Architecture of Lebanon

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"Makaad El Mir" ruins by the rocky beach in Batroun, Lebanon
El Amin Mosque in Beirut designed by Azmi Fakhouri

The architecture of Lebanon, also referred to as Lebanese architecture, embodies the history, culture, and influences that have shaped Lebanon's built environment. Architecture in Lebanon has been influenced by the Umayyad, Phoenician, Mamluk, Roman, Ottoman, French, and Crusades. Various religions and religious sects including Shiite, Sunni and Maronites have also played a role. Lebanon is also home to impressive modern architecture and contemporary architecture commercial structures. The Civil War took a toll, but Lebanon remains rich with historical sites and continues to draw visitors with its hospitable Mediterranean climate and diversity.

Architecture in Lebanon includes castles, ancient Roman thermae, churches, hotels, mosques, museums, government buildings, squares, souqs, towers, monuments, memorials, and residences (including palaces).

Roman Architecture[edit]

Baalbeck is counted as one of the Roman treasures in Lebanon and is home to ancient Roman temples are found built at the end of the third millennium B.C. The city was referred to as the city of the sun (Heliopolis) by the Greeks.[1]

The temples have faced theft, earthquakes and civil wars and wear. French, German and Lebanese archaeologists rebuilt the temples. In 1984, Baalbek was made a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.[2] They are described as being “the finest example of imperial Roman architecture”.

The Jupiter temple is a six Corinthian columns of the great temple. It is a 22 meters high and is built on a podium. In this Temple, only six columns remain out of the 54 giant columns that originally surrounded the sanctuary. The little temple is found near the Jupiter Temple is known as the Temple of Bacchus it was built in the second century A.D. And considered to be the best preserved Roman temple of its size.[3]

Castles[edit]

Lebanon is known for the having many stone castles. Castles in Lebanon include: Castle of Tyre, Tebnine Castle, Beaufort Castle, Lebanon, Byblos Castle, Moussa Castle, and Sea Castle (Sidon).

Temple of the Obelisks[edit]

Byblos is one of the oldest inhabited cities in the world civilization tracing back to around 8800 years B.C.[4][5] The city contains historical ruins including a castle and the church which were originally built by the Crusaders in the 12th and 13th centuries AD. The castle holds a historical story where it has been built, surrendered and regained by Crusaders. It takes shape of the Crusaders designs on the columns, their wall designs and the entrance structures. The castle has multiple vaults inside.

Sidon[edit]

Sidon is one of the very popular historic tourist destinations in Lebanon. The two main cultural influences on Sidon were the Egyptian Pharaohs and the Greeks. The city is known for the castle of Sidon which is a castle on the sea that was built in 1228 by Crusaders. The castle was built on the remains of a Phoenician shrine dedicated to the God Melkart. This castle's location falls on an island in the Lebanese city of Saida, it is about 80 meters from the beach, linked by bridge building on a rocky nine barrages. The roof is usually used for site seeing providing an exquisite view of the port and the old remains of the city. The city Sidon by itself has become a touristic destination because of its value in the history of the country as a whole and for the beauty of its architecture.[6]

Religious architecture[edit]

Roman temples include the Temples of Baalbek, Temple of Eshmun and ancient temples in Niha.

French cultural center in a former synagogue (Deir el Qamar Synagogue) in Deir el Qamar

Deir el Qamar is home to a former synagogue (Deir el Qamar Synagogue) that is now home to a French cultural center.

Churches in Lebanon include Saint George Maronite Cathedral of Beirut, Saint Louis Cathedral, Beirut, Saint George Maronite Cathedral, Beirut, Saint George Greek Orthodox Cathedral, Bzoummar, and St. Elie and St. Gregory the Illuminator Armenian Catholic Cathedral.

19th century[edit]

The Beit ed-Dine palace complex was built by Amir Bechir El-Chehab II in the early 19th century. The palace entrance leads through the gates into an open space. This area was originally used for cavalry practices and for celebrations, which were attended by the public, visitors and important people of that time. The palace complex is now a museum with pictures, transcripts and documents including a collection of ancient pottery. It also contains a collection of Romanian gold jewelery, Islamic glazed wares, ethnographic objects, and ancient and modern weapons.[7]

Major building projects during Ottoman times included the Grand Serail (1853), an Ottoman Bank (1856, closed 1921), Capucine St. Louise (1863), Petit Serail (1884), Beirut train station (1895), Ottoman Clock Tower (1898) and an Ottoman department store (1900).[8] Outside the city walls, Syrian Protestant College (which became American University of Beirut in 1920) opened in 1866.[8] In 1883 the Jesuits also opened a university on the city's edge (Saint Joseph University).[8] New primary and secondary schools were also established.[8]

20th century and Classical architecture to Modernism[edit]

St. George Hotel (designed by August Perret in the 1930s) in Beirut circa 1945

20th century architecture in Lebanon included the period of the French Mandate (1918-1943) and independent periods. Lebanon and Beirut in particular has seen large scale developments in recent decades, especially after the civil war ended.[9] Some historic sites have been lost as new buildings are erected.[9] Swiss architect Addor et Juilliard designed the Central Bank building. Maurice Hindieh designed the Ministry of Defense building (1965) and Andre Wogenscky Lebanese University (1960s).[10] The Museum of the Resistance is in Mleeta. Artisans House (1963) in Ain-Mreisseh and Electricite du Liban headquarters in Beirut. Monastery of Unity in Yarze, School of Ain Najm, and SNA-Assurances headquarters (1970) in Beirut are other modernist examples.

Contemporary architecture[edit]

Seafront Towers at Zaitunay Bay, Downtown Beirut

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International architectecture firms have also played a role and 21st century projects include the New Beirut Bazaar by Rafael Moneo, Hariri Memorial Garden[11] and Zaitunay Bay. The Arab Center for Architecture (ACA) was established in Beirut in 2008.[12] VJAA designed the Charles Hostler Center (2008) in Beirut.[13]

Beirut[edit]

Archaeological artifacts show Beirut was settled back to the Iron Age.[10] Beirut was a city of glory during the Roman era. It then became occupied by different civilizations some of which were the Crusaders in 1109, the Mamluks in 1291 and then Ottomans who stayed in Lebanon for 400 years until 1916. The country then went through a period of French mandate until 1943. During this period European architecture was introduced.[citation needed]

Up until the first half of the 19th century it was not as significant as other cities along the Mediterranean Sea coast (Tripoli and Damascus) and few pre-19th century landmarks remain apart from some religious buildings.[10] In 1831 Ibrahim Pasha established himself in the city in the wake of his struggle against Ottoman rulers.[10] The toll road to Damascus was constructed in 1863, Orozdi Bek Department store in 1900, and the Arts and Crafts School in 1914.[10]

The city now features modern buildings alongside arabesque Ottoman buildings.[citation needed]

Roman and Byzantine structures are found in the city and Beirut is famous for a group of five columns that were discovered underground in the heart of the city during 1963. The group of columns were traced back and found to be a small part of a grand colonnade of Roman Berytus.[14]

Residential architecture[edit]

The first residential houses in Lebanon were the Phoenician houses.[15] They were bricks and the roofs where always formed from huge rocky segments. The perception deriving the method of building a house met some changes after the third millennium BC when the walls of the houses increased in height, some houses were built with stones, others remained rectangular and all increased in dimensions.[citation needed] The exterior and the interior walls where covered sometimes with mud.[citation needed] Lebanese houses incorporated the rules of the Ottoman Empire and the exit of the French mandate.

Architects[edit]

Prominent architects who worked in Lebanon include:

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Baalbek: Heliopolis, city of the sun, p. 15. Dar el-Machreq Publishers : distribution, Librairie Orientale. Retrieved 12 November 2011
  2. ^ UNESCO World Heritage Review describing Baalbek
  3. ^ Ballbek Info, Middle east countries, Retrieved on 18 November 2011
  4. ^ Byblos Info, Middle east cities, Retrieved 19 November 2011
  5. ^ E. J. Peltenburg; Alexander Wasse; Council for British Research in the Levant (2004). Garfinkel, Yosef., "Néolithique" and "Énéolithique" Byblos in Southern Levantine Context* in Neolithic revolution: new perspectives on southwest Asia in light of recent discoveries on Cyprus. Oxbow Books. ISBN 978-1-84217-132-5. Retrieved 18 January 2012. 
  6. ^ Aḥmad ʻĀrif Zayn, (Sidon's history) تاريخ صيدا, Princeton University Arabic collection, مطبعة العرفان 1913
  7. ^ Beit ed-Dine بيت الدين, barelias, Retrieved on 20 November 2011
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Heart of Beirut: Reclaiming the Bourj by Samir Khalaf
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m [1]
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h i Encyclopedia of Twentieth Century Architecture edited by Stephen Sennott pages 128- 130
  11. ^ Hariri Memorial Garden by Vladimir Djurovic Architecture Lab
  12. ^ About Arab Center for Architecture
  13. ^ [2]
  14. ^ Samir Kassir, Malcolm Debevoise, Robert Fisk, Beirut University of California Press, University of California Press, 2010
  15. ^ Peter Rainow, HISTORY OF LEBANON Greenwood histories of the modern nations, Greenwood Pub Group, 2010
  16. ^ Distinguished architect Pierre El-Khoury leaves a dazzling visual legacy July 8, 2005 The Daily Star (Lebanon)

Further reading[edit]

  • A dictionary of 20th century architecture in Lebanon, Alphamedia, Beirut by Yacoube G., 2004.