Louis Capuchin church
Beirut city center is rich in places of worship.
Symbolically standing out together against the city center skyline
are four high points of spiritual life.
One is the minaret of Al-Omari mosque, originally Nabi Yahya mosque,
built in the thirteenth century AD around the twelfth century St
John the Baptist church. Two other minarets belong to the Emir Assaf
and Emir Munzir mosques, dating back to the seventeenth century.
Nearby is the bell tower of the eighteenth-century St Louis Capuchin
church. The restored church was reconsecrated on December 3 by the
Restoration is completed in the Emir Munzir mosque, and ongoing in
Al Omari mosque's Maarad street façade, and both are open to the
Advanced restoration works will soon allow the resumption of worship
in the Emir Assaf mosque.
The following places of worship are also operational.
From the nineteenth century: the Evangelical church, with its clock
tower and red tiled roof; and St George Maronite cathedral, built
along the style of Santa Maria Maggiore.
From the twentieth century:
Abu Bakr As Saddik (Ad-Dabbagha) mosque, designed by Altounian,
architect of the Parliament building and the Nejmeh clock tower; St
Elias Maronite, St Nichan Armenian-Orthodox, St Elie
Armenian-Catholic and All Saints Anglican churches.
St George Greek-Orthodox cathedral is the only remaining vestige of
a medieval episcopal monastery, dedicated to the patron saint of the
Rebuilt several times after being wrecked by earthquakes and other
disasters, it took its present shape and was consecrated as a
cathedral in the eighteenth century. It suffered serious damage
during the Lebanon war.
Excavation and renovation works began in 1995. Due to lack of funds,
they were postponed until August 2000.
With the Directorate General of Antiquities' authorization, and at
the request of Greek-Orthodox Archbishop of Beirut Elias Audi, the
excavations are endeavoring to piece together the history of the
The final plan is to create a museum within the cathedral,
displaying the unearthed artefacts under the church, to be viewed
through a glass floor.
St Elias Greek-Catholic church, built in the nineteenth century,
still remains unrestored.
Square festive decorations
El Solh Square and the Grand Serail
ciew of the city center
Day had a special meaning this year, in view of the Israeli
withdrawal from the south of Lebanon in May 2000.
The traditional November 22 parade took place in Martyrs' Square,
for the first time since Lebanon became independent in 1943. It was
previously held in Abdullah Yafi Avenue, near the Hippodrome, where
preparations created traffic congestion. Pending the reinstallation
of the Martyrs' monument in the square, the president of the
Republic placed a wreath for the unknown soldier near a symbolic
painting. A display of marching bands, soldiers and military
equipment also passed through the square.
In the evening, the Grand Serail opened up to music, with a concert
performed by the 28-member chamber orchestra from Mantova in Italy.
The concert, sponsored by the Italian Embassy and the Monuments en
Musique association, also featured the Lebanese soprano Fadia Tomb
El-Hage accompanied by Notre-Dame University choir.
The Grand Theatre was the setting for a concert by the Greek soprano
Penny Pavlakis, on November 25. Interactive art in the form of a
multimedia concert also took place at the Grand Theatre on November
11. Photographs and other cultural attractions were displayed while
music was played by the five-member Art Core group.
Bang & Olufsen's 75th anniversary was celebrated with a
reception, held at their Weygand street showroom, on November 17.
A march took place through the city center on November 12, organized
by former first lady Mona Hrawi in support of the Thallasimia
The Bizzarro motorshow was organized in Martyr's Square from
November 9 to December 10. The Italian motorshow team of eleven
stuntmen and women entertained spectators, performing stunts with
cars, motorcycles and trucks, and jumping from one moving car to
another as they hovered on two wheels.
Antiques are popular in the city center. J M Auctions organized an
auction in November in the Sehnaoui building in Riad El Solh street.
In the Foch street area, starting from November 5, the Souk al
Barghout flea market featured a rich variety of antiques and
brocante in addition to a wide assortment of cafés.
Souk al Barghout was prolonged to the end of December 2000,
contributing to the festive spirit during the Ramadan nights and the
Christmas season. This was enhanced by the holiday lighting.
Martyrs' Square was illuminated by the Dar al-Aytam al-Islamiya
Ramadan decorations, as well as a giant Christmas tree installed by
SOLIDERE. Attractive arrangements and lights were provided in
streets and buildings.
Planet Discovery, the children's science museum, organized special
festivities for Ramadan and Christmas. Apart from a Santa Claus
workshop, puppet shows and a magician entertained children daily
from December 14 to January 8.
UFA Assurance building
street and Nejmeh Square