"Beirut" Beirut by xristos83

Beirut Travel Guide: 924 reviews and 1,814 photos

Witnessing History

My trip to Beirut was amazing! I went here with two other friends while studying in Egypt. We met up with one of my friend's old family friends and they put us up in a hotel in Hamra (near the American University) and their friend's son Tareq enthusiastically gave us a tour of Lebanon (sometimes going at a 100 miles an hour on curvy mountain roads!). When I was in Lebanon Syrian troops were just days from withdrawal (actually they left the day I went TO Syria), due to international pressure. Many blame Syria for the assasination of Rafiq Al-Hariri on Febuary 14, 2005. Martyrs Square was filled with protesters camping out until the Syrians left, and we took the opportunity to meet many of these protesters and ended up visiting the camps every night!
Unfortunately, I did not see all that I wanted to in Beirut. I'm happy that I witnessed this fascinating period in Lebanon, but I was not able to see the destitute Palestinian camps of Sabra and Chatila (whose populations do not have any citizenship and cannot work or live outside of the camps) or the Shia district closer to the airport. However, I was able to meet plenty Lebanese (Sunni Muslims, Druze, Christians, and some Shias) and learn more in the the week there than I ever have.
Downtown Beirut is beautifully restored (however the huge crater from the bomb that killed Hariri is definitely a chilling reminder of what it must of been like during the war), there is a ton to do from fishing and swimming with the locals, strolling on the corniche and watching the beautiful Lebanese, and meeting incredibly friendly people.

Read Robert Fisk - Pity the Nation to understand some of the complexities of the Lebanese Civil War.

  • Last visit to Beirut: May 2005
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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