July - September 2000

Beirut city center presents an appeal to people from all walks of life. Queen Noor of Jordan was welcomed by SOLIDERE chairman-general manager Nasser Chammaa.

Other visitors included former president of Lebanon Amine Gemayel, as well as official delegations from the US state department, Kuwait municipality, the protocol department at the Senegal prime minister's office, the Middle East department at South Africa's foreign affairs ministry; the Cyprus internal affairs ministry, and an economic delegation from Czechoslavakia.

rom international financial institutions came representatives of the World Bank, Citibank, Finance Stability Institute (Switzerland), Merrill Lynch, National Bank of Canada, Banco Atlatico, Islamic Bank of Dubai, Bank of Bahrain, REFCO financial company and Capital Markets Group Inc. Business visitors included such companies as Saudi Airlines, Mitsubishi Electric Corporation, Siemens, Crang & Boake Inc and Societé des Alcools.

Delegations also came from Communauté de l'Agglomération Dijonnaise, Lions International, Bayern Munich, Dresden University engineering school, Bonn University geography department, and France's Ecole Supérieure des Affaires. Finally, the media was represented by crews from Dubai business television; as well as journalists from the Wall Street Journal, Le Figaro and de Telegraaf.

s usual, a large number of tourists, residents and Lebanese expatriates visited the downtown area during the summer months.


Several events occurred during the quarter. A torch-lighting ceremony celebrating the Millennium took place on July 9 in Martyrs' Square, in the presence of representatives from Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon. The J M Auctions public auction, held in the Sehnaoui building in Riad El Solh street from July 25 to 28, featured more than 1500 pieces of antiques, jewelry and collectors' items. The Barghout flea market, extended by popular demand, continued to attract large crowds to the end of August.

A gymkhana biking challenge rallied a crowd of amateurs on September 17. Organized by the American University of Beirut health sciences alumni chapter and LEO Cosmopolis Beirut Club, it aimed at raising the awareness of bicycles as a healthy alternative to cars. The city center streets, traffic-free on Sunday, were the perfect setting for this event, with Scouts of Lebanon on duty to direct the bikers. Gymkhana participants, and later passers-by took the occasion to express ecological ideas on a large bulletin board.
On ordinary days too, the space was claimed by the Lebanese youth for physical exercise, walking, jogging, roller skating, riding  bicycles or even playing ball. The  city center continues to be favored for its cafés, its squares and gardens, and its landscaped streets bordered with beautiful buildings, which lend themselves to open-air activities.
In addition to its interactive science museum and Microsoft electronic library, Planet Discovery offered special attractions during the summer. Exciting programs, including magicians, jugglers and puppet shows, entertained children every Friday morning throughout the school holidays.