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Old September 1st, 2009, 09:49 PM   #21
Abdallah K.
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Old September 2nd, 2009, 08:14 PM   #22
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I would hardly call that house an example of Lebanese architecture, besides this house was built recently, so it wouldn't qualify as Lebanese heritage.
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Old September 17th, 2010, 03:55 AM   #23
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Property boom raises fears for Beirut heritage

By Abigail Fielding-Smith in Beirut

Published: September 16 2010 17:52 | Last updated: September 16 2010 17:52

The elegant Ottoman-era houses in Beirut’s Gemayzeh district lend the area a “caractère traditionnel”, as a sign reminds tourists. But gaping holes are starting to appear between the sandstone facades where buildings have been knocked down to make way for new high-rise developments.

A dizzying property boom has already deprived Beirut of many of its old houses, not to mention almost a third of the 300 buildings designated as “top priority heritage”, according to Lebanon’s culture ministry. Nearly 6,000 people have joined a Facebook group called “Save Beirut Heritage”, fearing that their city is steadily losing its historic Mediterranean identity and becoming an ersatz Dubai.

Many parts of the city, particularly its historic downtown, were destroyed in the 1975-1990 civil war, making the preservation of its remaining heritage a particularly poignant issue for locals.

The campaigners’ efforts are bearing some fruit: the authorities recently set up a hotline for people to report threatened buildings. The interior ministry has agreed to give the culture ministry power of first veto over any applications to destroy old buildings, before the file is handed to the Beirut *municipality.

Many believe the campaigners are waging a futile struggle against economic reality. “This happens to most capitals,” says Raja Makaren from Ramco, a property developer.

“It’s the price you pay for development.”

Yet Beirut’s combination of first-world capital and third-world governance make its redevelopment unusually destructive. “We don’t have sophistication, we don’t have the laws to force government to listen to the community,” says Assam Salam, an architect. What is being destroyed is not simply a handful of buildings but the city’s “social fabric”, he adds.

Beirut’s building boom has been caused largely by the sale of luxurious apartments to Lebanese expatriates working in the Gulf, for whom property in their own country has become an attractive investment. In some areas, land prices have more than doubled in the past five years.

Prices in central Beirut are already too expensive for most locals: a recent survey ranked Beirut’s rents the 10th most expensive in the world. Perhaps 50,000 families who live in rent-controlled apartments may have to move to the suburbs if a proposed law liberalising tenancy agreements is passed.

Moreover, campaigners accuse developers of failing to take into account the impact of their multi-storey properties on traffic, amenities and the local environment.

Although such regulation exists in theory, in practice its impact is “zero”, says Mohammed Fawaz, a former head of the government’s urban planning body.

There has always been pressure on the government from developers, Mr Fawaz says, but after the civil war it became so intense that the authorities were unable to resist.

Property developers have excellent political connections in Lebanon: Rafiq Hariri, the dominant prime minister of the postwar political scene until his assassination in 2005, founded one of the largest development companies, Solidere.

Salim Wardy, the culture minister, offers a flavour of the pressure exerted on anyone who tries to curb the developers’ ambitions. “The first time, they tried to bribe me. Then they tried political pressure, then they tried to threaten me,” he says.

There are signs that the property market is slowing, with demand for the more expensive apartments tailing off.

But for the residents of Gemayzeh, the shadow of nearby construction work is never far away.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2010. You may share using our article tools. Please don't cut articles from FT.com and redistribute by email or post to the web.

Last edited by AmeriLEB; September 22nd, 2010 at 11:49 PM.
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Old September 22nd, 2010, 11:50 PM   #24
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Call to Action...

NGO hopes to save Beirut, brick by brick
The new Association for the Protection of Lebanese Heritage decries the destruction of the country’s architectural patrimony

By Amani Abou Harb
Special to The Daily Star
Thursday, September 23, 2010


NGO hopes to save Beirut, brick by brick

BEIRUT: Lebanon’s cities have a peculiar relationship with their architectural patrimony. When the country’s long Civil War (1975-1990) was finally brought to an end, the urban fabric of Beirut and Tripoli was festooned with jewels, built in the Ottoman and French Mandate periods. Entire urban clusters could be found intact.

