Lebanon in the rain – Beirut

When Kath arrived in Lebanon on 31 October 09, so did the rain. And when she left 5 days later, the rain too left!  We spent our first full day, 1 November 09, in Beirut where we visited Martyr’s Square, the rebuilt Downtown area, the Corniche and the ABC Shopping Mall in Achrafieh.

Martyrs’ Square

We spent the day in Beirut generally taking it easy. On leaving the hotel in Achrafieh we set off for the downtown area, where our first stop was Martyrs’ Square.

During the Lebanese Civil War (approx. 1975 to 1990), Martyrs’ Square was on the front (Green) line between East and West Beirut and was reduced to a wasteland.

Martyrs' Square before the Civil War
Martyrs’ Square before the Civil War
Martyr's Square Today
Martyr’s Square Today

Downtown Area

From there we went into the rebuilt CBD/downtown area to meet my colleague Martin for lunch, which we ate in a restaurant near the Lebanese Parliament at Place de L’Etoile. Lebanese food, which I like, but not outstanding enough to recommend the restaurant.

Place de L'Etoile
Place de L’Etoile
Lebanese Parliament
Lebanese Parliament
Clock Tower in Place de l'Etoile
Clock Tower in Place de l’Etoile

After lunch we walked through the downtown where visitors can find cathedrals, mosques and roman ruins as well as many cafes, restaurants and shops. The rebuilding is generally attractive under the direction of Solidere. We passed by the exposed ruins of the Roman baths on our way to the Corniche.

Greek Orthodox Cathedral
Greek Orthodox Cathedral
Looking over Roman ruins to Mohammad Al Amin Mosque and adjacent Maronite Cathedral
Looking over Roman ruins to Mohammad Al Amin Mosque and adjacent Maronite Cathedral
Roman Baths in the Downtown
Roman Baths in the Downtown

The Corniche

On our way Kath was surprised to see a tall building (close to the Intercontinental Phoenicia) still unoccupied and scarred from the civil war, a sight which is becoming much less common than when I first visited Beirut in 2001.

We walked to the east end of the Corniche. Rafik Hariri, who has lent his name to Beirut International Airport, was assasinated here in 2005.

From there we returned to the downtown on our way back to the hotel and walked through the newly opened Souks. The Souks were slightly disappointing in that they’d opened with very few shops – this risks disappointing visitors who will then be reluctant to return.

This tower remains unctouched since the end of the Civil War
This tower remains unctouched since the end of the Civil War
Beirut Corniche
The Corniche looking East
The Souks
The Souks

ABC Shopping Mall

We ate our evening meal in the ABC Shopping Centre in Achrafieh, which has a good selection of restaurants where you can eat out of doors in pleasant surroundings.

Orientation

See where we went on the map below:

View Beirut in a larger map

(End Post)

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