Achrafieh in Beirut

4 March 2022 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Union for the Mediterranean Reading Time:  6 minutes

Moussa Sursock's palace © James Bradbury/cc-by-sa-4.0

Moussa Sursock’s palace © James Bradbury/cc-by-sa-4.0

Achrafieh is an area in eastern Beirut, Lebanon. In strictly administrative terms, the name refers to a sector (secteur) centred on Sassine Square, the highest point in the city, as well as a broader quarter (quartier). In popular parlance, however, Achrafieh refers to the whole hill that rises above Gemmayze in the north and extends to Badaro in the south, and includes the Rmeil quarter.   read more…

Holy Land

24 December 2021 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Union for the Mediterranean Reading Time:  9 minutes

Star of Bethlehem in the Church of Nativity © Dirk D./cc-by-sa-3.0

Star of Bethlehem in the nativity grotto of the Church of Nativity in Betlehem © Dirk D./cc-by-sa-3.0

The Holy Land is an area roughly located between the Mediterranean Sea and the Eastern Bank of the Jordan River. Traditionally, it is synonymous both with the biblical Land of Israel and with the region of Palestine. The term “Holy Land” usually refers to a territory roughly corresponding to the modern State of Israel, the State of Palestine, western Jordan, and parts of southern Lebanon and southwestern Syria. Jews, Christians, and Muslims regard it as holy. Part of the significance of the land stems from the religious significance of Jerusalem, and the location of the First and Second Temples), as the historical region of Jesus’ ministry, and as the site of the first Qibla of Islam, as well as the site of the Isra and Mi’raj event of c. 621 CE in Islam.   read more…

Hamra Street, Beirut’s Champs Elysées

23 September 2021 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Union for the Mediterranean Reading Time:  12 minutes

Hamra Street © flickr.com - Lolinka/cc-by-2.0

Hamra Street © flickr.com – Lolinka/cc-by-2.0

Hamra Street or Rue Hamra is one of the main streets of the city of Beirut, Lebanon, and one of the main economic and diplomatic hubs of Beirut. It is located in the neighborhood of the same name, Hamra. Its technical name is Rue 31. Due to the numerous sidewalk cafes and theatres, Hamra Street was the centre of intellectual activity in Beirut during the 1960s and 1970s. Before 1975, Hamra Street and the surrounding district was known as Beirut’s trendiest, though in the post-war period it has arguably been eclipsed by Rue Monot in Ashrafieh, Rue Gouraud in Gemmayzeh, Rue Verdun, and downtown area. In the mid 1990s, the Municipality of Beirut gave a face lift to the street to reattract tourists all year round. Hamra Street was known as Beirut’s Champs Elysées as it was frequented by tourists, mostly Americans, Europeans and mega-rich Arabs, all year round. Today it is a commercial district with numerous prestigious universities (such as: American University of Beirut, Lebanese American University, and Haigazian University), hotels, furnished apartments, libraries, restaurants and coffee shops, with “78 Street” (commonly known as “the Alleyway”) being Hamra’s main pubbing and clubbing hub.   read more…

Mount Hermon

26 July 2021 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Union for the Mediterranean Reading Time:  2 minutes

Lake Ram and Mount Hermon © Idobi/cc-by-sa-3.0

Lake Ram and Mount Hermon © Idobi/cc-by-sa-3.0

Mount Hermon is a mountain cluster constituting the southern end of the Anti-Lebanon mountain range. Its summit straddles the border between Syria and Lebanon and, at 2,814 m (9,232 ft) above sea level, is the highest point in Syria and is therefore in two Middle East conflict zones. On the top, in the United Nations buffer zone between Syrian and Israeli-occupied territories, is the highest permanently manned UN position in the world, known as “Hermon Hotel”, located at 2814 metres altitude. The southern slopes of Mount Hermon extend to the Israeli-occupied portion of the Golan Heights, where the Mount Hermon ski resort is located with a top elevation of 2,040 metres (6,690 ft). A peak in this area rising to 2,236 m (7,336 ft) is the highest elevation in Israeli-controlled territory.   read more…

Rue Gouraud in Beirut

22 September 2020 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Union for the Mediterranean Reading Time:  4 minutes