While Lebanon’s reconstruction regime focused its energies upon erasing much of the downtown core and retooling a handful of historic buildings into antique-looking modern structures, elsewhere in the city historic buildings lingered. Though often derelict, sometimes squatted by displaced families from contested parts of the country, these buildings had been saved from destruction, preserved like peroxide frogs in a solution of legislative and economic stasis.

Naturally, the Lebanese state was unwilling to provide any sort of financial incentive for property-owners to renovate or restore their inherited properties. Local landlords and developers, on the other hand, have had to contend with convoluted rental laws and ownership patterns – with so many individuals having a stake in individual properties that it was difficult to reach consensus about how to dispose of a property. International capital flows, meanwhile, hadn’t yet been brought to bear upon Beirut’s real estate market.

This situation has been oscillating, along with the regional and domestic political developments, and Lebanese emigration patterns, since 1990. Then, in 2008, the Doha settlement facilitated a reconciliation between contending interests associated with the Future Movement, on one hand, and those aligned with Hizbullah. Since then, the Beirut real estate market – miraculously immune, it seems, from the international financial meltdown, has boomed.

The Beirut stage has seen its share of dissidents to the state’s laissez-faire attitude toward the country’s architectural patrimony. The newest of these is the Association for the Protection of Lebanese Heritage. What began as a Facebook group designed by a number of motivated individuals has developed into an NGO fighting the demolition of Beirut’s historic architecture.

The organization held a press conference at Gouraud Street’s Qahwat al-Azaz (aka the Gemmayzeh Cafe) on Monday, where it publically announced its plans for a peaceful protest on Saturday. This demonstration will take the form of an hour-long candlelit walk commencing from the vicinity of Gemmayzeh’s Paul franchise at 6 pm and coming to a halt in Mar Mikhael, a few kilometers east.

Monday’s conference included speeches by organizers Pascale Ingea and Georgio Tarraf and guest speaker, Lady Yvonne Cochrane-Sursock, founder (and from 1960-2002 president) of Lebanon’s Association for the Protection of Natural Sites and Ancient Buildings (APSAD).

Ingea underlined the cultural significance of historic structures and the dire need to preserve what traces remain of them in Beirut.

“Tourists aren’t interested in our malls, supermarkets or skyscrapers,” he said, “as they are used to seeing those in their home countries.”

In recognizing the plight of property-holders who wish to sell their historic homes due to “financial difficulties,” Ingea called upon all state agencies to help support the owners of Lebanon’s traditional houses.

Citing the findings of a recent United Nations Development Program report – which suggests that in the next decade 300,000 new buildings will be added to Beirut’s already-crowded urban fabric – organizers say the city will be left with virtually no public spaces or natural “green” areas. As such, there exists a need to enact legislation to protect the city’s architectural patrimony. This law, they explained, has for eighty years been rejected and not voted upon in Parliament.

The new NGO demands that old rental contracts be renewed and modified in order to protect the rights of property owners.

“Many old properties are currently leased at costs that, in this day and age, do not exceed the price of half a pound of coffee,” Tarraf explained, “and, according to the letter of old rental contracts, renters are allowed to pass on their rent from generation to generation without informing the landlord. Something has to be done about this.”

Other demands include creating a fund dedicated to renovating areas that have managed to retain their rustic appeal. The proceeds of this fund should derive from a fixed percentage of the payoff from construction licenses. The NGO also wishes to see an official urban plan that preserves the traditional nature of certain neighborhoods by applying limitations to the height, architectural nature and proximity of modern constructions to these areas.

The Association for the Protection of Lebanese Heritage has thus far prevented the demolition of over 20 historic structures. Its spokesmen say, however, that the future of many locations is threatened by the “greed of investors.”

Organizers hope that, as Ingea pointed out with some irony, “Lebanese join us in our protest, just as they gathered to witness the making of the largest plate of hummus in the world – clearly a testament to their heritage.”


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Old September 25th, 2010, 08:02 PM   #25
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GETTY IMAGES



Lebanese activists take part in a candlelight march calling for the protection of Beirut's architectural heritage on September 25, 2010 in the Gemmayze neighbourhood of the Lebanese capital.
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Old October 12th, 2010, 12:46 AM   #26
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There was a rumor about Bank Audi relocating to Gemmayze and more specifically Ahwet El Azeez but it turns out that it was just a rumor.

