|لُبْنَان – Lubnān|
|Road network length||6.198 km|
|Length of highway network||160 km|
|License plate code||RL|
Lebanon (Arabic: لبنان, Lubnān), in full the Lebanese Republic, is a small country in western Asia. The country is located on the east coast of the Mediterranean Sea and has 6.8 million inhabitants, and is approximately the size of a quarter of the Netherlands.
According to ABBREVIATIONFINDER, Lebanon is located on the Mediterranean Sea, bordering Syria to the north and east and Israel to the south. The country measures 200 kilometers along its longitudinal axis from north to south and a maximum of 75 kilometers inland from the coast. Large parts of Lebanon are mountainous, right up to the coast. The inland Bekaa Valley is flatter and lies at an altitude of 700 to 1000 meters. The largest mountain ranges are Lebanon (maximum 3093 meters) and Anti-Lebanon (maximum 2814 meters). The 3,093 meter high Qurnat as Sawda’ is the highest point in Lebanon and also the entire Levant region. The mountains in the west are lower but are characterized by many height differences. The lower coastal strip is usually only a few kilometers wide. The coastal strip has become more urbanized.
The country has a Mediterranean climate, with hot summers and fairly cool winters, especially at higher elevations. There is still quite a bit of precipitation in Lebanon, so that cultivation of the land on a large scale is possible. The capital Beirut receives 825 mm of rainfall per year. The average maximum temperature in Beirut ranges from 17°C in winter to 31°C in summer. In winter, the mountains regularly snow and Lebanon has ski areas. Most rivers are variable in discharge and seasonal. Most waters drain directly into the Mediterranean, but a few flow through the Bekaa Valley to Syria or Israel.
Lebanon’s population was estimated at 6 million in 2016, but no official census has been conducted since 1932. See Lebanon population density. Lebanon is the most culturally diverse country in the Middle East, although over 90% of the population is Arab, the country is split almost 50/50 into Muslims and Christians or Druze. The Muslims, in turn, are divided almost 50/50 into Shia and Sunni. Arabic is the official national language in Lebanon, but French is widely spoken as a second language. Young people more often speak English as a second language.
Lebanon has a relatively large diaspora, especially in Latin America. The largest group lives in Brazil. Relatively large groups of Lebanese also live in Canada and the United States. It is estimated that more Lebanese live outside Lebanon than in the country itself. Most Lebanese outside Lebanon are Lebanese Christians. The Lebanese diaspora is relatively assimilated into their new countries and often no longer speaks Arabic.
Lebanon has two major cities, the capital Beirut is estimated to have about 2.2 million inhabitants in the urban agglomeration, but accurate figures are lacking. The northern city of Tripoli has an urban area of approximately 750,000 inhabitants. In practice, quite large parts of the countryside are somewhat urbanized due to the difficult terrain.
Lebanon has a free economy with relatively little government intervention. The economy makes extensive use of the US dollar. The largest exports are mining products such as gold, diamonds and jewelry. Lebanon has traditionally been a trading nation. Nearly a fifth of the Lebanese economy is made up of diaspora returns. Unlike many other countries in the Middle East, Lebanon is not an oil-producing country. The banking sector is relatively large. Lebanon also has the largest share of agricultural land of all Arab countries. This is largely to provide for their own food supply, but fruit is also exported.
The area of what is now Lebanon was known in ancient times as Canaan. The Phoenicians were a seafaring people who established settlements and trading posts throughout the Mediterranean. From 64 BC the area came under the rule of the Roman Empire. Later the area was under the rule of the Ottoman Empire. At the end of the First World War in 1918, the Ottoman Empire was partitioned and the area of what is now Lebanon came under French mandate. Lebanon gained independence from France in 1943 and has a long history of instability with neighboring Israel, with larger-scale military conflict in 1982 and 2006. Internally, Lebanon is also regularly unsettled. Between 1975 and 1990, there was a civil war that ruined Lebanon’s reputation. Despite its small size, Lebanon has had a relatively large influence and fame in the world.
The road network of Lebanon is not very extensive due to the mountainous nature of the country. The main road runs along the coast, from Naqoura on the hermetically sealed border with Israel via Saida, Beirut and Tripoli to the border with Syria, towards Tartus and Latakia. This route is over larger parts as an express roadexpanded; there is hardly any question of a fully-fledged highway, despite the fact that the well-known highway sign is used. Lebanon has approximately 160 kilometers of express road, and the road networks in the larger cities are also fairly developed, with grade separated intersections and tunnels under intersections. However, due to the high population density, the capacity is insufficient and traffic jams are the order of the day, especially in and around Beirut. It also lacks good ring roads, such as at Beirut and Tripoli. Only a few roads run inland, with the route to Chtoura being the main inland route. In Chtoura this road splits into two routes, one heading north into the Bekaa Valley to Zahlé, Baalbek and finally the border crossing to Homs in Syria, and one east to the Syrian border at Anjar. This is a regular main road until the border, from the border a motorway runs to the Syrian capital Damascus. This is Lebanon’s main border crossing and the main route between Beirut and Damascus.
Due to the current situation in Syria and the closed border with Israel, there is little international traffic in Lebanon. There is a ferry connection between Tripoli and the Turkish port of Taşucu.
The single-digit routes form the main roads, with routes 1 to 3 radiating from Beirut. Routes 4,5,6 and 9 are other major roads. The two-digit routes are minor and zoned, with the zone based on the first number. Zone 1 is the north, zone 2 the center and zone 3 the south.
Road numbers are not indicated on the signage.
The signage consists of green signs with white letters on motorways and blue signs with white letters on other roads. The font used is Interstate Gothic. Signage is in both French and Arabic. British-style fork carriages are used on motorways. However, the exit signs have a French model again. Signposts also look like a French model.