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Old June 15th, 2006, 06:59 AM   #1
Beiruti
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#PROJECT-BCD: "Garden of Forgiveness" | Public Park

Garden of Forgiveness

Hadiqat As-Samah

Beirut Central District - Beirut, Lebanon









Architect: Kathryn Gustafson (www.gustafson-porter.com)

Client: Solidere s.a.l.

Area: 5.7 acres (2.3 hectares)

Status: Under Construction

Official Website: www.solidere.com/garden/



The Garden of Forgiveness, also known as Hadiqat As-Samah (in Arabic), is a garden under development in the ancient heart of Beirut, Lebanon, where it straddles the Green Line, once the battle line where much of the heaviest fighting took place during the Lebanese Civil War (1975-1990).

The Garden of Forgiveness/Hadiqat As-Samah is designed to be a place of contemplation and reflection. It is inspired by the great human struggle to forgive, particularly in light of historic cycles of violence and the realization that forgiveness perhaps represents our only way out.

The garden concept was initiated by Alexandra Asseily, following a vision she had in l997 concerning the inter-generational cycles of pain and violence present in individuals, families, tribes and nations. As a witness of the pain of the civil war in Lebanon, she decided to explore her own responsibility for peace and became a psychotherapist. She came to realize that lasting peace in Lebanon, or anywhere else, would not be achieved until people were able instill forgiveness at a deep level of memory.

The garden, which is currently under construction, was designed following an international design competition which was won by renowned landscape architect Kathryn Gustafson. Gustafson also designed the Diana Memorial Fountain in London's Hyde Park and has won many other international competitions.

From Alexandra Asseily:
Quote:
The Vision

Whilst talking with a very good friend and healer, the idea came of translating my experience into creating a Garden of Forgiveness. I wrote down the vision as follows.


The Garden of Forgiveness

A garden in which people can gather strength and inspiration
A garden with running water from a powerful source
An archetypal garden, including seats, shade, jasmine bowers
A sanctuary, a place of calm for reflection
A garden of healing
A garden of blessings
A place to trigger the concept of forgiveness, innocent and purifying–without which the rebuilding of Beirut is but temporary and fragile. Witness the past.

The intention of forgiveness will go into the very roots of the garden.

The energy which is put into the design will carry through to the people–who are touched by it.

Blossoming through all forms of ancestral progress.

Inscriptions from the Prophets, the Old Testament, the New Testament and the Koran on rocks, on walls.








Last edited by Beiruti; March 21st, 2007 at 07:11 AM.
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Old June 15th, 2006, 07:16 AM   #2
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The Garden of Forgiveness Project has many interesting aspects, some of which include:

1. Members of many different religious communities within Beirut and Lebanon have participated in the planning and development of the Hadiqat As-Samah. This includes Lebanon’s main confessional groups: (in alphabetical order) Druze, Greek Catholic, Greek Orthodox, Maronite Catholic, Shiite Muslim, and Sunni Muslim.

2. The garden is located in a site of tremendous historic richness. According to the site archaeologist, at least fifteen different civilizations have lived on the site. Most were destroyed by wars and invasions, though also by a tsunami in 551. A partial listing of civilizations include: Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine, Persian, Abbasid, Mamluk, Ottoman, French Colonial and Lebanese.
The Garden is located directly over the ancient heart of the Graeco/Roman city of Berytus. The middle intersection of the ancient Roman cardo (running north and south) and the decamanus (running east and west) intersect within the garden.

3. The garden is surrounded by three cathedrals (Maronite Catholic, Greek Orthodox and Greek Catholic) and three mosques, including the magnificent, newly built Mohammad al-Amin mosque and another which had once been a Crusader church.

4. Former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri took his last steps near the garden, before being tragically assassinated on Feb. 14th, 2005. He is buried in a tomb which lies, together with the tombs of the guards who died with him, at the edge of the Garden and near the Al Amin mosque.

5. The area surrounding the Garden and the Garden itself are being developed by Solidere, (the company responsible for developing the Beirut Central District). Solidere is responsible for creating one of the largest and most beautiful city restorations in the world today, making Beirut a sought after destination for business and tourism.

