Lebanon is full of abandoned buildings. Activists are working hard to preserve them because each building has an interesting story behind it.
Donna Maria Sursock Palace
This palace was built by Donna Maria’s husband in 1909. During the Lebanese civil war, militias looted and damaged the villa which is currently inhabited. Donna Maria Sursock Residence is currently serving as a wedding venue. The architecture and the design of the building attracted a lot of people to visit it and take amazing shots!
The thinnest building in Lebanon and probably one of the narrowest buildings in the world is located in Manara, Beirut. The Grudge, or as people call it in Arabic Al Ba’sa. the construction of this building has a long history.
Grand Hotel Kassouf
Location: Dhour El Choueir
This hotel is a reminder of Lebanon's golden age. Built in 1930, Grand Hotel Kassouf hosted many well-known figures such as the Lebanese President Camille Chamoun, Oum Koulthoum, Farid Al Atrash, Abdel Wahab, etc. Also, Lebanon's first beauty pageant took place there! Unfortunately, the hotel was destroyed from the inside during the Lebanese Civil War.
Location: Downtown Beirut
Between state-of-the-art buildings and upscale stores lies a weird building in Downtown Beirut called “the egg." Some people like to refer to it as “the dome” or “sabouneh” (soap) due to its shape. “The egg” was initially part of a commercial complex designed by the Lebanese architect Joseph Philippe Karam in 1965.
The lighthouse in Beirut, or the Manara, is one of the landmarks in Lebanon. In 1952, the largest tourist ship in the world at that time sank. After this accident, a new lighthouse was built.
Many years later, in 1975, the war in Lebanon began. The family that was operating the lighthouse received many threats, so they closed it. From 15 to 17 years later, the Manara started to operate again. An old man, who lived most of his life in this lighthouse, describes the Manara as not only a significant landmark in Beirut but as something that is dear to his heart and an important part of his childhood.
Al Murr Tower
Al Murr Tower's construction began in 1974, a year before the beginning of the civil war. It was meant to be the Trade Center of Lebanon. Like most of the towers in Beirut, militias took over it during the war.
Grand Aley Hotel
Located on the highway that links Beirut to Damascus, Grand Aley Hotel was built in 1926 by three Beiruti brothers. Militias occupied the hotel during the civil war. It's only wounded on the inside; the exterior looks perfectly fine.
Sawfar Grand Hotel
Built in the 1880s, Sawfar Grand Hotel housed politicians and artists. In the 19th and 20th century, Sawfar was a favorite summer destination for Beirut’s elites. The civil war left the hotel in ruins.
Location: Minet El Hosn
Constructed between 1971 and 1974, Holiday Inn included a revolving restaurant on the top floor, a nightclub, and 400 guest rooms. The hotel normally operated until the civil war broke out. The Lebanese company that owns half of it wants to turn the hotel into a condominium, while the Kuwaiti group that owns the other half wants to demolish it and build a new tower. Because of the disagreement, Holiday Inn remains abandoned.
Saint George Hotel
Saint Georges Hotel was built in the 1920s. The Lebanese civil war severely damaged it. Solidere is preventing the renovation of the hotel which is now a Lebanese landmark that echoes Lebanon's golden age.