A city known as the city of contrasts, hosting various religions and sects. Often referred to as the “Paris of the East,” it’s almost like an open-air museum. Where is it? Of course, it’s Beirut. Enjoy the reading 🙂
The Capital of Lebanon
Beirut, once known as the Paris of the East in the 1970s, is the capital and largest city of Lebanon. Situated on a peninsula along the Mediterranean coast of Lebanon, Beirut boasts the country’s largest and main port. Additionally, the Beirut River runs through the eastern edge of the city, extending southward. The history of the city dates back 5000 years.
Origin of the Name Beirut
Travelers passing through a region in the Arabian Gulf known as Berit gave the name Beirut to this place when they saw the water wells. It can be said that the city was established on these water wells. For centuries, these water wells have been essential focal points of the city. Some of these wells are still operational in different areas of Beirut.
Mosques and Churches Side by Side
With a history dating back 5,000 years, Beirut has been home to many cultures over time, including Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, Arabs, and Ottomans. Due to its cosmopolitan history, which is a source of pride for the Lebanese people, Beirut is culturally rich.
The city is home to a diverse range of religious communities. You can encounter people of various religions in Beirut, including Sunni/Shiite Muslims, Armenian/Greek/Maronite Catholics, Orthodox Christians, and Protestants.
The Symbolic Mosque of Beirut
Al-Omari Mosque is one of the symbolic places in Beirut. When exploring its history, you come across an intriguing story. Originally the Saint John Cathedral during the Crusades, this structure served as a pagan temple until the Mamluk invasion in 1291. After that date, the mosque was known as the Al-Tabva Mosque, and later it was named after the caliph Umar ibn al-Khattab.
Muhammed al-Amin Mosque
Many buildings in Beirut bear Ottoman and Turkish influences. One of these structures is the Muhammed al-Amin Mosque. Completed in 2008, this mosque was inspired by the Sultan Ahmed Mosque (Blue Mosque) in Istanbul, making it the largest mosque in the country. The Turkish influences are clearly visible in the interior decorations of the mosque. The tiles in the mosque were made in Kütahya, and the carpets were brought from Turkey.
Right outside the Muhammed al-Amin Mosque, there is a mausoleum where Lebanon’s former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, who was assassinated in 2005, and others who lost their lives with him are buried.
Beirut National Museum
Illuminating the history of Lebanon, the Beirut National Museum houses a rich collection that emphasizes various eras such as Egypt, Rome, Byzantium, and the Ottoman period. The museum boasts over 100,000 historical artifacts. Due to its extensive collection, the National Museum is considered one of the most important museums in the Middle East.
Remnants of the Roman Bath
This city not only hosts history above ground but also underground. The ruins of the Roman Bath, located near the Parliament building, are another notable monument of the city.