6. Near the middle of the garden, the ancient shrine to the Virgin Mary, (who is also known in Arabic as the Nourieh, the Light, and as Mariam) was destroyed in the Civil War. Both Muslim and Christian women had prayed at this location for centuries to bring miraculous healings, healthy childbirths, etc. In 2005 this shrine was reconstructed as a small chapel dedicated to the Virgin Mary.

7. An ancient heart shaped well, thought to be 3,000 to 5,000 years old, is also located in the garden and is believed to be related to Astarte – the goddess of love and fertility.

8. On November 10, 2005, three women who lost their husbands and sons in the 9/11 attacks in New York City, planted an olive tree in the Garden of Forgiveness in remembrance of their loved ones. They also visited a number of citizens who had suffered loss through violence including Bahia Hariri, the sister of the assassinated Ex-Prime Minister, Giselle Khoury whose husband (a journalist) was assassinated in June of 2005 and Rabab Sadr, whose famous brother disappeared during the civil war.

9. The Garden of Forgiveness in Beirut has inspired a group of 9/11 families and others to promote the idea of a sister Garden of Forgiveness at Ground Zero in New York City. This project is lead by eminent researcher on Forgiveness Dr. Fred Luskin from Stanford University and Reverend Lyndon Harris, who was Priest at St. Paul’s chapel at Ground Zero when on 9/11. He helped turn the church a relief center for firemen and policemen and others doing recovery and clearing at the site. Together they are leading the Sacred City organization, which has a project entitled "The Garden of Forgiveness at Ground Zero."

10. While there are perhaps hundreds, or maybe thousands, of "peace" gardens in the world, Beirut is the first place offering a garden of forgiveness. Peace is the goal, but forgiveness is a means to reaching that goal. The Garden reminds us that we must all do the challenging work of considering those things, and those people, we feel that we have been unable to forgive for good reason and to contemplate taking healing steps toward forgiveness which is the bridge to peace. It is because violence is so traumatic that forgiveness often seems impossible. Yet, its power to transform violence and hatred into peace is what makes this Garden of Forgiveness in Beirut a beacon of hope which can touch the World. Hence the tremendous power of including such a concept in the heart of beautiful Beirut, and also at Ground Zero in New York City. Some people are now considering initiating Gardens of Forgiveness in other locations around the World as well.
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Old June 15th, 2006, 07:36 AM   #3
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Some archeological discoveries...

From the Daily Star:
Extraordinary findings were unearthed during the latest phase of excavation * including a site below the Amin Mosque that is now under construction * that was carried out by a core team of 10 students led by Muntaha Saghieh Beydoun, a professor at the Lebanese University.

Recent discoveries include elaborate Byzantine mosaics made of tiny green, yellow and red stones. Even more exciting for the senior archaeologist was the discovery last year of the Decumanus Maximus, the Roman main street that ran east to west that was unearthed below the mosque.

The street was removed from its original site after it was discovered, but plans have been made to reinstate it in the basement of the Amin Mosque. The other main Roman road that ran north to south, the Cardus Maximus, was partially uncovered in 1995, and has already been preserved and will be part of the garden.
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Old June 15th, 2006, 07:51 AM   #4
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The Garden of Forgiveness at Ground Zero, NYC

Inspired by the garden in Beirut


Quote:
Why a Garden of Forgiveness?

Nobel Prize winner Archbishop Desmond Tutu, in his most recent book, declared, "There can be no future without forgiveness." It is vital that, as we rebuild Lower Manhattan, we acknowledge the sanctity of this hallowed ground and the need for forgiveness as one of the first steps toward healing which will lead to a peaceful future. The Sacred City Project is honored to present the Garden of Forgiveness at Ground Zero, modeled on the Garden of Forgiveness in Beirut, Lebanon. September 11 has international importance: individuals from 67 countries, and nearly half that many faiths, were killed in the terrorist attacks. It is essential that all nations and all faiths be a part of the future at Ground Zero, and a future that replaces religious violence with understanding, cooperation and lasting peace.

