Salim Eddé, an engineer and graduate of the École Polytechnique, began in 1997 to put together a mineral collection like no other. Eddé’s story of success could be classified as one of the “Steve Jobs moments”, an idea hatched in a garage with personal funding of around $8,000 by Eddé and a college friend. Elias Eddé, Salim’s younger brother who was still in college, worked alongside the pair. Murex was born, and it is now one of the most successful software companies in the world and still very much a family business.
The Sursock mansion, completed in 1912, is an ornate, white wedding cake of a building. It combines Venetian and Ottoman architectural styles. The building is a melange of influences, much like Beirut. Originally the residence of aristocratic art-lover Nicolas Sursock, it was bequeathed to the city on his death in 1952. When it opened as a museum in 1961. The mansion housed exhibitions from artists in the Middle East and around the world, as well as the prestigious Salon d’Automne for local figures. It’s finally open again after 8 years of renovation and a 12 million$ lift.