Quote:
“We would like to assure you that Bank Audi has not bought and has no intention to buy ”Ahwet El Ezez” to establish a branch in Gemmayze. Please note that we already have a branch in that area.

On the other hand, Bank Audi is committed to preserve national and cultural heritage and has in the past shown its commitment. For example, the old villa in Achrafieh-Sursock has been preserved and turned into a cultural center/ museum.”
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Old October 12th, 2010, 01:26 AM   #27
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great news! lebnani you are probably so happy right now
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Old October 12th, 2010, 07:00 AM   #28
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OMG! This is the best news I've had all week. I was looking at my last Beirut trip photos and I was just thinking of it all being gone. I am really really really happy!
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Old October 17th, 2010, 07:28 PM   #29
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Hopeless helpless Lebanon
Talking to Lady Yvonne Cochrane of Sursock
Aline Sara , October 17, 2010 share



Lady Cochrane in her early 30s. (Photo courtesy of Lady Cochrane)

Lady Yvonne Sursock Cochrane has been fighting to preserve Lebanon’s heritage since 1960 when she founded the country’s first organization on the matter, the Association for the Protection of the Natural Sites and Ancient Buildings (APSAD). She presided APSAD from 1960 until 2002. Today, she continues in her battle, although pessimistic about prospects. NOW Lebanon spoke with Lady Cochrane in Sursock palace to address her concerns in more depth.

Tell us about your involvement in APSAD and the organization.

Lady Yvonne Sursock Cochrane: I founded APSAD at the end of the 1950s because, looking out of the windows of this house, I realized the view, which was absolutely magnificent, was becoming less magnificent due to anonymous building creeping up and taking up space, buildings that have absolutely no architectural value of any sort.

I noticed this was the trend, and something needed to be done about it. At the time, Beirut was still beautiful. We started as three [people], and gradually formed a committee of more people. We tried to get more people involved, but as you know, we’ve seldom had people of culture in our government.

At first, the government didn’t take us seriously and looked at us with a condescending kindness. To them, why should men deal with such futile questions? But, gradually they realized we meant business and became more cooperative. The problem is with parliament, which is a disaster.

We grew and formed a committee of 12 people, and we started trying to explain to people we had a magnificent heritage. We published the first book on the subject, “L’habitation au Liban” [lebanon's habitat]. Today, there’s almost a book a week on the subject. Unfortunately, it doesn’t translate on the ground because, to begin with, people in our parliament are uncultured. They just don’t understand what they are talking about, despite [the presence of] some very good ministers.

Can you name a few of them?


Lady Cochrane: Well there are good ministers, but nobody listens to them! [Former Culture Minister] Tamam Salam made a series of good proposals; none of them passed. [Current Culture Minster Salim] Warde said to me, “There is not one of my proposals being accepted. There’s nothing I can do. I’m just sitting there.” [Former Culture Minister Tarek] Mitri told me he tried to pass a law suppressing [the inheritance tax] on listed houses, four years ago. But these people [parliament] just don’t understand that we have very few listed buildings and that in most countries, you remove the [inheritance tax] on listed buildings so people have a possibility of restoring. There are so few listed buildings, how much could they lose anyway? Taxes are important they say. But they are losing heritage!

But now moving on to the second reason, you talk about municipality in Lebanon? It just doesn’t exist in this country! The municipality is a very complex organization. A permit to build should be subject to a team of architects, lawyers, doctors etc. Not just one person. And the teams all form a municipality. I have taken good use of what has been done in Bordeaux and reduced it into a proposal based on the French that I submitted.

So the bulk of the problem is the government and municipality. What are your thoughts about civil society initiatives such as Save Beirut Heritage?

Lady Cochrane: They are very good and work with APSAD and are trying to get all the different organizations together. It is very important to have the young actively involved. That is why I’ve been trying to get universities, like [the Lebanese Academy of Fine Arts] ALBA and Kaslik to organize to teach [students] about this. There are so many things they don’t know. Do any of the students know that in capital cities like Paris, there are no land prices? The speculation there is on the building, not on the land itself. In Lebanon, it is based on land prices. Most of our skyscrapers are empty. The Lebanese are so keen on copying. They copy Dubai, Manhattan. Lebanese copy and don’t realize that top society Americans live in old homes outside of Manhattan, for example.

Some architects have voiced criticism of Solidere’s work downtown. What are your thoughts?