The birth of a multi-faith spirit of healing

The religious nature of the acts of September 11, combined with the coming together of so many faiths and nationalities in the relief effort, laid the groundwork for us to create the Garden of Forgiveness at Ground Zero. The diverse multi-faith communities of New York united after 9/11 to help, to serve together, and to work for healing. We seek to transform this vital energy into a living memorial to those lost on 9/11, but also to provide a focal point for the unprecedented spirit of peace and healing born at Ground Zero, the very site of devastation.
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Old June 15th, 2006, 08:01 AM   #5
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copy cats.. i have to admit i cringed when i first read the name, but after reading about the project, im definetly looking forward to it! when will it b finished?
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Old June 15th, 2006, 08:02 AM   #6
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Which one, the one in NYC or in Beirut? Beirut's GOF is planned to be complete by this year...

Oh and I wouldn't really consider them copying us... especially because ours is so historic and unique. I mean we should be flattered that the most important site in NYC (WTC ground zero) is going to be forever linked to Beirut.
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Old June 15th, 2006, 09:14 AM   #7
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what a weird name! Looks cool to see a small park in the middle of the city next to "nejmeh sqaure"....Beirut looks very urbanized are there many other parks in the middle of the city?
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Old June 15th, 2006, 05:21 PM   #8
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I wouldnt call it a "weird name" really because it has extreme symbolic value... if you read most of the text you will see what is meant by "forgiveness" - what is most interesting is this is the first forgiveness (not peace) garden in the world.

And yes, there are several parks in the city, there is also a major golf course and a horse racing track. The largest park in the city is planned in the reclamation area of the BCD along the marina.
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Old June 15th, 2006, 07:35 PM   #9
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oncerning the one in NY, here is info from wiki

The Garden of Forgiveness in Beirut has inspired a group of 9/11 families and others to promote the idea of a sister Garden of Forgiveness at Ground Zero in New York City. This project is lead by eminent researcher on Forgiveness Dr. Fred Luskin from Stanford University and Reverend Lyndon Harris, who was Priest at St. Paul’s chapel at Ground Zero when on 9/11. He helped turn the church a relief center for firemen and policemen and others doing recovery and clearing at the site. Together they are leading the Sacred City organization, which has a project entitled "The Garden of Forgiveness at Ground Zero."
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Old June 16th, 2006, 03:23 AM   #10
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ok im a little confused,.....will the bringing of this park in anyway affect the archelogical spaces? bcz im all for rebuilding. but when it comes to old ruins...im fixed on leave them, dont touch them..even if they look ugly..leave it alone..so help me understand how all this will be blended together without affecting these ancient sites?
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Old June 16th, 2006, 06:28 AM   #11
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The whole point is to preserve the archaeological monuments while giving the area a special meaning as well. There are making every effort to take care of the site and arrange the park so it can be a useful and enjoyable space.
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Old June 16th, 2006, 09:29 AM   #12
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I like the idea of the garden. I also like the NY garden because 9/11 was very sad and it was a bad thing and yes because NY will be connected to Beirut!

They would be very different because the garden here is gonna be historical because of the ancient civilizations, the new testament, old testament, and Quran writings on the walls and rocks, because it's an improtant war scene, mosques and churches are init and much more. I'm going to visit this garden whenI go to Lebanon
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Old June 16th, 2006, 09:54 AM   #13
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Some pics . . .







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Old June 16th, 2006, 07:42 PM   #14
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All of those are quite recent (within the last year), only the 3rd pic is from a few years ago.
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Old June 17th, 2006, 05:05 PM   #15
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Here are some recent pics of Garden of Forgiveness taken in June/2006.





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Old June 17th, 2006, 07:15 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beirut!
WOW they are making some progress! Thanks so much Nareg these pics are awesome!
i don't see the progress!! it was the same last summer (august 2005)
but the project seems interesting, hope there will be more parks soon
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Old June 17th, 2006, 07:18 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by naregkar


Does anyone know of any plans to renovate this old building behind the columns in this pic? And are there any pics of this building with a view of the front?
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Old June 17th, 2006, 07:20 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ramazzotti
i don't see the progress!! it was the same last summer (august 2005)
but the project seems interesting, hope there will be more parks soon

Look closely Ramazzotti, the walls surrounding the garden are almost complete, if you look as the pics I posted on the previous page (they are only from last winter maybe) and the walls were still in the early phase...
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Old June 17th, 2006, 07:22 PM   #19
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ah yes the walls, i didn't notice it lol
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Old June 17th, 2006, 09:54 PM   #20
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i really wish they'd move the ruins for the duration of the construction so they dont accidently damage them
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