Ever wondered what Lebanon before the war was like? After the 45th anniversary of the civil war, we decided to take a trip to the past and see what Lebanon was like before those days.
#1 Jounieh, 1950
As seen in the pictures (swipe for the original), Lebanon’s pollution problem was non-existent. The beach was clear and clean from waste, plastic bottles, and candy wrappers.
#2 Araya Train Station, 1968
A 408km railway once connected cities across Lebanon. The train stations have been inactive since the days of the war. Some were destroyed or removed to build over, and others still remain as historic relics. This specific train station in Araya is sometimes used as a filming location.
#3 Beirut Raouche, 1966
The Raouche Rocks have always been a sight of attraction, but how much fame is too much? Being once a quiet place to relax, this has now become one of the busiest corners in Beirut – a true tourist location.
#4 Barakat Building, Beirut Sodeco, 1971
The Barakat building has been restored and is now a museum named Beit Beirut where many artists showcase their projects. It has become a cultural center celebrating the history of Beirut.
#5 Tripoli, 1971
Tripoli was once famous for its ample orchards of lemons and oranges which aroma hovered all over the city, mingling with the sweet scent of jasmine that abounded in the gardens and balconies.
#6 American University Hospital, 1955
The American University Hospital (AUH) is now known as American University Medical Center (AUBMC). It is one of the best hospitals in Lebanon.
#7 Beirut International Airport, 1962
Before being destroyed in the civil war, the airport was known as Beirut International Airport. Today, it is called Rafik Hariri International Airport as a tribute to the former prime minister who rebuilt it.
#8 Manara, 1971
Al-Manara touted the view of open space with greenery, which has now been exchanged with tall buildings and heavy traffic.
#9 International College of Beirut, 1962
International College of Beirut (IC) is still a prestigious school today and is proud to have brought up many successful graduates.
#10 Martyrs’ Square, Beirut, 1960s
Martyrs’ Square was a popular center where you could find buses or taxis, have coffee at a cafe, visit its small hotels and cinemas. During the war, it became the point that divided the city in half.
A competition was launched to design a new square and open it to the sea. Today, the square is a couple of parking lots devoid of the greenery and liveliness it used to have. It has recently become the center for the October 17 revolution.
#11 Man in the market, 1969
The traditional flat-topped red hat called the Fez or “tarboosh” was commonly worn by men in Lebanon. Here you can see a man wearing one and reading a newspaper in the market. Some souks in Lebanon retained that old souk style, such at the souks in Tripoli.
#12 Beirut Gold Souk, 1972
The souks of Beirut, like Souk al-Tawileh and Souk al-Jamil, were frequented by Lebanese and European shoppers alike. This is the Lebanese-born model Mona Ross in the Beirut Goldsmith’s souk. Fashion trends from the 70s have been making a comeback in recent years.
#13 AUB Student, 1966
An elegant student posing on campus between classes. Knee-length skirts were the latest dresscode of fashion forward young ladies, especially in fashion hubs like Beirut.
#14 St. George Hotel, 1967
Built in the late 1920s, the Saint George Hotel was alive and bustling until being severely damaged in the civil war, then again during the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.
#15 MEA Check-in Counter, 1969
The Middle East Airlines (MEA) check-in counter at Beirut International Airport looks completely different today.
Let that simplicity fool you not. Beirut airport was back then as active as the capital that was a magnet of entertainment, fashion, art, a venue for international movie shootings, and the regular host of numerous celebrities and prominent visitors.
And here is what Lebanon “in motion” was like in 1968: