How To Spend One Day In Lebanon

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I started this “How To Spend One Day In Lebanon” series of posts last year but had to stop them given the security situation at the time. However, I am hoping that this summer will be better for Lebanon so I will resume the posts in the upcoming weeks.

The 3 posts I’ve written last year are still valid and you can check them out below:

How To Spend One Day In Lebanon [Day1] [Day2] [Day3]

Burj el Murr: Tower of Bitterness

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Burj el Murr was built in the 1970s yet has only been used as a sniper hideout during the Lebanese Civil War. After reading about the Holiday Inn hotel being auctioned off soon, I tried looking for updates on the Burj el Murr but found none. Instead I ended up on this dark 11 minute video done by Lina Ghaibeh on the Burj.

PS: Just ignore the warning and watch it on VIMEO.

Bullet-scarred Holiday Inn Hotel In Beirut Set To Be Auctioned In Coming Months

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lebanon_beirut_holidayinn via Geographylists

The shareholders of the iconic Holiday Inn hotel in Beirut have been locked in a dispute for years over its future, but it appears that they’ve reached some sort of settlement as this article suggests the hotel is set to be auctioned off in the months to come. Let’s hope the rumors are true because the hotel is a reminder of Lebanon’s golden age and has one of the best locations in Beirut.

Having said that, I wish they’d let people visit the devastated hotel before it get renovated or demolished. I’ve asked a lot of people if it’s possible to go inside but the answer is that the army doesn’t let anyone in.

It never returned to being a hotel, and has instead loomed silently above a fast-changing city populated by memories of a dark past and dreams of a dazzling future. “It’s a unique building. It’s sad that 24 years on (from the end of the war), all we see is a carcass,” sighed Roland Abdeni, CEO of real estate company CIL (Compagnie Immobiliere Libanaise), which owns 34 percent of the building’s shares.

The landmark Phoenicia Hotel just next door has been restored to its onetime glory, but the shareholders of the building housing the defunct Holiday Inn have been locked in a dispute over its future. While CIL wanted to renovate the building and set up luxury lofts for rent or sale, a Kuwaiti group that owns half the shares has been keen to demolish the site and erect a new tower block like scores of others that have sprang up in post-war Beirut. A fresh window of opportunity has opened, just as CIL prepares to disband 50 years after its establishment, and now the building is set to be auctioned off.

mccullin_pict1 Christian gunmen in the Holiday Inn taken during the battle of the hotels

Internal Security Forces Not Allowed To Use Their Cell Phones While On Duty

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I didn’t see any official press release from the ISF, and I don’t think it’s because of Whatsapp that the ISF took this decision.

In all cases, and since ISF is active on Twitter and Facebook now, it should cooperate with Lebanese citizens to catch these officers by letting people send pictures and upload them.