Lady Cochrane: When Solidere started destroying Beirut, APSAD was upset. We sent articles in Europe, everywhere, about what was happening. Of course, this upset [former Prime Minister Rafik] Hariri, who, let’s face it, was a very intelligent man. And he wrote a book called Beirut Reborn which he sent to me and said, “I hope you’re satisfied.” What ended up happening was that some buildings that were going to be destroyed were restored. So he did a lot of restoration, which were the parts of the city that are the most popular today.


Lebanon is the only country in the region without a law to preserve our heritage. Is there any hope this will change?

Lady Cochrane: I know Warde and Mitri both tried to pass a law. But there is no hope; I think that in the next 20 years these empty skyscrapers will be taken by squatters. Look at what [MP Nicolas] Fattoush is doing with the quarries! That’s another problem. They also want to build a village on Sanine [mountain], one of our most important sources of water. Lebanon will just become a desert! We’ve tried to stop them from doing this, but they are decided to build.

If you had one recommendation for Lebanese youth, what would it be?

Lady Cochrane: I think people are realizing Beirut is becoming a monster. But it’s too late. It’s very difficult to change anything now. Beirut is overbuilt and destroyed. The only hope — I mean it’s a joke — but it’s to do what happened in Dresden, which was completely razed during the World War II. They took the paintings of this Italian painter who had represented Dresden and reproduced the city based on his work. In Beirut, you’d have to tear down all the skyscrapers. Or have a mixture. And rebuild Beirut according to the prints we have, Beirut as a garden city. It was a lovely garden city along the Mediterranean.

But practically speaking, what can young Lebanese activists do?

Lady Cochrane: What we need especially is a municipality. We should have trains. We’ve had them before. But Lebanese don’t go in the train. “Ayb” [Shame]. They don’t walk either.

Is there any hope for public transportation in Lebanon?

Lady Cochrane: No, because they make too much money with the cars coming into the country. Any time a car comes in, someone makes money. It means that in a few years, we won’t be able to get out of our houses. They don’t think of things like that. They are not interested.

Many have inquired about the tower being built over what used to be the Sursock gardens. Can you tell us a bit about this?

Lady Cochrane: It was neither me nor my son, who sold this land. It was the three daughters of my cousin, Linda Sursock. There was a garden between the Sursock Museum and the “Villa Linda” and the daughters sold it. I am very irritated by this and sadly, my cousins did not know how to preserve our heritage and our family treasure.
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Old November 3rd, 2010, 06:27 AM   #30
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Construction fever erases Lebanon's historic heritage (Feature)

By Weedah Hamzah Nov 3, 2010, 3:06 GMT

Beirut - Beirut is in the grip of a construction frenzy that threatens to erase the historic heritage of a city which once had Ottoman-style mansions and lavish gardens.

Many of these old buildings are now being demolished to make way for high-rise apartment complexes that are mushrooming across the Lebanese capital.

'When I look now at Beirut all I see is cement blocks ... This is heartbreaking,' says Mona Hallak, an architect and an activist with the Association for the Protection of Sites and Old Buildings.

Beirut, according to Hallak, is losing its typical traditional old houses, with their red-tiled roofs, arched windows, beautiful balconies and inviting gardens.

'In few years there will hardly be a green space in the city ... and Beirut will have no historic heritage whatsoever. ..' she added.

Many of the old houses are being torn down and their gardens dug up so the land can be sold and developed into modern apartment complexes.

According to Hallak, the only law that protects old homes in Beirut dates back to 1933 when the country was under French mandate.

'This law only focuses on the protection of archaeology and not specifically on the old houses,' Hallak said.

A survey compiled in 1997 by the government lists 250 old buildings which are protected from destruction, but officials believe the list was drawn up without proper research.

Lady Yvonne Sursock Cochrane, whose family owns many mansions in the city, has been fighting to preserve Lebanon's heritage since 1960. She is founder of the Association for the Protection of Natural Sites and Ancient Buildings (APSAD).

'Some politicians in Lebanon just don't understand that we have very few listed buildings and that in most countries, you remove the inheritance tax on listed buildings so people have a possibility of restoring,' Cochrane said.

Cochrane stressed that Lebanon is the only country in the region without a law to preserve heritage.

'Some good politicians have tried in the past to pass a law ... But there is no hope so far,' Cochrane said.

