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Old Beirut Map

May 16, 2011

So I posted this photo on my Tumblr photo-blog the other day. I was looking at it closely today, and it really is a very interesting map! The map is from 1923, and wow has Beirut changed over time. 

There are a few things that caught my attention more than others though. They are as follows:

“The Old Town And Bazaar” : Notice the two Souks, The Great Mosque, the Synagogue [the Maghen Abraham],the Ottoman Bank,  and the Turkish baths. It is also the area that is shaded the most, which means it was most likely the most condensed area.
The Cemeteries : Mohammedan, Roman Catholic, Jewish, Protestant, and the Turkish [this is an interesting one]
The Universities : The Syrian Protestant College – now known as AUB ; Jesuit University – now known as St. Joseph University if I am not mistaken.
The Orphanages : Gosh this map has a huge amount of orphanages! Its funny though because they are always foreign ones… there are no “Lebanese”, or Syrian, orphanages on this map.
The Railway : So the railway that extends off the map, but seems to start in the “Old Town”. It links to different regions, and even lists the city of “Hama” as a stop.
The Colleges : The Maronite College, College De La Paix, National College, Turkish College, French College of Medicine,  French College, Greek College, and the American College.
The Rawshe Area : Okay, called the “Sand Dunes”? And very sparsely populated in comparison to today!
The Mountain : Okay looking down on the bottom left hand side, there’s “Mount St. Dimitri” – is that still a name of any mountain today?

1.) I think 1923 Beirut had a little bit more diversity than today for some reason. I mean the so many different nations having all these centres in Beirut, I think it had more… “mixture” than today. It wasn’t so homogeneous. 2.) Nahr Beirut – it was FORSURE much much much much cleaner than the nasty river we have today. I would have loved to see a clean Nahr Beirut. 3.) I also wish “Old Town” Beirut was preserved like Old Damascus – I wish we still had functioning Turkish baths, a working synagogue [wait… a preserved one], the old style buildings, the courtyard houses, and so on and so on. I would have liked that. 4.) Also, besides the old town, much of the city was not covered with many buildings… why did we not keep a lot of green spaces… why? why? why?!

But in conclusion, Beirut turned out pretty awesome.

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