Nowadays, when we think of the Middle East, we're often met with a harsh juxtaposition between seemingly endless riches from the oil industry and the harsh brutality of conflict and war. We often forget the beautiful nature hiding between the sea and sand.
One of the oases of the region is Lebanon. Located between Syria and the Mediterranean Sea, with Israel to the South and Cyprus to the west, Lebanon is a relatively small country with only a little over 10 thousand square kilometres of land. But despite a small surface area, the country is home to numerous mountains, 225km stretch of coastline and scenic valleys. With everything located so closely, one could go skiing in the mountains and sunbathing at the beach within hours!
Its capital, Beirut, is one of the oldest cities in the world, being inhabited for more than 5,000 years. And the city alone is just a taste of the region's rich history. With mountains and the sea at the hand's reach, and the land so culturally saturated that people spend hours writing guides on how to properly explore it, it's not hard to see why Lebanon is called "the pearl of the middle east". It's no surprise that tourists would flock to see all the country's wonders.
However, a lot of things changed in the region in 2010 when the Syrian Civil War broke out. As Lebanon shares a border with Syria, it didn't take long before the ripples reached the country. While the government reported over 2 million tourists at the beginning of 2010, as soon as the war started, the number dropped by 38%. The neighbouring war has been nothing but disruptive for the Lebanese economy.
And while it's understandable that the conflict nearby scared people that wanted to visit Lebanon away, there's too much beauty to ignore. That is exactly what a 29-year-old photographer from Jezzine, Rami Rizk, is trying to show. In his 2018 photoseries "Lebanon like never seen before" Rizk showcases the beautiful landscape of the country, full of green trees spread across the mountains and valleys, cities knitted between land and sea, and the stunning architecture.
"I choose Lebanon because it's simply my land, my country, that I want to show the way I see it, and I want it to be perceived." the photographer told Bored Panda. If he could put together a message he is trying to convey with his photos it would be "love Lebanon because it's different than what you think. And that's what [he shows] in [his] captures".
Scroll down below to see the beauty that Rizk saw and captured for the world to see, and don't forget to comment and vote for your favorites.