Beirut has a unique and vibrant character, where centuries-old layers of history and civilizations are juxtaposed with newly rebuilt areas. Although lighter on "sights" than many capitals, it presents a fascinating mix of ancient ruins, elegant French architecture and well-preserved museums. This war-torn city certainly can't be described as pretty -- bullet-ridden relics from the civil war are there for all to see -- but it has a fun-loving spirit. Beirut doesn't hide its past but wears it as a badge of honor -- and keeps on partying.

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