Beirut Property: from Student Accommodation to Solidere

Beirut’s property boom

My experience hunting for someone to live in Beirut left me very curious about property prices in the city, which seemed to be fairly high in comparision with the average income. After meeting several new Lebanese friends thanks to couchsurfing, a site which seems to attract friendly and interesting people, I found the conversation kept coming back to the expense of living in Beirut and in particular to Downtown, the district in central Beirut which was almost completely destroyed during the civil war, and subsequently rebuilt under the former prime minister Rafiq Hariri. Everybody I talked to had something different to add and a slightly different viewpoint on life in Beirut and the politics of property ownsership. When it comes to the topic of modern Beirut, and particularly the controversial Downtown district, there are a thousand different opinions, facts and rumours in circulation and everybody has his or her own personal viewpoint. Continue reading

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A New Life in Lebanon

Moving to Lebanon

As a freshly minted university graduate, unsure what exactly to do with the rest of my life, moving to Beirut to ostensibly improve my Arabic and do some vague sounding imaginary job in some way connected to journalism and/or human rights charity work seemed as good a plan as any. Lebanon, once the ‘Paris of the Middle East’, has for the last 35 years been considered one of the Middle East’s most unstable countries. With its beautiful expanse of Mediterranean coastline and its lush green mountains providing hiking in the summer months and skiing in the winter, it has the potential to be a prime tourist destination. However it is landlocked by Israel and Syria which have directly contributed to Lebanon’s political problems, including the civil war which lasted from 1975 to 1990, and the subsequent skirmishes between Israel and Hezbollah. Somewhat ironically, Continue reading