Lebanon (/ˈlɛbənɒn, -nən/ (About this soundlisten); Arabic: لبنان, romanized: Lubnān, Lebanese Arabic pronunciation: [lɪbˈneːn]), officially known as the Lebanese Republic (Arabic: الجمهورية اللبنانية, romanized: al-Jumhūrīyah al-Lubnānīyah, Lebanese Arabic pronunciation: [lˈʒʊmhuːrijje lˈlɪbneːnijje]), is a country in the Levant region of Western Asia, and the transcontinental region of the Middle East. It is bordered by Syria to the north and east and Israel to the south, while Cyprus lies west across the Mediterranean Sea. Lebanon’s location at the crossroads of the Mediterranean Basin and the Arabian hinterland has contributed to its rich history and shaped a cultural identity of religious and ethnic diversity. At just 10,452 km2 (4,036 mi2), it is the smallest recognized sovereign state on the mainland Asian continent. The official language, Arabic, is the most common language spoken by the citizens of Lebanon.
Beirut (/beɪˈruːt/ bay-ROOT; Arabic: بيروت, romanized: About this soundBayrūt; French: Beyrouth, pronounced [bɛʁut]) is the capital and largest city of Lebanon. As of 2014, Greater Beirut has a population of 2.2 million, which makes it the third-largest city in the Levant region and the thirteenth-largest in the Arab world. The city is situated on a peninsula at the midpoint of Lebanon’s Mediterranean coast. Beirut has been inhabited for more than 5,000 years, making it one of the oldest cities in the world. The first historical mention of Beirut is found in the Amarna letters from the New Kingdom of Egypt, which date to the 15th century BC.