© flickr.com - Karan Jain/cc-by-sa-2.0

© flickr.com – Karan Jain/cc-by-sa-2.0

Rue Gouraud is a mixed residential and commercial street in Gemmayzeh, a neighborhood in the Rmeil district of Beirut in Lebanon. It is named after French General Henri Gouraud. Gemmayze, and Rue Gouraud specifically, competes with the trendy village-type neighborhood of Badaro, as one of Beirut’s bohemian quarters. the district is full of narrow streets and historic buildings from the French era. The neighborhood is well known today for its trendy bars and pubs, cafes, restaurants and lounges, most of which are directly located on Rue Gouraud.   read more…

Routes of El legado andalusi/Al-Andalus

4 October 2019 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Architecture, European Union, General, Living, Working, Building, Palaces, Castles, Manors, Parks, UNESCO World Heritage Reading Time:  8 minutes

© Morningstar1814/cc-by-sa-3.0

© Morningstar1814/cc-by-sa-3.0

In the 8th century, the Iberian Peninsula saw the arrival of Arabs and Berbers who mixed with the Roman-Visigoth inhabitants, engendering what was known as Al-Andalus. This successful medieval Muslim civilisation extended, at its peak, to most of what is today Spain and Portugal, until its downfall in the late 15th century.   read more…

Tripoli in Lebanon

15 July 2019 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, UNESCO World Heritage Reading Time:  10 minutes

Tripoli Souk © Bertramz/cc-by-sa-3.0

Tripoli Souk © Bertramz/cc-by-sa-3.0

Tripoli is the largest city in northern Lebanon and the second-largest city in the country. Situated 85 kilometers (53 miles) north of the capital Beirut, it is the capital of the North Governorate and the Tripoli District. Tripoli overlooks the eastern Mediterranean Sea, and it is the northernmost seaport in Lebanon. It holds a string of four small islands offshore, and they are also the only islands in Lebanon. The Palm Islands were declared a protected area because of their status of haven for endangered loggerhead turtles, rare monk seals and migratory birds.   read more…

Union for the Mediterranean: Bon voyage!

12 January 2019 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Editorial, European Union, General, UNESCO World Heritage, Union for the Mediterranean Reading Time:  138 minutes

Union for the Mediterranean © AndrewRT/cc-by-sa-3.0

Union for the Mediterranean © AndrewRT/cc-by-sa-3.0

The Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) is an intergovernmental organization of 43 countries from Europe and the Mediterranean Basin: the 28 member states of the European Union and 15 Mediterranean partner countries from North Africa, the Middle East (the western and middle part of the Middle East & North Africa region (MENA)) and Southeast Europe. It was created in July 2008 at the Paris Summit for the Mediterranean, with a view to reinforcing the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership (Euromed) that was set up in 1995 and known as the Barcelona Process. The Union has the aim of promoting stability and prosperity throughout the Mediterranean region. It is a forum for discussing regional strategic issues, based on the principles of shared ownership, shared decision-making and shared responsibility between the two shores of the Mediterranean. Its main goal is to increase both North-South and South-South integration in the Mediterranean region, in order to support the countries’ socioeconomic development and ensure stability in the region. The actions of the organization fall under three, interrelated priorities—regional human development, regional integration and regional stability. To this end, it identifies and supports regional projects and initiatives of different sizes, to which it gives its label, following a consensual decision among the forty-three countries. The region has 756 million inhabitants and is scenic, architecturally and culturally very diverse. Cities, lakes, mountains, beaches and national parks offer everything that promises fun, recreation and perfect vacations. The cultural offers are numerous. In addition to many UNESCO World Heritage sites, there are numerous galleries, museums, theaters and opera houses. Of course, there are plenty of shopping and entertainment possibilities. However, holiday pleasure is not untroubled in all countries. At present, Syria and Libya in general, Mauritania (Sahara and Sahel) and Lebanon (North Lebanon and the border regions to Syria and Israel), Palestine (Gaza Strip) should be partly avoided. In all other countries of the Levant and North Africa, increased caution, vigilance and prudence are recommended. At the end of each country portrait is a link to the U.S. Department of State, in order to be able to find out about the current security situation on the ground.   read more…

Theme Week Beirut – The Platinum Tower

7 February 2018 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Union for the Mediterranean Reading Time:  7 minutes

Marina Towers (left) and Platinum Tower (right) © A.K.Khalifeh/cc-by-sa-3.0

Marina Towers (left) and Platinum Tower (right) © A.K.Khalifeh/cc-by-sa-3.0

Platinum Tower is a highrise residential building in Beirut in Lebanon. It occupies a large plot on the Zaitunay Bay Marina, at Saint George Bay in the Beirut Central District. The house is illuminated over night at the edges, and on top, additionally with horizontal light lines at every ninth floor.   read more…

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