There are many factors that draw tourists or people in general to a specific country; the nightlife, the pristine beaches, and the mouth-watering cuisine are almost always part of the list.
But, what plays an even more important role is the country's history, which explains why museums usually top traveler's to-do lists.
Numerous blasts from the past are unraveled through a single visit to a majestic building filled with antiquities and artifacts. Lebanon is home to a number of museums that are worth putting down on your "things to do" when visiting the country.
1. The Sursock Museum
The Nicolas Ibrahim Sursock Museum, a modern and contemporary art museum, is located in the heart of Achrafieh. It first opened its doors in 1961 but underwent major renovations in recent years. The restoration process saw the addition of underground exposition spaces, providing the area with a platform for the exhibition and discourse of artworks.
One of the museum's main artistic attractions is the temporary exhibitions of local and international artists which take place all year round. Moreover, the permanent collection is rich and varied. From the Salon d' Automne exhibitions to earlier-20th-century portraits and landscapes, the museum is a must-visit.
2. The Gibran Khalil Gibran Museum
Gibran Khalil Gibran, a writer, poet, philosopher, and painter, is one of Lebanon's most distinguished figures. So, it's only expected to see a beautifully crafted museum in his honor.
Did you know The Gibran Museum was originally the Mar Sarkis sanctuary, a grotto for monks seeking shelter in the 7th century? In 1926, Gibran bought it and turned it into his final resting place. It later became his tomb, and then ultimately became a museum.
The monastery houses a large collection of his paintings as well as content from Gibran's studio in New York. His furniture, personal possessions, documents, and original paintings were all moved to his hometown Bcharreh, located north of Beirut.
3. The Silk Museum
The Silk Museum, located just below the village of Bsous in the Aley district of Mount Lebanon, is especially intriguing to avid history buffs.
The institution was initially a silk factory, owned by the Fayad family for around 50 years until 1945. Today, the museum showcases the intricate process of silk-making in thorough detail. It also highlights Lebanon's 1,500-year-old history of silk-making.
The building has survived many wars and underwent major renovation works in 2000.
4. Modern and Contemporary Art Museum
You wouldn't even notice the Modern and Contemporary Art Museum, located on the hilltop of the northern town of Alita, because of its positioning inside a large factory compound. But, it's a place worth your time, we promise.
The museum exhibits an assortment of sculptures and art installations created by both nationals and Lebanon-based expats. The compound space is made of two adjacent venues. The first one exhibits sculptures, whereas the second one is all about installation art.
5. Audi Mosaic Museum
Villa Audi, located in the heart of Achrafieh, exhibits a wide mosaic collection privately owned by the Audi Family. The museum offers visitors a unique experience with its two floors of exquisite mosaics and other fascinating sculptures.
6. National Museum of Beirut
It's called the "national" museum of the country's capital city for a reason, and it's one of the first places you should visit if you're staying in Beirut. Located on the former Green Line, the museum (otherwise known as Mathaf) tells the story of Lebanon through archeological and historic artifacts that stood the test of time.
Offering a documented look at Lebanon's history, the museum gives visitors the chance to tune in to a 12-minute documentary, detailing how curators managed to maintain the museum's collection during the country's civil war.
7. Soap Museum
All-natural enthusiasts, listen up! Located in the southern city of Saida, the current museum, Khan Al Saboun, was initially a soap factory dating back to the 17th century. The historic institution offers a glance at the history of the traditional hammam (bath) rituals. The museum provides visitors with an insider look into the process of olive oil soap-making. You can even buy organic products while you're there.
Inside the museum, visitors can explore a section solely dedicated to artifacts found during excavations. It underwent renovations by the Audi Foundation and officially opened to the public in the year 2000.