Monday, October 11, 2010

Loving Beirut

I have to admit that I was not a Beirut enthusiast, I have been there many times over the years with my last visit in 2003, and always felt tired and anxious. It was always crowded, very noisy and somehow it felt incomplete. I might have held images from childhood that are no longer there or maybe I kept forgetting that it was a city in progress trying hard to rebuild itself after almost three decades of war. What I saw there this time was an amazing transformation after my seven year absence. I now think that Beirut (especially down town) is among the most beautiful cities.

There are still the areas that carry the scars of war, but they only serve to make the new, or renovated areas look even better. The juxtaposition of the very old and the very new is mesmerizing and very artistic adding a lot of authenticity to a city that could have easily been pulled down after the war and totally rebuilt from scratch. They chose to keep the old, rebuild it and add modern touches to show that this is an ancient city looking forward to the future. There is beauty and inspiration everywhere and the amount of detailing is amazing.

The Solidaire is the old city centre that was rebuilt and is now the heart of the city, with the best shops, restaurants and financial institutions located there. All of the following pictures are from that area.

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PA060189_resize Old buildings renovated to look exactly the way they were when they were built. Buildings in the city centre can be more than a hundred years old.

PA060191_resize The beautiful Hermes shop located in an old building left almost as is with a very modern glass structure on top.

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 PA060199_resizeChurches and Mosques of Beirut

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All the buildings in the city centre are incredibly detailed, mostly very French looking but with hints of Islamic architecture such as the pointed Islamic arch and motifs like this one above.

 PA080240_resize Some old buildings are waiting to be bought and renovated to their original glamour, like this one which still holds it’s original details.

10 comments:

Michelle said...

Tareq...this is beautiful...I can hear the call to prayer, and I have never been to your area of the world...the details remind me of Moorish design studies in school, the overlooks, arabesques, minurettes (sorry for the spelling), geometric tile without references to figures, courtyards ....0h I dream of seeing this all one day in person :)

Best...hope you are well, been busy here...thanks for that on Canadian Thanksgiving.

M

Francine Gardner said...

thank you for these beautiful images.
I have wanted to visit this city for a long time...

The Zhush said...

Gorgeous architecture...thanks for posting these here!

DesignTies said...

Thank you for sharing these beautiful pictures of Beirut. I had no idea that there's such wonderful architecture there. We're so used to seeing the ravages of war, so it's so great to see that Beirut is being rebuilt and looking good!!

Kelly

Karena said...

Tareq I really had no idea of the beauty of this city. The images you have shown are just stunning. Thank you for opening my eyes!

I have a Luxurious New Giveaway on my site....Come and enter!!

Xoxo
Karena
Art by Karena

MEADE DESIGN GROUP said...

Fun! I wish to visit Beirut one day - Love the Heremes Building - Stunning juxtaposition of styles.

I love seeing these cities through your eyes.

Kelly @
JAX does design
said...

Tareq, just want to let you know that I have a new blog. I hope you'll come by and check it out :-)

Kelly

Ann said...

Those pics are wonderful...

The city looks really interesting and they have Hermes store... I'm sure to like it there:)

Donna @ dh designs said...

Beautiful images Tareq! Thank you so much for sharing!

Macarena - Chic et Posh said...

Wou Tarek! So beautiful images! Your blog is a jewel! I love your trained eye for posh details! Huge Hug from Mexico! XoXo :)

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