Video: The True Story of the Beirut Lighthouse

The lighthouse in Beirut, or the Manara, is one of the landmarks in Lebanon. Although it has lost its historical significance among people, the Beirut lighthouse hides a lot of history behind it, mainly the story of a family that struggled to keep it running despite the war. In this short movie that was filmed and edited by Nay Aoun, a man recalls his childhood which was mostly spent at the Manara. A family business of 150 years that was passed down to him by his father, the current operator of the lighthouse tells the hidden story of the Manara. The Al Manara region was called after this phare which was the highest tower in Beirut. In that area, the beaches were sandy, and there were no buildings. In fact, the lighthouse of Beirut was one of the most luxurious ones in the world. In 1952, the largest tourist ship in the world at that time sank. It was called the Champollion. After this accident, a new lighthouse was built. Many years later, in 1975, the war in Lebanon began. The operators of the lighthouse received many threats, so they closed it. From 15 to 17 years later, the Manara started to operate again. The old man describes the Manara as not only a significant landmark in Beirut but as something that is dear to his heart and an important piece of his childhood. Next time you look at the old lighthouse of Beirut, remember that it has a full story behind it and there is one old man who is dedicating his life to protect it.

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