Category Archives: Lebanon

Lebanon Featured On The North Face’s Instagram Account

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northface

The North Face featured on its Instagram account this stunning picture of Tannourine that was taken by team climber @bookofsamuel. The picture shows Will Nazarian, an Armenian/American climber, who’s been climbing all over Lebanon and has some amazing videos on the Rock climbing Association for Development page [R-A-D.org].

Tannourine

Check this video below taken in Tannourine

[YouTube]

Thanks Sarhad!

Father Of Lebanese Wine And Owner Of The World-Renowed Château Musar Serge Hochar Dies On New Year’s Eve

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Hochar

Lebanese wine industry legend Serge Hochar and the owner of world-renowed Chateau Musar has died in a swimming accident on New Year’s Eve in Mexico. Hochar is considered as the father of Lebanese wine and has helped Lebanon’s wine industry reach international acclaim.

Hochar studied the wine business in France and took over his father’s vineyard in 1959. In 1967, Château Musar’s reds won international approval and helped put Lebanon’s modern-day wine-making on the map. He was named Decanter magazine’s Man of the Year in 1984 for continuing to produce wine during Lebanon’s 1975-90 civil war, mostly from vineyards in the Bekaa Valley.

Here’s a beautiful tribute by Cathy Huyghe:

Ms Gilbert wrote about what you did, at 11 o’clock one morning in 1990 when Beirut (and your own apartment building) began to shake from shells dropped during a Syrian assault. You should have run to the bomb shelter. Instead you slowly poured a whole bottle of your 1972 Château Musar into a decanter, walked to the bedroom of your apartment, and closed the door behind you. For twelve hours you sat, and you listened. To the shelling, of course. And to the wine.

“What do you have to say to me now?” you asked your wine, hour after hour, sip after sip.

You listened.

And you survived that day. Somehow. Your winery did too, on the land of Lebanon and in the marketplace of the world.

You and your Château Musar have been the standard-bearer of wine from Lebanon, and from nearly the entire region, for a generation. You have inspired people you weren’t supposed to inspire. You have resisted others. You have persevered. You have relished life.

What’s better is that you have toasted it.

In some ways the current generation of winemakers in Lebanon operate with a different agenda than you did, and that too is as it should be. Times have changed, as you knew, and so have motivations, and politics, and even war. But there is no arguing that you have shaped the landscape of wine in the Middle East, and the concentric circles of influence that emanate outward from it.

For that I toast you, M. Hochar.

I toast your perseverance.

And I toast the lesson of listening – to the land, and especially to the wine.

What To Expect When You Order A Pizza Pepperoni With Ham At A Cedars Restaurant?

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ham

This story took place on the first day of the year and was shared by LebaneseMemes. A group of 11 people visited a restaurant in the Cedars on January 1 and ordered a pizza pepperoni with ham among other things. That’s what they got apparently lol! Here’s what the chef said to explain it: “I didn’t incorporate the Ham in the pizza because I was worried the waiter would make a mistake and serve it to someone else”.

The restaurant staff probably hadn’t recovered yet from New Year’s Eve but that’s still hilarious! The pizza looks good by the way.

The Lebanese Police Should Arrest This Guy And Destroy His Bike

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bike idiot

I saw this video yesterday on NekatLebanese18‘s instagram account then I remembered I had posted about him already before when he pulled a similar stunt on the Dora highway. However this time, he apparently made there’s a policeman looking at him.

Since he’s not only an idiot but an arrogant one, the ISF should arrest him, destroy his bike and forbid him from driving any bikes or cars for a long time. Check out the video [here].

4 Reasons Why Everyone Is Sharing Dubai, Not Beirut’s NYE Fireworks

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fireworks

I always enjoy watching NYE fireworks from around the world mainly in London, Sydney and New York. As far as the Middle East is concerned, Dubai has been impressing the world with a spectacular show around Burj Khalifa every year and yesterday’s show was even more impressive than last year. Of course we also had fireworks planned in Beirut but most Lebanese I know are sharing Dubai’s fireworks for 4 main reasons:

1- Dubai’s fireworks were the most expensive in the world ($6M) and Dubai broke the Guinness record for the world’s largest pyrotechnic display, setting off 500,000 fireworks in six minutes. It’s very hard, even for New York, Sydney and London, to compete with a city that has something as big as Burj Khalifa.

2- Christmas decoration was poor this year in Beirut and NYE celebrations were also shy. I don’t know why the Beirut municipality is not spending much this year (money is not an issue though) but we barely heard about the fireworks and I haven’t seen any videos and only a couple of pictures online and Instagram. I think it’s quite shameful as we had some really cool fireworks few years ago in Beirut and it would have been nice to keep this tradition going and let people look forward to this spectacle.

