Lebanon is officially the Republic of Lebanon or the Lebanese Republic, is a country in Western Asia. It is located between Syria to the north and east and Israel to the south, while Cyprus lies to its west across the Mediterranean Sea; its 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 diversity. Lebanon is a developing country, ranking 92nd on the Human Development Index and among the highest in the Arab world outside of the oil-rich economies of the Persian Gulf. It has been classified as an upper middle income state.
Lebanon shares many of the cultural characteristics of the Arab world, yet it has attributes that differentiate it from many of its Arab neighbors. Its rugged, mountainous terrain has served throughout history as an asylum for diverse religious and ethnic groups and for political dissidents. Lebanon is one of the most densely populated countries in the Mediterranean area and has a high rate of literacy.