This Is What Lebanon Looked Like 80-90 Years Ago

Farid Rushdi | lebretro

During the era of 1930s-1940s, Lebanon became suddenly more politically active. It started counting the number of people of every religion in 1932 with the aim of creating the power-sharing confessionalism system. The agreement would come to be signed nine years later, in 1943.

Beirut 1934 – oldbeirutlebanon

Lebanon was a land of foreign conflicts during those years, with the Allies troops on its ground, and many historical events, including Lebanon finally electing its first president, Bechara El-Khouri.

That was followed by the government and the people revolting against the French mandate, and large demonstrations filling the streets of Beirut.

All which ultimately led to Lebanon’s Independence in 1943.

Soon after, Lebanon became a founding member of the United Nations, (UN San Francisco Conference of 1945), taking its rightful role among the independent nations and getting involved in regional and international affairs.

In fact, 19 AUB graduates helped established the United Nations.

We think of those times as events studied in our schools, some monuments in the capital, some faces on stamps, names of some streets in Beirut, and some national celebrations.

But, what Lebanon looked like during that era of 1930s-1940s?

Let’s take a look a closer look.

Lebanon’s first Miss Beauty, 1930

Leila Zoghbi Miss Lebanon 1930

Aley in 1932

Zahle 1930s

Aley, Al-Safa Spring, 1930s

Hopital Hotel Dieu, Beirut, 1930

The Lebanese Heritage

Street Coffee Seller, Beirut 1930s

Lebanese Jewish Wedding, Magen Avraham synagogue, Beirut, 1936 

Beit Hatfutsot / Edouard Mizrahi

Wedding of Maurice Rafoul Dana and Lucie nee Chana

Jounieh, 1937

Shisha at Beirut ‘Sur Mer’ in the 1930s

Persian Crown Prince Mohammed Reza Pahlavi visiting Lebanon in 1938

This was before he became in 1941 the Shah of Iran, which he ruled until 1979 when overthrown by the Iranian Revolution. He is known as The Last Shah of Iran or simply The Shah.

Young Lebanese students at The Alliance School, Wadi Abou Jamil, Beirut 1932

Photo Credit: Beth Hatefutsoth DBS.BH

Beirut Port, 1939

Mr. Oliver’s School, Ras El-Metn, 1940

Library of Congress – Matson Collection

Sabah, the Lebanese icon diva, rises to stardom, 1940

Saint George Hotel, Beirut, 1940

Corniche Beirut, 1940s

John Kennedy Street, Beirut 1940s

Australian Troops in Dhour El-Choueir, August 1941

At Hotel Bois de Boulogne, Australian Field Ambulance and Corps Rest Station, in August 1941, before they moved into using the hotel in winter as a 120-bed hospital.

Australian corps’ parade heading to Church in Aley, August 1941

A view of Jounieh coast, Sept 1941, during a mountain maneuver by Australian troops

Australian War Memorial

Australian 25th battalion on maneuvers near the coastal town of Jounieh, by Capt. F. Hurley

Australian troops under attack, Khaldeh, July 1945

Australian War Memorial

Photo captioned: Shellfire covering the advance of Australian troops towards wireless mast at Khaldeh.

Weigand Street, Beirut, 1945

Diversity in Beirut Souks in 1944

Maccabi Beirut tennis team, 1944

Skying in Al-Arz, Bsharre, 1946

Library of Congress – Matson Collection
Library of Congress – Matson Collection

Beb Idriss, Beirut, 1949

Al-Sanayeh Public Park, Beirut, 1943

Ehden in 1945

Charles Malek signing the UN Charter, June 26th, 1945

Charles Malik became Lebanon’s first Ambassador to the United States. He co-authored the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights.

When Lebanon has functional trains! The bridge of Fidar, 1948

Dhour El-Choueir, Allies’ Soldiers 1945

Most probably Australians during their stay in Dhour El-Choueir.

When the Lebanese protested for the release of their president, 1943