20 Reasons Why I Love Beirut… And You Should Too

Beirut is a city of contradictions. It’s 1000 other places and things and at the same time it’s utterly unique.

It’s Roman ruins…

…and it’s Dunkin Donuts.

It’s derelict old theatres…

…life out of death…

…and constant reinvention.

It’s $5 million apartments and luxury water-features…

…and it’s hand-built flats made from canvas sheets and old door frames.

It’s beautiful sunny days in the middle of January…

…and it’s heavy rain for weeks on end.

It’s Arabic, French and English in the same sentence – or sign.

It’s bullet riddled buildings…

…drinking in the streets…

…beautiful old architecture…

…and it’s smoking argileh while watching the kingfishers on the corniche.

Beirut is Muslims and Christians living side by side.

It’s going to work for 50 cents in a rusty old van whose door falls off in the middle of the motorway.

It’s ugly sky-scrapers…

…and beautiful interiors…

…midnight walks through Downtown…

…and it’s where modern technology meets history in the old parts of town.

Beirut is endlessly fascinating, constantly evolving, and always revealing something new.

29 thoughts on “20 Reasons Why I Love Beirut… And You Should Too

  1. I really like how you laid this post out, especially the comment about life out of death. Although if the car park picture you have if from around Martyr’s square I think it may be the shot up movie theatre from the civil war? either way cool post.

  2. I like cameras…nice one India. It does look like Beirut needs some people keen on jumping and jowelling though. On an unrelated note, I wrote about biscuits today. I don’t think that’s very healthy, either for the diet or for mental wellbeing. Keep writing my dear; tis good to think of you but a couple of hundred kilometres away in a place so very different.

    • I loved your biscuit post! Sometimes it feels so weird to know I’m two hours from Damascus and yet everything is so totally different. I just got back from a $30 entry open bar night in a ruined old theatre. It was a lot like a school disco, but with a massive projector playing incredibly 80s music videos on the back wall. Only in Beirut!

  3. I am a Christian missionary and therefore very much inclined to prejudice for Israel and against all of her political opponents, including Lebanon. However, I try not to give in to prejudice because I have been on the receiving end of so many different instances of it. So I came to your blog because I noticed your visit to mine toady and when I saw the title I paused. The inner battle ensued and forbearance won out.
    I read through your blog and it intrigued me. First of all, you don’t seem to be pushing any political or religious agenda. There’s no apparent jihadist propaganda in there. I loved you pictures of Beirut in this post and the captions that went with them. Beirut seems to be a very historically rich place with many beautiful archaeological exhibits to see.
    Thanks for visiting my blog and making first contact. I doubt I would have been to visit your blog otherwise, and I’m glad I did visit. It helped me to reinforce the idea in my mind that although Israel will always be dear to me, the PEOPLE in the surrounding countries can be truly wonderful, no matter what the political inclinations of their countries’s leaders.

    • I’m very glad that you decided to look at my blog, and to comment. I don’t think it needs to be as simple as a choice between supporting Israel or the Arab countries, but I do understand that some people will always try to reduce it to that. I have both Israeli and Palestinian friends and all of them are reasonable, intelligent, kind and likable people. As someone living in Lebanon I personally have a lot of sympathy for the Palestinians and their cause.
      As you said, it is not always the people who are responsible for their country’s politics and people here in Lebanon know that better than most, as do many of the Israelis I have spoken to who long for a peaceful solution to the conflict and a withdrawal from the occupied territories.
      Thanks again for taking the time to read and comment. I hope we can keep learning from one another from our bases in two countries which are so geographically close but so ideologically different.

  4. Wow. Beautiful words and stunning pictures. What an experience you are having being there in such a city of contrasts.

  5. Beautiful pictures India, makes me want to raid the ol bank account and get on a plane! Are there many art galleries there? Traditional and modern? And are there many free ones? When I come I will undoubtably be skint as the days are short. x

      • I really really really loved to see the picture of the roman ruins followed by the Dunkin Donuts, the bullet riddled building followed by hundreds of people happily drinking in the street…. Such a richness and diversity can never be seen on “normal media” where they always choose only some extreme stereotype to show, may be only the bullet building or only some muslim architecture… (oh, yes! the picture with the christmas three is also quite strong!). May be if people had more open eyes to these contrasts, the image the “western world” often makes of the middle east cultures would be quite different….

  6. Beautiful pictures! Beautiful country! I visited Egypt a long time, it was also eclectic, where Christians and Muslims lived side by side, like Istanbul, and it was the most precious sight I’d ever seen. I especially loved the markets at night, all the spices, and smells, it felt like a page out of Arabian nights. Keep em coming!

  7. Just stumbled upon your blog. Thinking of a move to Beirut, so it’s nice to hear about someone else’s experience, plus I really enjoyed your writing.

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