Culture, Travel

Walking through Downtown Beirut

It’s hard to know where to start when compiling so many thousands of photographs from our trip to Lebanon. Yet, this image of the Mohammad Al-Amin Mosque and the St. Georges Maronite Cathedral standing side by side in Downtown Beirut profoundly symbolizes the cultural diversity in Lebanon: a country full of extreme contrasts.

Despite the political unsettlement over the last couple of decades, Lebanese people live quite harmoniously together — albeit to the sound of their impatient car horns. Not only are there contrasts through the political situation but also through dramatic architectural and landscape diversity which will be seen as I continue to share our photographic journey of our trip.

We were based in the trendy Mar Mikhael area in Beirut, where there was an abundance of places to see and things to do within walking distance of our apartment. As tourists, Matt and I were very keen to see Beirut by foot, and though our friends mostly suggested otherwise, we did end up seeing quite a lot of the city by foot. For the longer distances within the city it is necessary to take a taxi though. That should never be a problem as there are an abundance of cheap taxis tooting at you wherever you seem to turn.

In Mar Mikhael, we were only a 30 minute walk to the old Downtown area of Beirut. An area which, on my last trip to Lebanon 15 years ago, had just been newly reconstructed after the destruction of the civil war. My memory of this area was vibrant, busy and bustling with both tourists and locals alike. Today we experienced much more of a ghost village while we were here. This photo series below shows you some snapshots through the Najmeh Square area of Downtown.

It is worth mentioning that the wonderful organic food markets of Souk el Tayeb is a must see while visiting Downtown Beirut. Unfortunately Matt and I did not have the time to visit as the market is only open Saturday and Wednesday and it didn’t tie in with our trips away from the city. This will be a must see for us next time we are in town.