Often called “Paris of the Middle East”, Beirut, the capital of Lebanon, is a thriving hotspot for shopping, socializing and sightseeing, despite many wars and unrest. The city has been rebuilt several times, with modern architecture sharing space with Ottoman and colonial French buildings. Bustling streets such as Hamra and Ashrafieh provide hopping nightlife while the National Museum and the Gibran Museum give visitors a taste of the city’s history. The Corniche is the place for activities like jogging and biking. Beirut was settled more than 5,000 years ago. Its name derives from the Canaanite-Phoenician be’erot (“wells”), referring to the underground water table that is still tapped by the local inhabitants for general use. Another version is that the city was named after the Phoenician daughter of Adonis and Aphrodite, Beroe. Excavations in the downtown area have unearthed layers of Phoenician, Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine, Arab, Crusader and Ottoman remains. The first historical reference to Beirut dates from the 14th century BC, when it is mentioned in the cuneiform tablets of the Amarna letters, three letters that Ammunira of Biruta (Beirut) sent to the pharaoh of Egypt. Biruta is also referenced in the letters from Rib-Hadda, king of Byblos (also known as Jbeil). The oldest settlement was on an island in the river that progressively silted up. The city was known in antiquity as Berytus. This name was taken in 1934 for the archaeological journal published by the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at the American University of Beirut.