The cedars of Lebanon are an integral part of the history of Lebanon, just like Byblos, Tyre, and Baalbek. They date back to antiquity, when the Phoenicians were exporting cedar-wood to the pharaohs. The superb qualities of the cedar wood as beautiful color, hardness, exquisite fragrance, resistance to insects, humidity and temperature, incited Phoenicians, Egyptians, Greeks and many others to use it extensively. The wood was not only used for construction but more especially for nobler purposes, this was the sacred wood of the gods and used to honor the dead, a task to which the people of the ancient orient attached a deep importance. The Egyptians used its resin to mummify their dead and thus called it the “life of death”, and cedar sawdust was found in the tombs of the Pharaohs as well.
In past generations, no one purchased bread. Bread dough was made at home daily and taken to the village forn (meaning oven) to be baked for a small fee. The expression nisswan al-forn refers to the ladies who sat and talked while they waited for their bread to bake. Today, the term is used to describe women who love to gossip.
As you cross the Beirut River and enter Bourj Hammoud, you are directly transported into another world. It’s a city within a city where the smells of its restaurants fill the air and stand side by side next to jewelry, home ware, and fashion shops. Getting lost in the maze of streets selling every kind of artisanal product, you can’t help but feel transported out of Lebanon and into Armenia with shop signs written in two languages, Armenian and mostly English. Lebanon is home to around 230,000 people of Armenian descent, the sixth largest Armenian population outside Armenia worldwide.
The Phoenician wall is a beautiful historical landmark on the coast of the city of Batroun. Batroun is considered to be one of the most important towns during the Phoenician period. The Wall is thought to be the inspiration for the town’s name by some historians. Batroun is thought to come from the Arabic word “bater” meaning to cut. This is in reference to the wall “cutting” the sea to protect Batroun from potentially destructive tidal waves. Other historians believe that the name of the town is derivative of the Phoenician words, beit truna, which translates to house of the chief.
Hamra Street runs parallel to the Mediterranean coast. It is one of the main streets of Beirut. Due to the numerous sidewalk cafes and theaters that used to be around it, Hamra used to be the center of intellectual activity in Beirut during the 1960s and 1970s. It remains one of the last authentic bastions of liberalism and tolerance in the Middle East and the only cosmopolitan street in all of Lebanon. It’s the one place where sectarian, religious, and political differences don’t matter much for the people who live there. Streets have a life of their own, a life that they claim. They don’t just document the walk of history, the sound of wars and victories; they also go a long way to establish the culture of a city.
To2borne, meaning may you bury me, is by far the funniest and the most Lebanese of expressions. Try explaining it to a non-speaking Arabic friend and you’ll understand how completely absurd it is. It’s a word of endearment from one loving person to another. Parents when talking to their children or about them, grandparents, and family members, most commonly use it. It is said to a loved one meaning you wish to die before them, thus them burying you so you never have to live a day without them.
Amongst the hustle and bustle of every day life and the youngsters’ busy nightlife in Gemayzeh, lies a small shop, a very small Dekeneh of 3m x 4m. Fahed Bou Dagher owns a small grocery shop located just before Joe Penas on Boutros Dagher Street. He sells chocolates, biscuits, chips, soft drinks, nuts, a little bit of alcohol, cigarettes, and some other random things like Hummus cans, Picon cheese, and ice cream.
Behind every passionate story, there is a protagonist who’s the avid champion of its idea. Born and raised in Batroun, Jamil Haddad is a sun kissed 32 year old adventurer at heart. He started brewing beer at home at the age of 22, mixing, trying different tastes and flavors, and inviting his friends over for tasting. When he decided to follow his passion, he travelled over four years around Europe and stayed in London learning the ropes of brewing. In the summer of 2013 he quit his job to focus on founding the brewery and a year later, in June, he started to sell the first bottles of Colonel. Everything about Colonel beer has been thought of, the man dressed in army clothes wearing a pirate hat on the bottle is an ode to the stretch of land where he surfs with his friends, which is located next to Colonel Bitar’s chalet by the sea in Batroun.
In the heart of a beautiful village in the north of Lebanon resides a 19th century Lebanese house that has just been turned into a bed and breakfast. As you drive by the old village center of Douma with its beautiful old buildings and picturesque views of the sea, perched on a hill just a top the village center resides this beautiful old house with yellow and burgundy shutters
Twin suicide attacks in Borj al Brajne claimed the lives of 44 people and injured more than 200, but in the aftermath of the tragedy one man has been credited with helping to save the lives of hundreds after he lost his own life tackling one of the bombers who was preparing to blow themselves up in the crowd. As crowds began to gather outside the mosque targeted by a suicide bomber, Adel Termos, a 32-year-old car mechanic and father of two, spotted a second bomber approaching and threw himself at him. The intervention forced the bomber to detonate his suicide vest and thus saving hundreds of lives. Termos, however, died in the blast.