This Is What Lebanon Was Like In The 1950s

Robert Zebib

In the 1950s, Lebanon had a crisis to deal with, a political one triggered by religious tensions in 1958 that led to the back-then president Camille Chamoun to call in the military intervention of the United States.

The tension started when, in 1956, Lebanon refused the request of Egypt to cut diplomatic ties with the western powers because of the conflicts surrounding the Suez Canal, which angered Egyptian president Abdel Nasser.

Rebellion in Tripoli, North Lebanon / Histclo

It further escalated when Chamoun showed closeness to the Baghdad Pact, which Nasser deemed a threat to Arab nationalism.

Lebanon’s prime minister at the time, Rashid Karami, took a stand of support with the Egyptian president and it reflected on the ground with religious tensions that escalated.

The American Army disembarking in Beirut, Operation Blue Bat, 1958- lebretro

Both American and Lebanese government forces teamed up to successfully recuperate the Port of Beirut and the Airport and restore peace in the country.

However, the decade of the 1950s in Lebanon wasn’t all that bad. Lebanon was entering its Golden Age, and here is a throwback in pictures:

Beirut, 1950s


At the American University of Beirut, 1953

Beirut Tram, Al-Basta, 1954

Beirut 1954

Normandy Hotel, Beirut 1950

Beirut bus station at Hotel d’Amerique in 1950

Baalbek in the 1950s

Beirut Martyr’s Square, known back then as Burj Square, 1950

Jounieh had a beautiful beach with an amazing backdrop of untouched green mountains, 1950

The southern city of Tyre in 1950

At the Burj Square, Beirut 1950s

Beirut Municipality in 1950

Jnah Beach, 1950s


Beirut Port, 1950

Cafe Farouk at Riyad El-Solh, 1951

Lebanon National Loterie, 1952

Beirut Tramway, Weygand Street, 1950

Photo credit Robert Zebib

The Lebanese 50 Liras in 1952 (Rizkallah!)

Nejmeh Square, Beirut 1950

The Hippodrome of Beirut, 1950s

Crowded tram passing through the busy street of Weygand, Beirut 1950

Shisha time! Beirut Raouche, 1955

The Presidential palace in Al-Qantari, Beirut, during the 1958 revolt

The Hippodrome of Beirut in 1959

At the Bristol Hotel in the 50s

The tramway passing through Al-Basta, Beirut 1955

Al-Sanayeh, Beirut in the 50s

Bekaa in 1957

The American University of Beirut, 1953

Chtaura, 1950s

Al-Tall street, Tripoli, 1950

Tripoli Souk, 1954

Cinema Rivoli, Beirut 1950s

Villagers of Bakhoun, North Lebanon, 1953

This is what Beirut looked like in 1955… in motion!

Lebanon’s earthquake, March 16th, 1956

A decade that saw the rise of Lebanon’s most loved diva to date: Fairouz!

in 1952, Fairouz made her first major hit with the song Itab, which instantly turned her into a regional star. In 1957, she held her first live performance at the Baalbeck International Festival where she was honored by President Camille Chamoun with the honor of “Cavalier”, the highest medal for artistic achievement.

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