'I think people are realizing Beirut is becoming a monster. It is overbuilt and destroyed,' she added.

The boom in construction has increased since the global financial crises badly hit some Gulf Arab states like Dubai.

Most of the apartments now under construction are being being sold to Lebanese who live and work in the Saudi Arabia, Qatar and other Gulf states.

'Lebanon's real estate market has been growing noticeably due to increasing demand for properties by Lebanese and Gulf investors,' says Wadih Kenaan, a real estate company owner.

'We can say that real estate investment has become an essential part of the Lebanese economy, accounting for 11 per cent of its 20 billion dollars gross domestic product (GDP), compared to 4.5 per cent in the 1970s,' he adds.
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Old November 6th, 2010, 08:57 PM   #31
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From Beirut Pursuit

Quote:
This is an image I took a while back

[IMG]http://i54.************/a44pyp.jpg[/IMG]

This is an image I took a few days ago

[IMG]http://i55.************/r8bm9f.jpg[/IMG]
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Old November 6th, 2010, 11:31 PM   #32
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bravoooooooooooooo instead of renovating ....... just tear them down tfeh 3a hal balad
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Old November 7th, 2010, 12:01 AM   #33
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I am all for keeping our old houses and everything, but I am wondering if this one was torn down because.. it doesn't fit the area? I know the sky scrapers were built up around it and its not its fault it is there, but like, if it was renovated what could we use it for. The only thing i can think of is a hostel... lol
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Old November 7th, 2010, 06:53 AM   #34
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if we follow that logic ramy, why does any old Beiruti house need to be saved, they all dont fit the character of their neighbourhoods and they all cant serve any real housing purposes.

But thats just it, we are not talking about the utility of these buildings, but their symbolic importance and this is what is shocking.

These houses should have been re purposed, I am sure someone could have used this space for retail or restaurant space, or maybe for libraries, or community centres, Office space (there is a great shortage of that in beirut)

I dont know, beirut is becoming very generic, parts of it are still beautiful like achrafiyeh, but the manara area, the corniche area ( minus the actual corniche) is starting to look really bland.

Logically what should have been done after the civil war is for a city wide reconstruction to happen where certain avenues were widened and the architectural identities of neighbourhoods preserved. And if not build the same styles of buildings, beirut should have at least remained a low rise city, especially around the coast i.e the corniche. I hate those new buildings with a passion... and secretly hopes an earthquake will destroy them before they are occupied, but thats just me.
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Old November 8th, 2010, 12:11 AM   #35
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This is really sad,i have a question though,why would someone sell a beautiful house like this knowing that its going to be destroyed eventually? i guess people don't care really,not only government,but this is when the government should interfere to prevent such crimes from happening.
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Old November 8th, 2010, 12:21 AM   #36
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To be honest, I find a lot of them do fit the character. With the right renovation, and a cleaned up rooftop (if 2armeed can be installed, even better) it does fit right in as being this little house amongst towers. However, I am just picturing this area and this place looks weird there, but thats just a personal opinion, obviously I would like to see our heritage in tact

And hassoun...people sell it because they need the money and the cost of them to upkeep (or lack there of) the place is serving them no benefit. But, I know you can register your house with the ministry and they will buy it from you...the thing is you aren't profiting from them (like you would from a real estate developer). So if money is short, people are choosing the option that benefits them and not the one that benefits Beirut culture.
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Old November 8th, 2010, 08:44 PM   #37
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because its worth millions for selling it, hassoun .....i bet u'll do the same!.....look at this land...that can count for like minimum 5 million dollar selling including house...and the only people that are gonna be very interested in it are the real-estate developers. Now what does an old poor man that might own this house, has to do with a heritage house turning to become shitty in look and he can't do anything about it. Of-course he is gonna sell it and travel to Hawaii and enjoy his life. Think of it from this prospect and this is what is applied all over Beirut landscape.
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Old December 20th, 2010, 12:34 AM   #38
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Gemmayzeh's iconic Glass Cafe to shut its doors after losing legal battle
Saturday, December 18, 2010

[IMG]http://i54.************/sg3fhx.jpg[/IMG]

BEIRUT: For all the pomp and lipstick that get paraded down Gemmayzeh on a Friday night, the area has proven more resilient than most to the encroachment of contemporary high-rise developments.

