Before becoming the new hot spot, the neighborhood, which almost sits on the outskirts of the city, was known for its craftsmanship, repair and spare parts shops. During the day, one can still see this very industrial side and stumble upon an old traditional metal shop in some back alley, among beautiful old houses which sadly are becoming run-down, to be slowly replaced by towers.
As I walked through the crowded alleys of Burj Hammoud, with its many shops of different colors and sizes. I stumbled upon a tiny little shop. Simon Constantinian, a watch repairman, a knife sharpening man, a poet, and an accordionist, owns this little shop of 1 meter by 3 meters.
It is said that Adonis was born of the illicit union between King Theias of Smyrna and his daughter Myrrha at Byblos. Urged on by Aphrodite herself, the goddess of beauty, love and sexual desire, who had been offended when King Theias forgot to make a sacrifice for her, Myrrha had made unsuccessful amorous advances towards her father. One night, she managed to lure him out into the open and there under cover of darkness she laid with him. As dawn broke, Theias discovered to his utter disgust the deception of his daughter and with sword in hand chased her into the wild, wanting to punish her.
Beirut’s cultural importance is embodied in its five major universities, which attract students from all over the Arab world and beyond. Lebanon is home to the oldest private university in the Near East region, which is located on the most beautiful coastal area at the tip of the city of Beirut. The campus covers 65 acres of gardens, 19th century buildings and wooded areas. It has a rich collection of flowers, shrubs and trees, an archeological museum, and a private beach for students and staff, making it the most beautiful campus in the region.
One of the most pleasurable cups of coffee I sip isn’t actually made from coffee beans at all; it’s a Lebanese ahwe bayda, a soothing tisane like hot beverage made from sweet-scented orange flower water.
Soul searching for one’s identity and heritage comes in different ways. Clothing expresses aspects of identity in all societies. In Palestine before the middle of the twentieth century, women in each local region created garments with distinctive types of embroidery and decoration that immediately established the wearer’s origin. To those who knew the regional variations in style, patterns, and colors of embroidery, a quick look at a dress was enough to determine the wearer’s region and even village.
Gebal, Byblos, Jbeil, three names for one place, encapsulating a historical unity, dating from the dawn of time and still evocative. This picturesque town raised above the sea that breaks onto its shores, with its temples shining with the first sunlight like guardians on its slight hill, narrates humbly the story of mankind.
The relationship between humans and wheat, bread’s key ingredient, goes back thousands of years to hunter-gatherer times. Wheat is known to have grown on several continents in ancient times, though it thrived mostly in an area known as the Fertile Crescent, a region that includes parts of modern day Lebanon, Egypt, Iraq, Syria, Jordan, and Palestine.
The fresh flowers blooming in the spring sway with the grass to the rhythm of the wind. All of this happens so fast, so quickly, no one notices. Here in the valley, lost in their labors, people work this fertile land, alike so open and welcoming, they are. The many vineyards of this valley are like a necklace that adorns her. The sun sits above her at daytime as the stars open up at nighttime. The motionless hills that surround her are like hips altered with age.
Greetings in the Arabic language are one of its treasures. The beautiful heartfelt words that one greets another human being in Arabic casts a certain air of fondness and kindliness that is not present in any other language. There is a saying, “you never have a second chance to make a very good first impression.” I believe that to be true when it comes to greetings; that moment when you catch someone’s eyes and you both smile, your body language and the way you greet one another, will set the mood and reveal your feelings about that person.