By Majeda Hattar
Beirut, the capital of Lebanon is considered a metropolitan city in special conditions. As a city, Beirut is known for its extraordinary life style, and the ability to rise up again after suffering from many years of war.
During the civil war in Beirut, the city centre was the part to be most affected, as it was divided into two parts, and most of the fighting was happening around it. When the war was over in 1990, the city centre was more like a city of ghosts, with huge damages.
A conservation and regeneration project was taking place in the destroyed city centre of Beirut, transforming the badly affected buildings into a new fancy city centre with luxurious flats, offices, high end retail shops, open spaces and streets.
The Solidere (Beirut new city centre) has become on of the tourists destinations in Lebanon, and enriched the whole area financially also.
However, this project was based on taking the properties of these old building from their individual owners and compensated them by giving them some assets in the company owning the project.
As a result, residents and shops owners were forced to move out of the centre, leaving their homes, properties, and memories.
Since then, Beirut city centre was never the same again. It became an empty fancy luxurious city waiting for tourists in summer to visit and spend some money in there, and the real Beirut exists only in the memory of a nation that suffered for years of war for power, identity, and existence.