Health & safety
The most obvious hazard in Beirut is the traffic, especially for pedestrians: parents with children may balk at the sight of a dual carriageway turned six-lane highway with no pedestrian crossing in sight. Moreover, look out for potholes, broken paving stones and loose electrical wiring on Beirut’s pavements. This is especially problematic at night as some areas of the city have poor or no street lighting.
Theft in Beirut is not a great problem, but it pays to be vigilant with your bags at busy places. It is also advisable to keep your bag on your non-curb-side shoulder when walking the streets, since there have been reports of handbag robberies by thieves riding motor scooters.
At the time of writing, much of Downtown was heavily guarded by armed police, along with tanks, machine guns and rolls of barbed wire. While this shouldn’t discourage you from wandering its pristine streets, prepare to have your bag checked at many Downtown intersections and carry your passport, in case you’re asked for ID.
Despite a strong police presence and no tangible threat to visitors, it’s a good idea to stay away from the Hezbollah ‘tent city’, which currently extends from the south of Place des Martyrs to the northern end of Rue Monot.
Beirut boasts several good hospitals, with facilities to rival any major European city.
American University of Beirut Hospital (350 000, 354 911; Rue Sourati) Considered one of the best hospitals in the Middle East, with English and French spoken.
Clemenceau Medical Center(372 888; Rue Clemenceau) Affiliated with John Hopkins International.
Hôtel-Dieu de France (615 300; www.hdf.usj.edu.lb; Rue Alfred Naccache, Achrafiye)
Rizk (200 800; Rue Zahar, Achrafiye)
St George’s Greek Hospital(585 700; Rue Rmeil, Achrafiye) Known locally as ‘Roum’.
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