Much of the terrain is mountainous; the Lebanon Mts., which run parallel to the coast, reach their highest point at Qurnet as-Sawda (10,131 ft/3,088 m); on the eastern border is the Anti-Lebanon range. Between the two mountain ranges lies the fertile valley of Al Biqa (avg. elev. 3,280 ft/1,000 m). The Orontes in the north and the Litani in the south are the main rivers. In addition to Beirut there are three ports, Tripoli in the north and Sidon (Saida) and Tyre (Sur) in the south.
About 95% of Lebanese are Arabs; Armenians are the principal minority. About 60% of the population is Muslim and about 40% is Christian, and each is divided into a number of subgroups, including Shiite and Sunni Muslims, Druze, and Maronites. Arabic is the official language; French, English, and Armenian are also spoken.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.