
Beirut is served by Lebanon's only international airport, Beirut Rafik Hariri International. It's located just 10-15 minutes away from the city centre. Although there isn't any public transportation to or from the airport, it's well served by inexpensive taxis. Within the city, there is a convenient network of public buses operated by the Lebanese Commuting Company and OCFTC. These will take you to the majority of tourist destinations within the city. For a cheap form of Beirut transport, try hailing a service taxi. These are shared with three other passengers, all of whom pay a flat fee for the service.