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Paris of the Middle East

Paris of the Middle East

August 25, 2020/David Brussat


by David Brussat, Architecture Here and There


It’s been several decades since Beirut was commonly known as the Paris of the Middle East. The recent explosion, which devastated the port and wreaked serious damage on nearby central areas of the city, only adds to its problems – which seemed already to be reaching a crescendo – and sets back efforts to revive itself as a place where normal life can be led. The blame, or most of it, for both the explosion and the difficulty of Beirut’s revival may be laid at the doorstep of the terror organization Hezbollah and its puppeteers in Tehran. They stepped in to prevent peace from reigning after the end of the nation’s disastrous 1975-1989 civil war. That Lebanon’s society has not collapsed, yet, maybe thanks to the resilience of the Lebanese, who have learned to weather history’s calamities. It may be that Beirut’s historical beauty contributes to their desire to live life.


This post is dedicated to that beauty and to what hope remains that Beirut’s status as the Paris of the Middle East can, in time, be resumed. The photo that introduces this post shows damage to towers of relatively recent vintage. Below are old shots of historic Beirut, then more recent such shots, especially in the chic Gemmeyze district, some of which show damage either recent or going back to the civil war.

David Brussat

Full story, here:

My freelance writing and editing on architecture and others addresses issues of design and culture locally and globally. I am a member of the board of the New England chapter of the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art, which bestowed an Arthur Ross Award on me in 2002. I work from Providence, R.I., where I live with my wife Victoria, my son Billy and our cat Gato. If you would like to employ my writing and editing to improve your work, please email me at my consultancy,, or call (401) 351-0457



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