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Thursday, February 20, 2020

Beirut Down Town (2) | The Archeological Discovery at a Glance

Beirut Down Town_The Archeological Discovery at a Glance
The Archeological Park, view at night, discovered near the Grand Serail in Beirut- Photo Credit: Solidere


Please note, that the hereby article is just informative; the information stated below was collected at the beginning of the project execution and many of its components were modified, canceled, or outdated.
The target of this post is to highlight this big project that took place in my city Beirut, and still not reach its end yet.
Since its inauguration around the year 1994, this project keeps on attracting me with fascination...
  • This study is divided into four parts; it is advised to read it in its sequel order to avoid any misunderstanding of the ideas contained within the articles.

Part Two | The Archeological Discovery at a Glance

As I promise in a previous post, here I am in this new post trying to put in your hands a glance about what was discovered in the first excavations works and later on, concerning the remains found in various archeological sites in Beirut.

A Solidere Map showing the Archeological Area (Photo: Credits to SOLIDERE)
Brochure: The Paths of History 1994
In fact, there was only one large site, which includes all the traces of the old civilizations that passed through the city during the past ages.

And all other founds were plus or minus important unless some potteries and finds like mosaics pavers and colonnade, etc… discovered here and there.

This has been said; I did solve or find the way-out for the first section-constraint, as it was quoted in my previous post: The archeological site location.

As it is shown in the map aside; This is the Master Plan of Beirut (must be modified later) which is like a zoning map, that includes the various areas divided and classified into different functional zones, like housing, commercial, entertainment, or other…

As we can see, the velvet area (named Archeological Area) is the area in question, and it is the one and only.

The other parts that include the rest of the founds are not considered as appropriate, while the first one is considered as a preserved area, which means it has the essential qualifications to be a conservative area.

The main qualities required to found such areas are to be environmentally protected and safe.

And as per my investigation with the archeologists and related people that were working on the site, they affirm that it is the ideal place to be the preserved or conservative site for the finds, because of its natural entourage of already-preserved-architecturally-significant buildings.

We are referring here to those four monumental-buildings:
  • The St George Maronites Cathedral.
  • The St Georges Greek Orthodox Cathedral. 
  • The St Elias Greek Catholic Cathedral.
  • And finally, Mohammed Al-Amin Mosque for the Islamic sect. (Not yet built at this time)
Yes, it’s the pure coincidence, accidentally or unintentionally, to prove the national unity of the Lebanese, as always, and this time in their deep common history.

Let’s stop by and have a glance at those historical monumental buildings:

1- Cathedral Saint George of the Maronites

Built around the year 1894 by the Archbishop of Beirut, Mgs. Debs, after the model of Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome. It replaced an old and smaller church belonging to the same religious affiliation.
Cathedral Maronite St George
The Cathedral in its several stages, from recent till early - (Photo: Credits to Wikipedia.org)

Its Ottoman basement vaults served in the early period of excavation as one of the city’s archeological workshops.

2- Cathedral Saint George of the Greek Orthodoxes

Built by Efstathuis in the fifth century AD and bordered the auditoria of Beirut's Roman law school.

In 551 AD a massive earthquake destroyed the whole of Beirut including the "Anastasis cathedral".
In the 12th century, a cathedral was built in the same location. The structure was badly damaged by a 1759 earthquake and was pulled down to be built anew.
Cathedral St Georges by Gregor Rom - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0 (Photo: Credits to Wikipedia.org) 

Construction started in 1764 and the new, larger structure, with one nave and a vaulted ceiling, was completed in 1767.

In 1975, following the outbreak of the Lebanese civil war, the cathedral was shelled and vandalized.

3- The St Elias Greek Catholic Cathedral

It is a Melkite Greek Catholic cathedral dedicated to Saint Elias, completely restored after the Lebanese Civil War (1975-1990) on previous constructions dating to a Choueirite convent from the 19th century. Its plan followed the Byzantine style.
The St Elias Greek Catholic Cathedral
The St Elias Greek Catholic Cathedral in Beirut Down Town (Photo: Credits to Wikipedia.org) 

The Mohammed El-AMin Mosque
The Mohammed El-Amin Mosque - (Photo: Credits to Wikipedia.org) 

4- The Mohammad Al-Amin Mosque

Also referred to as the Blue Mosque, an Islamic Sunni Muslim mosque located in downtown Beirut Lebanon.

In the 19th century, a zawiya (prayer corner) was built on this site.

Decades of preparation to obtain sufficient land adjacent to the old Zawiya led finally to the building of the new mosque as seen today. It was inaugurated in 2008.


At the end of this section, and in the next part, I will be getting a full review of the excavations and their primitive status, with many pictures taken on-site at the time of the works.

I felt proud when I stayed there contemplating all that treasure that was buried here down and unknown for years ago...

"Thanks to the war, all was out now..."

In the next post

Documentation of the findings and other important details found.


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