The park, which accounts for 72% of all green space in Beirut, started off as a pine forest planted by Emir Fakhr Edin II in the 17th century. When Israel invaded Lebanon in 1982, during the country’s 15-year-long civil war, the park was heavily damaged, with many of its trees burned and destroyed. It’s been closed for the general public for the last 25 years. Thanks to the amazing effort of an NGO called Nahnoo, it’s now open every Saturday.
A more sensitive issue behind the park’s closing is its precarious location directly between Sunni, Shia and Christian neighborhoods known as flashpoints for sectarian conflict.