National Museum of Beirut

Lonely Planet review

This must-see museum situated on the former Green Line has an impressive, but not overwhelming, collection of archaeological artefacts, and offers a great overview of Lebanon’s history and the civilisations that made their home here.

Highlights include some beautifully observed Phoenician marble statues of baby boys (from Echmoun, 5th century BC), lovely 3rd- and 4th-century AD mosaics, Byzantine gold jewellery (found in a jar under the floor of a villa in Beirut) and the famous, much-photographed Phoenician gilded bronze figurines from Byblos. A floor plan is distributed free with tickets, or you can opt for a more informative written guide (LL10,000) from the gift shop.

The museum screens a fascinating 12-minute documentary in its theatrette (ground fl; h9am-4pm) in English hourly or French on demand, detailing how curators saved the collection during the civil war and subsequently restored it to its former glory.

To get to the museum, walk 15 minutes south from Sodeco Sq along Rue de Damas, or hail a service taxi and ask for the Musée or the Hippodrome.