Its colonial style mansions and rows of dainty apartments are some of the last in Beirut and in spite of their sometimes decaying facades; the architectural relics remain sufficiently numerous to give visitors a rare glimpse of what the city would have looked like in its glory days.

As we enter the next decade of the 21st century, however, the signs of demise on the narrow windy street of the “Quartier avec Charme” are painfully clear.

Dozens of arguably illegal demolitions have taken place in the last few years alone and despite a spate of public protests, many more are expected in the near future.

To add insult to injury, in exactly two weeks, the iconic Gouraud Street will lose one of its best-known attractions. On New Year’s Eve, the Gemmayzeh Café, known widely as the “Glass Café,” will finally clear out its remaining tables and close the doors on over 85 years of history.

First opened in Downtown Beirut in the late 1920s, the cafe quickly established a name for itself as hangout of choice for writers, politicians and professional drinkers.

When it migrated the seemingly small, but symbolically colossal, few hundred meters to east Beirut in 1951, it took many of its customers with it and became the first night spot (and day spot) in an area now choked with bars, clubs and restaurants of every persuasion.

“The cafe is known as the mother of Gemmayzeh, it was here first and it has endured the longest,” said the establishment’s managing partner, Galleb Yaccob.

“Over the years, we created so many stories and wrote history within these four walls, which have hosted Lebanon’s first prime minister, Riad al-Solh, former President Camille Chamoun and Phalange Party founder Pierre Gemayel.”

Even in the darkest days of Lebanon’s 1975-90 Civil War, the cafe never closed its doors and always acted as a retreat for those wishing to play backgammon or smoke what was once considered some of the best narguileh in town.

“This place has endured so much and never surrendered,” said Yaccob. “We have done everything in our power to stay but despite our best efforts we have been forced out with no regard for what this place means to people or the city.”

The premises will now return to the building owners, who have been embroiled in legal disputes with the café for years over the continuation of pre-Civil War rents. “Once our contract was revoked on a legal technicality in 2007 we knew our days were numbered,” said Yaccob.

The cafe is so synonymous with Beirut’s identity that it regularly features in magazine articles and was depicted side-by-side with landmarks such as the Saint George Hotel and Casino du Liban in a television advertisement by Bank Audi playing on Beirut’s glamorous past.

What will become of it now remains unknown. Building owners have assured conservationists that the site will not be demolished but speculation is rife over what will become of one of central Beirut’s last traditional cafés, with rumors circulating it will be turned into a new snazzy bar, maybe even a Starbucks or a bank branch.

“This is a case of death by hummus,” said Giorgio Tarraf, a leading member of the conservation pressure group Save Beirut Heritage.

“This closure is symptomatic of a wider cancer which is spreading [through our city and society].

“It is truly devastating to see the city lose one of its icons. The cafe has always been here and remained a big comfort through all the turmoil and change we have seen in such a short period of time,” he said.

Perhaps for this reason the cafe owners are refusing to give in and have resolutely moved the restaurant and its famed oud player Joseph Issa to a new location in Antellias, north of Beirut.

“Gemmayzeh is dead. It is no longer an attractive area for a number of reasons but we are determined to not let our tradition die,” said Yaccob.

“We have relocated once and succeeded in taking all our customers with us and we are doing so again.”

Before the Gouraud venue is finally set to rest, the legendary cafe is in store for a fitting bon voyage.

In the first few days of January the cafe, which will be by then cleared of its furniture, will play host to a tribute concert to raise money for Save Beirut Heritage. The event will feature a lineup of contemporary Lebanese artists.

“The cafe has always been so full of life that we wanted to give it one more evening to be remembered where people could come, pay their respects and say goodbye to a venue that defined many generations,” said Tarraf.
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Old December 20th, 2010, 08:35 AM   #39
lebnani
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This is the saddest news I've heard all year and kind of disgusted at Lebanese society right now.
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Old December 21st, 2010, 11:07 PM   #40
Ramy H
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lebnani View Post
This is the saddest news I've heard all year and kind of disgusted at Lebanese society right now.
Except this was a legal matter entirely, seeing as it had to do with rents. All society can do is prevent its demolition, not ensure its continuance. I'm really upset its going to go, but I will look at it optimistically in that the structure itself will not change (although the atmosphere is what made it what it is).

As of now everything is a rumour what will go there... if anything I hope its a traditional cafe, not a franchise.
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