Once nicknamed The Paris of the Middle East for its tourist attractions before civil war broke out in 1975, Beirut is the capital city for the Lebanese Republic. Decades later, travel warnings persist due to car bombings and other acts of political violence. Nevertheless, Beirut’s strategic location at the midpoint of Lebanon’s western Mediterranean coast makes the Port of Beirut the nation’s largest and most commercial seaport.
Mercer’s 2016 Cost of Living rankings benchmark how much a new resident in a city has to pay for products compared to New York using the US dollar as the base currency. For 2016, Beirut ranks as the 50th costliest city dropping 6 places from 2015 when Mercer recognized Beirut as the world’s 44th most expensive city for newly relocated citizens. Based on commentary from travel site Atlas & Boots, much of Antananarivo’s cost improvement was due to the surging American dollar.
Capital Facts for Beirut, Lebanon: Quick Reference
Capital landmarks: National Museum of Beirut, Surosck Museum, Mohammad Al-Amin Mosque and Pigeons’ Rock (Rock of Raouché)
Below, you will find 10 of the most famous people born in Beirut, Lebanon:
- Keanu Reeves, actor (born Sep. 2, 1964)
- Steve Kerr, NBA basketball coach (born Sep. 27, 1965)
- Mika, pop singer (born Aug. 18, 1983)
- Amal Clooney, high-profile lawyer (born Feb. 3, 1978)
- Elie Saab, fashion designer (born Jul. 4, 1964)
- Massari, singer (born Dec. 10, 1980)
- Dom Joly, comedian (born Nov. 15, 1967)
- Maya Diab, pop singer (born Nov. 12, 1983)
- Zuhair Murad, fashion designer (born Jul. 15, 1971)
- John Dolmayan, rock band drummer (born Jul. 15, 1973)
Note: Data for our Famous People tab was sourced from Google searches mostly targeting published Wikipedia articles specific to each person’s name.
Demonym for a Beirut resident: Beiruti
Population: 361,366 (Beirut city)
Density: 9,034 people per square mile (3,488 per square kilometer)
Population: 2,224,000 (Greater Beirut)
Density: 8,558 people per square mile (3,304 per square kilometer)
Population: 6,237,738 (Lebanon)
Density: 1,579 people per square mile (610 per square kilometer)
GDP: US$85.2 billion as of October 2016 (for Lebanon, per WorldsRichestCountries.com)
GDP per person: $18,524
Note: The above country-level GDP metrics are on a Purchasing Power Parity basis and are in U.S. dollars. Credible city GDP statistics for Beirut were unavailable.
Official currency used in Beirut: Lebanese pound
Atlas & Boots, The World’s Most Expensive Cities for Expats 2016. Accessed on February 16, 2017
Brookings Institution, Global Metro Monitor Report (includes GDP data). Accessed on December 7, 2016
Central Intelligence Agency, World Factbook, Field Listing: Major Urban Areas. Accessed on December 7, 2016
Central Intelligence Agency, World Factbook, Middle East: Lebanon. Accessed on February 16, 2017
CityMetric, Where are largest cities in the world? 2015 edition. Accessed on December 7, 2016
Demographia, World Urban Area, 12th Annual Edition. Accessed on December 7, 2016
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on February 16, 2017
Mercer, 2016 Cost of Living Rankings. Accessed on February 16, 2017
Official Government Website, Beirut Government. Accessed on December 7, 2016
Wikimedia Commons, City Flags. Accessed on December 7, 2016
Note: Some city flags were unavailable. If so, attribution belongs to Wikimedia Commons for pertinent country flags.
Wikipedia, Beirut. Accessed on December 7, 2016
Wikipedia, Greater Beirut. Accessed on December 7, 2016
Wikipedia, Lebanon. Accessed on February 16, 2017
Land area for Beirut city proper is about 40 square miles (104 square kilometers). While census data is sparse, an estimated 361,366 people lived within Beirut’s city limits during 2012.
Greater Beirut is a much larger geographic entity, comprising Beirut city plus towns and villages in five districts of the Mount Lebanon Governorate (Matn, Baabda, Aley, Chouf and Keserwan). Covering 260 square miles (673 square kilometers), Greater Beirut was home to approximately 2.2 million people in 2015.
At the country level, Lebanon’s land area covers 3,950 square miles (10,230 square kilometers). The national population count was 6.2 million inhabitants as of July 2016.
Population density is modestly higher within Lebanon’s capital city with an average 9,000 Beirutis per square mile (3,500 per square kilometer).
Within the larger Greater Beirut urban agglomeration, density diminishes to an average 8,600 people per square mile (3,300 per square kilometer).
For Lebanon overall, population density drops to an average 1,579 inhabitants per square mile (610 per square kilometer).
Lebanon exited from the League of Nations mandate under French administration on November 22, 1943. Lebanese celebrate Independence Day as a public holiday each November 22.