3- Celebratory gunfire is still very common in most areas in Lebanon, even in Beirut. A lot of Lebanese don’t like fireworks and would rather fire their guns and even machine guns to welcome the new year. It’s stupid and dangerous but a lot of people still do it. Check out this [video] taken yesterday at midnight.

4- Cities like Jounieh and Jbeil are becoming more popular every year and are organizing cool fireworks and shows. Of course this is a positive thing but Beirut is the capital and NYE celebrations should be special there. Moreover, a lot of Lebanese love to spend New Year’s Eve in the mountains, like Faraya, Mzaar, The Cedars, Broummana, Zahle, Ehden as it’s far from the city’s traffic and it’s nicer and cosier specially when there’s snow.

So until we have cool fireworks in Beirut, enjoy Dubai’s stunning NYE spectacle:

[YouTube]

Down Town Beirut Has Got Everything Except People

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Sousk

The Washington Post shared an article today on Down Town Beirut and how it was rebuilt after the civil war and now has everything except people. This is not the first time that this issue is raised and it is true that DT is without a soul but I disagree with some of the stuff mentioned by those interviewed in the article.

1- Rich people are going more often to DT Beirut and specifically to Beirut Souks as all the fancy shops are there. Businesses in the square were mostly hurt by the political tensions after 2006 when Beirut was fully closed for months and then due to the explosions and the security situation. Moreover, the widespread of the Arguile cafe trend, the tight security measures and lack of parking lots, as well as the overpriced lousy food served in some Beirut restaurants, are also responsible for the closure of some businesses.

“Even the rich people don’t bother coming anymore,” Mohammed Younnes, 27, said on a recent Saturday evening as he gazed at the empty tables of Grand Café, an eatery he manages in downtown Nejmeh Square. Businesses in the square, distinctive for an art-deco clock tower with “Rolex” written on its dial, are relocating or going bankrupt.

2- The reconstruction project did not demolish all historical buildings and Beirut was booming with tourists and Lebanese even when there were no parks or public spaces. In fact, it was the only decent place to walk between restaurants and shops and have a good time before 2006 so I disagree here.

But many Lebanese say that there is another problem: the reconstruction project demolished historical buildings and filled the area with upscale condos and shops. There are few parks or other public spaces.

3- Swarovski? Really?? If there’s anything the average Lebanese can afford, it’s Swarovski.

But the average Lebanese worker earns less than $10,000 a year and can’t afford the new multimillion-dollar residences or the swank offerings from the boutiques of Ermenegildo Zegna or Swarovski.

4- I blame Solidere for a lot of things but DT Beirut was booming and alive before 2006. Tourists and Lebanese loved eating, partying and just walking in DT Beirut but it all changed after the 2006 war and the endless political tensions. Nevertheless, Solidere has been doing a lot of wrong things and should take part of the blame.

After the civil war, Hariri founded a state-affiliated company, Solidere, which led the rebuilding effort and now manages downtown like a virtual municipality. The company, which declined to comment for this article, has been accused by architects, heritage-preservation organizations and everyday Lebanese of driving out the area’s original property owners and unnecessarily demolishing historical buildings.

5- I honestly don’t think parks are the answer here. Uruguay street is booming because it’s a cozy street where people can go and have few drinks. The real problem nowadays is that Beirut Souks and the lower part of Down Town Beirut are attracting everyone while the upper part is dead because it only has restaurants and there are no parking lots around it anymore. Add to that the fact that the road is closed every time there’s a parliament session or a demonstration. Maybe restaurants should try reopen in the lower part and see how things work out. Uruguary street is doing great and more pubs are opening every month.

Preservation activists and many Beirut residents say a rethinking of the center is badly needed. Hallak, the architect, said business would benefit from more cultural projects and public spaces. This would mean creating parks to attract families and sacrificing some profit for preservation, she said. For example, the building that once housed the famed Opera Cinema could become a cultural center, she said. Currently, it is a Virgin Megastore.

All in all, the fact that only millionaires can afford buying apartments in Beirut is not why the city is without a soul. Residential and commercial prices were always high but the city was alive and kicking. I used to spend hours in traffic just to go party at Buddha part and walk in the streets of Beirut. I think what this city needs is for the municipality to drop its rent prices to encourage businesses to reopen and create more parking spaces. Moreover, and some people are going to laugh here, but relocating the parliament to another remote location would most definitely bring back some life to Beirut and make a lot of Lebanese happy.

Thanks Mustapha for the article!