8 Abandoned Places In Lebanon You Should Check Out If You’re Feeling Adventurous

@livelovebeirut @livelove.jezzine

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Heritage houses and cultural sites in Lebanon have always been threatened. While it may seem difficult to protect them, recognizing their significance can play a crucial role.

This list highlights several abandoned places that have played a significant role in history as a way to keep their memory alive.

The Rose House, Manara

Originally a lodge before 1882, Mohammad Ardati built two upper floors and lived there with his family. During the 20th century, many dignitaries stayed at The Rose House with their families, most notably General De Gaulle.

Numerous painters were residents of the house and their work was exhibited there. Although the house has undeniably played a significant role in Lebanese heritage and is reminiscent of the Civil War, the future of the house is in danger.

Bhamdoun’s Abandoned Synagogue, Bhamdoun

This place of worship, also known as “The Last Temple”, belonged to the Lebanese Jewish Community. It was built in the early 20th century and it is one of Lebanon’s four largest synagogues. Despite being abandoned, the building’s structure is still intact.

Bhamdoun used to be a summer residence for more than 4,000 Jews before tensions began escalating in the lead-up to the Lebanese Civil War.

The Aquarium, Batroun

This abandoned structure that now blends with the urban fabric of the city was intended to be an aquarium. The construction of the building was postponed due to the Civil War.

The site that attracts the most visitors is the aquarium tower due to its height and fascinating skylight.

Access to enter is denied but the walls have been covered with colorful graffiti that can be seen from far away. The fate of the structure continues to be unknown.

Beirut’s Grand Theatre

One of the final glimpses into pre-war Beirut is the Grand Theater, a cultural icon and historical landmark.

The theater was constructed in the 1930s and was a venue for performances of all kinds from the Middle East and Europe. Like many other buildings in Beirut, it was abandoned after the Civil War and plans to restore it have been delayed since the 1990s.

Omar Naim created an award-winning documentary called “A Tale of Beirut” that looks into the Lebanese Civil War through the events of the Grand Theatre.

Rachid Karami International, Tripoli

The forum of Rachid Karami was built by the famous architect Oscar Niemeyer in 1968 to be a trade fair. It includes an experimental theater, a water tank, an outdoor amphitheater, pavilions, and tropical gardens. 

Recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, its structure is reflective of the modern architecture of the 20th century. The entrance is now restricted to Tripoli citizens to enjoy the spacious area that is being very well preserved.

Farid Serhal Palace, Jezzine

Although not completely abandoned and still under construction, this huge palace is the ongoing dream project of the poet Joseph Matar that he developed with the help of Jezzine’s parliamentary representative Farid Serhal.

Serhal accumulated countless books on Greek and Roman sculpture as well as Byzantine, Arab, Italian, French, and Spanish Renaissance art styles. If you go inside, the influence of these designs and architectural styles is noticeable.

Opening times are only by appointment with Joe Harfoush.

MACAM, Alita

If you go up the highway from Jbeil, you will stumble upon an old factory that has been turned into a museum to exhibit Lebanese sculptures. Next to the museum are two abandoned limestone factories.

Visitors can still see traces of how the lime used to be manufactured. The building overlooks a beautiful panoramic view of Jbeil and Jounieh.

Takeddin el-Solh’s Mansion, Hamra

The residence of Prime Minister Takeddin el-Solh, located on Spears Street in Hamra, is closer in size to a small castle. Unfortunately, it is now littered with trash, as well as construction equipment due to a nearby construction project.

The front walls are now covered with graffiti, but most noticeable is the smell of the garbage. What used to be a beautiful mansion is now disregarded by most pedestrians. Nonetheless, the building is covered with vines and trees and still looks stunning.

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