Anyone who has ever visited Lebanon will understand what I am talking about. After 6 days spent in Lebanon, I had mixed feelings about this amazingly beautiful country. This is a land where breathtaking nature exists next to heavy traffic jam streets. Cosmopolitan buildings, art, and culture mingle with the smell of war. In one house there is a night party, fireworks while the house in a neighborhood can be in a dark due to limited electricity supply. It is a country of contradictions.
Skyscrapers vs abandoned buildings
My first “meeting” with Beirut started on the way from the airport to our hotel. We were driving by old, destroyed houses, buildings (consequences of the war) and suddenly drove in the new part of the city full of banks, offices, skyscrapers. One picture rapidly changed the other.
While checking out our hotel apartment situated in a modern designed building with a stylish interior, I went out to the balcony. Right opposite I could see an abandoned building without a roof destroyed during the war. Feelings of happiness, excitement could be replaced by sadness within a second.
In the morning of a next day, we took a walk to the downtown and visited Martyr’s square. My attention was focused on a huge mosque built next to the church. I wished people all over the world could co-exist peacefully regardless their religion just like this church and the mosque standing next to each other.
I turned around and saw a statue right in the middle of the square. It was covered by bullet holes. The statue commemorates the hanging of a cross-confessional group of Lebanese Patriots who had spoken against Turkish rule.
Rich vs Poor
Lebanon is a country, where rich lives side by side with the poor. Expensive cars drive next to the cheap taxis, luxury nightclubs are one breath away from the beggars trying to get some cash for food. You might say that this is a situation in almost every country nowadays and you will be right, but in Lebanon, contradictions are obvious to any naked eye.
6 days might be not enough for making conclusions about a country. therefore, I am definitely going back. It is hard to imagine this beautiful country without contradictions.In the next blog post, I will share with you some of the places we visited in Beirut and nearby cities.