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.
The pomegranate originated in the region of modern-day Iran and has been cultivated since ancient times throughout the Mediterranean region and northern India. In Lebanon it is typically in season from September to February. Its name derives from Medieval Latin pōmum “apple” and grānātum “seeded”. While the apple usually takes the blame for humanity’s fall from grace, some biblical scholars have suggested that the forbidden fruit of the Bible wasn’t an apple, but this red beauty.
I gaze upon this landscape, mountains, hills, valleys appear endlessly. Showing the beauty of life, nostalgic feelings surge relentlessly of what nature must have been like here. As you begin the sharp ascent up the rocky path, you are teleported into one of Lebanon’s richest biodiversity zones, seemingly miles and millennia away from reality.
In a little forgotten area in Beirut, amongst a small forgotten community, reside a group of incredibly brave and strong independent women. They have taken the decision that they will no longer be a victim and stand by watching their life go by. Today they fight for what they want, and most of all fight for the women they want to become.
As the sun rises and the sky is not yet blue but waking up from its deep sleep, the forns (ovens) are hard at work preparing this dough pressed flat and baked with a topping of choice (zaatar, cheese, minced meat, vegetarian), The man’oushé.