Beirut is the capital and largest city of Lebanon. Located on a peninsula at the midpoint of Lebanon's coastline with the Mediterranean sea, it serves as the country's main seaport. The first mention of this metropolis is found in the ancient Egyptian Tell el Amarna letters, dating to the 15th century BC, and the city has been continuously inhabited over the centuries since.
Beirut holds Lebanon's seat of government and plays a central role in the Lebanese economy with its Downtown, Hamra, Verdun, and Ashrafieh based corporate firms and banks. The city is also the focal point of the region's cultural life, renowned for its press, theaters and cultural activities.
1- Phoenician Roman Byzantine Structures;
a. Group of five columns: These columns found to the left of St. George Maronite Cathedral, were once part of the grand colonade of Roman Berytus. They were found in 1963.
b. Roman Exedra: Discovered west of the St. Georges Maronite Cathedral, this semi-circular cultural building was moved n 1963 to Blvd. Charles Helou near the Eastern entrance to the modern port.
c. Roman Baths: Behind Bank Street are remains of the Roman Bath which once served the city’s population. Originally discovered in 1968-69, it underwent a thorough cleaning and further excavation in 1995-1997.
d. Highly carved colonnade: Found in the 1940’s between Nejmeh Square and the Great Mosque, this five column colonnade is part of the Roman basilica. The columns were later erected across from the National Museum on Damascus Street.
e. Floor Mosaics: These mosaics came from a Byzantine church of the 5th century A.D. They were moved from Khalde South of Beirut to a site near the National Museum in the 1950’s.
f. Lately discovery of Phonician wall was reported and work is ongoing to reveal the Phoenician side of the city.
2. Crusader, Mamluke and Ottoman Structures;
a. Medieval Wall: An excavated wall dating from Crusader and Mamluke times can be seen North of Weygand Street along the old Patriarch Howayyek Street.
b. Crusader Castle: A large Crusader land castle once stood near the present port area. Excavations in 1995 revealed a large well-preserved section of the foundation wall complete with Roman column drums used as bondstones or reinforcement.
c. The Grand Serail: Constructed in 1853 as an Ottoman military barracks, this building was the headquarters of the French governor during French Mandate. After Lebanon’s Independence, it became the Governmental Palace.
d. Ottoman Military Hospital: Just in front of the Grand Serail, this large building was constructed in 1860 as a military hospital. From the French Mandate Period until the 1960’s it served as Law Courts. Completely renovated, it now houses the Council for Development and Reconstruction.
e. Ottoman Clock Tower: Located near the Grand Serail, this tower was built in 1897 and restored in 1994.
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