Michael Totten

This is Beirut

Well, it had to happen. I’m out of fresh material from the Middle East until I go back and get more. Iran is next on the list…if the mullahs will let me in. It will be a while before I know one way or the other.
In the meantime, I have more than a thousand digital pictures that no one has seen yet. Here are 30 of them. All were taken in, of, and above Beirut, Lebanon, my favorite city in the Middle East by far.

Lebanon Shore from Balloon.jpg
Mount Sannine rises above the Mediterranean and Beirut’s northern suburbs. Photo taken from a hot air balloon over downtown.

Balcony View Day.JPG
I saw this lovely view of the Mediterranean every single day from the balcony of my apartment above the American University of Beirut.

Balcony View Night.JPG
And I saw this lovely view every night. I doubt I’ll ever have such a view again from my house.

Solidere from Balloon 1.jpg
Downtown Beirut from the air.

Solidere from Balloon 2.jpg
Downtown Beirut from the air.

Martyrs Square from Balloon.jpg
The top of the Green Line that divided East and West Beirut during the civil war. That big empty space you see was the part of downtown that didn’t survive. Martyr’s Square is down there. When a million Lebanese demonstrated against Syrian occupation last year, that’s where they did it. They filled the whole space. Then they overflowed it.

Moving Cars Solidere.jpg
Solidere, downtown Beirut.

Colorful Windows Beirut Night.JPG
Solidere, downtown Beirut.

Grand Cafe Beirut.jpg
Solidere, downtown Beirut.

Grand Cafe Beirut Night.JPG
Solidere, downtown Beirut.

Italian Restaurant Solidere.jpg
View from an Italian restaurant, downtown Beirut.

Cranes Beirut.jpg
Lots of new construction next to the restored downtown.

East Beirut from Balloon.jpg
East Beirut from the air.

Achrafieh Street.jpg
A street in Achrafieh, East Beirut.

Achrafieh Street 2.jpg
A street in Achrafieh, East Beirut.

Beirut Cemetery.JPG
Cemetery, East Beirut.

Claudias Achrafieh.jpg
Claudia’s, Achrafieh, East Beirut.

Corleone Gemmayze.jpg
A gangster-themed trattoria, Gemmayze, East Beirut.

Tribeca Beirut.jpg
Off Monot Street, Achrafieh, East Beirut.

De Prague.jpg
A bohemian bar named De Prague, Hamra, West Beirut.

Fishing on Corniche.jpg
Fishing off the Corniche, West Beirut.

Glass Tower Beirut.jpg
New construction, West Beirut.

Starbucks West Beirut.JPG
Lots of people I know were surprised to hear Beirut has Starbucks. (Lebanon isn’t Afghanistan, okay?) There are three Starbucks coffeeshops in Beirut. This one is on the shore of the Mediterranean in Rouche, West Beirut.

Vero Moda Hamra.jpg
My old neighborhood of Hamra, West Beirut.

Dependence 06.jpg
An AiZone advertisement riffs on the Independence 05 movement.

Holiday Inn 45 Degrees.jpg
A war-shattered Holiday Inn.

Holiday Inn from Balloon.JPG
A war-shattered Holiday Inn.

War Damage Beirut.jpg
War damage along the old Green Line. One of my neighbors in Oregon used to live near this building. His old house no longer exists. He does not know which militia destroyed it.