The scent of nostalgia, the memory of loved ones, the calling of home, all perpetuated in small trinkets, house objects, and china plates. Basta is a true reflection of Beirut’s old beauty. The antiques, their owners, their history, the shops, the buildings on top of them, everything hints the sense of a city rich in stunning artifacts with an appreciation for beautiful living.
Graffiti canons spray paint art to the ones who reach out to lost dreams. Rebels formed from the corruption held at home. They stand tall out of this, wide-awake, and make a stance. They bring wisdom, facts, and not opinions as they color the walls in truth.
Maroun Bagdadi was arguably Lebanon’s most prominent filmmaker, one whose work has been seen all over the world. One of his best-known films, “Houroub Saghira” (Little Wars), a narrative on the brutalities of Lebanon’s civil war, was shown at the 1982 Cannes Film Festival, drawing this comment from a prominent film critic: “To make a film about Beirut that eschews polemics for more universal, more human issues is an achievement.” In 1975, he directed his first feature film, Beyrouth ya Beyrouth, Koullouna Lil Watan, a 75-minute documentary produced in 1979, won the Jury Honor Prize at the International Leipzig Festival Documentary and Animated Film.
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.
Beiteddine was build to give pleasure to the eye. A palace surrounded with gardens, adorned by beauty, shining with apparent and hidden splendors. During the day, the marble throws its clear light, which invades the black corners that the shadows blacken. At Night, the stars wish to rest amidst its picturesque courtyard.
Another slow food foundation for the protection of food biodiversity is our very own keshek el foukara (poor man’s cheese). Majdel Zoun is located around ten kilometers from the ancient city of Tyre, a small village of Muslim farmers situated in a dry stony landscape. Their Keshek el fouqara in fact uses no milk, whereas keshek is commonly made with goat’s milk yoghurt.
Beloved for her powerful voice, Sabah, actress and entertainer, was never far from the limelight during her six-decade career.
Saida, Arabic for fishing, takes its name from the old Phoenician word sidouna, also meaning fishing. In Genesis Sidon is a son of Canaan, a grandson of Noah. One of the most important, and perhaps the oldest, Phoenician cities dating around 4000 B.C., and perhaps even earlier, in Neolithic times, it was twice destroyed in war between the 7th and 4th centuries B.C., and again during the earthquake in the 6th Century A.D. It was the base from which the Phoenician’s great Mediterranean empire grew. Of all of Lebanon’s cities this is the most mysterious, for its past has been tragically scattered and plundered.
Tyre is a fabled place where monumental ruins recall as they change character with the daylight, the grandiose architecture and the vision, which its roman conquers, acquired from the orient. It evokes in equal measure the splendors of Phoenician times and those of Rome and Byzantium.
There is an intimate connection between food, seasons, and land that is universal. As the seasons change so does the earth, the air, the animals, and our body start to require different types of food. Somehow we are all connected on this little planet and what influences one, influences the other.