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Lebanon is bounded on the north and east by Syria, on the west by the Mediterranean, and on the south by Israel.Lebanon consists of two mountain chains, the Lebanon and the ante-Lebanon; a narrow coastal strip, where all the major cities lie; and a fertile plain, the Bekaa valley, which lies between the two mountain chains and provides most of the local agricultural produce.During Lent, Christians eat meatless dishes and at Barbara (Halloween) they eat a variety of wheat-based dishes. Although Lebanon produces and exports much of its agricultural produce, it still imports much of what its inhabitants consume, such as rice and some vegetables.Since most people live in city apartments, the only Lebanese who grow their own food live in mountain villages and some coastal towns. Private property is very common and encouraged in Lebanon, although the government still owns most public services.Lebanon has seen many invasions, which introduced new cultures and languages.The Canaanites, the first known settlers in the country, spoke a Semitic language.Later, France gave Lebanon a parliamentary system and, for the first time in the Middle East, created a nation where Christians had a strong political presence: each government office was apportioned to a representative of the country's main sects, with the presidency reserved for the Maronite Christians.
The Lebanese consider eating out a social and almost aesthetic experience.
These ties persisted and grew stronger, especially in the eighteenth century, and were a major factor in the creation of the modern Lebanon.
After World War II, Lebanon was placed under French mandate.
On numerous occasions religious diversity has eclipsed the sense of belonging to a common state.
When the civil war erupted in the mid-1970s, all formerly suppressed differences and incongruent loyalties emerged and came to dominate the political arena, fuel hatred, and provide an easy ground for outside powers to interfere in the country's affairs. Under the Ta'if agreement the civil war ended, the Christians lost some of their political power, and a new government of technocrats came into power with reconstruction highest on its agenda.