Once an escape from the war in Cyprus, Beyrut has become known internationally for its never ending war. After I visited it in 1974, I had a very beautiful image in my head of the city. When I finally returned after 24 years, I wondered very much what I would find, and what would be left of that image. How much would I recognize? Would I still be able to remember the way?
I decided to leave early, and walked from the hotel to the seaside, the Corniche. One of the most vivid memories was a huge rock which served as a playground for the Mediterranean waves. I started walking along the boulevard, with on the right hand side seemingly untouched buildings, and on the left hand side the sea, and also from time to time military checkpoints. After some time the road turned and there it was! The long-awaited rock! At least that souvenir had survived the developments of the last decades.
I descended towards the sea, and sat there, watching the waves break on the rocks, and thinking back in time. After this melancholical stop, I continued to walk along the boulevard. After some time, I arrived in some old quarters which were heavily damaged by the war. Buildings almost without a roof, with hundreds of bullet holes in the walls, strong evidence of what made life here much less paradisical than it was.... But always, everywhere, huge cranes towering over all the destroyed buildings, like fingers pointing to a promising future for the city.
Around the World in 80 Clicks
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Beirut (Lebanon). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Beirut. Read more about this site.