Beirut activists are fighting hard to preserve two of the city’s key heritage sites and you can support them by attending a series of events they have prepared this week. The events are actually FREE (another endangered thing in Beirut) so all you have to do is show up. Scroll down for full schedule.
Following several years of pro bono organizing, lobbying, researching and fundraising, volunteer urban activists have managed to put two Beirut sites on the list of 50 endangered sites worldwide as listed by the World Monument Fund’s Heritage Watch Day. To bring public and media attention to these rare surviving spaces, they have put together an impressive schedule of art exhibitions, films, music, food, cultural, environmental and educational events around Watch Day. Follow the Heritage Watch Day Facebook page for updates.
The two endangered sites are Dalieh of Raouche peninsula, the only remaining natural headland in Beirut with a 7,000 year history; and Heneine Palace, one of the largest and only remaining buildings from the 1800s left in the city today. Both sites are threatened by private developers. Both sites are part of vanishing historic neighborhoods. Both sites tell a story-a million stories- about us, our ancestors, our city, our country, our humanity. Both sites need your support, your pictures, your social media posts, your feet on the ground, to demonstrate that these places are important, valued and popular enough that demolishing them will cause a public uproar.
A mega seafront project was planned for Dalieh, but activist multi-pronged legal, design and research efforts have helped slow that. Meanwhile Heneine Palace is located in the heart of one of the city’s oldest neighborhoods, Zokak el Blatt, which is rapidly being erased by glass towers, gentrification and real estate barons. Neither site is safe however, and activists need all the volunteers, voices, shares and feet they can get.
It all starts with an opening this Thursday at 4PM at Antwork (located on Spears road across from Future TV just before BarBar on the left) where you can pick up fliers and more info. It is followed by an exhibition at the ministry of tourism hamra exhibition space (yes activists are taking over the ministry, peacefully this time). Other events will be taking place in Mansion (take a right after Bar Bar spears and head up the street with old mansions falling apart– it’s the yellow old mansion still in one piece. )
Here’s the full schedule below the map. Tell your friends, your cousins. Bring your mother. Scroll down to the end of post for event posters and GIFs at the end. Share, share, share.
Thursday, May 18th
- Official Watch Day Launch and press conference for Dalieh and Heneine
- Dalieh Exhibition launch
6:00 pm, Glass Hall, Ministry of Tourism. The exhibition will continue until the 27th of May
The work of the winners of 2015’s Dalieh Ideas Competition “Revisiting Dalieh: Calling for Alternative Visions along Beirut’s Coast” will be displayed alongside the work of universities, students and artists engaged with the coast.
In Zokak el-Blat
- Screening of Jocelyne Saab’s movie, “A Suspended Life”
7:00pm, Orient Institut
Friday, May 19th
- Revealing of site-specific art interventions in collaboration with Temporary Art Platform. On view until Sunday May 21st.
All day, Dalieh
Thin White Line (Ieva Saudargaitė Douaihi), Dalieh’s Infinity Pool (Raymond Gemayel), The Flag (Omar Fakhoury), 4’50 (Omar Fakhoury) Partially Occupy Darkness (Ghassan Maasri), The Invisible Soundtrack (Nadim Mishlawi), On the Same Wavelength (Pascal Hachem and Rana Haddad), Washzone (Mustapha Jundi), Kunsthalle 3000 (Thomas Geiger).
In Zokak el-Blat
- Exhibition launch: Zokak el-Blat Experiments – Heneine Palace and Other Possibilities
Mansion, 9:00am to 9:00pm daily, until the 21st of May – Launch at 7:00pm
Includes a virtual tour of the Heneine Palace – Models produced by school students during heritage workshops – Architecture projects produced by university students from USEK – Screening of film “Mapping Place Narratives: Beyhum Street” – Heritage situation overview by Save Beirut Heritage
Saturday, May 20th
In Zokak el-Blat
Celebrating Heritage: Heneine Palace and Zokak el-Blat (12:00pm – 8:00pm)
- Souk el-Tayeb in Zokak el-Blat
12:00am to 7:00pm, Hussein Beyhum Street
- Guided Tours of Zokak el-Blat
First departure at 3:00pm, last departure at 6:00pm.
A tour takes around 1:30
Meeting points: Grand Sérail, Al-Hout Mosque, National Evangelical Church
A fewer number of tours could be provided on Sunday 21st
- Readings, organized by the International Writers’ House in Beirut
6:30pm to 8:00pm, Mansion
Readings by Fadi Tofeili and Mounzer Baalbaki, followed by a debate
- Exhibition: Zokak el-Blat Experiments – Heneine Palace and Other Possibilities
Mansion, 9:00am to 7:30pm, until the 21st of May
- Candle-lit night vigil from Ramlet El Baida to Dalieh
Meeting point at 6:30pm in front of the ‘Eden Rock’ project in Ramlet Baida
- Open Air Film Screening of “Children of Beirut” by Sarah Srage
Sunday, May 21st
Dalieh Festival (11:00am – 8:00pm)
- Site-specific Interventions / Music and dance performances / Food Market by Souk el-Tayeb
- Boat Tours with Dalieh’s Fishermen
Every hour and a half, First departure at 11:00am., last departure at 5:00pm., from Dalieh’s port. Reservations and name registration on the day at the Dalieh info booth
- On site Tours by members of the Dalieh Campaign
Every two hours, First tour at 11:00 am, last tour at 5:00pm
Meeting point and registration on the day at the Dalieh info booth
- Speakers Corner
12:00 am / 2:00pm / 4:00pm
In several locations on Dalieh
- Music & Spoken Words
With Ziad Itani, Jebebara, Zeid Hamdan, Tarek Bashasha & Zakaria Al Omar, Saseen Kawzally, Michelle and Noel, and many others
In Zokak el-Blat
- Literary tour, organized by the International Writers’ House in Beirut
10:30am to 12:30pm, in Zokak el-Blat, meeting point at the Bachoura Cemetery
A walk of the neighborhood during which Fadi Tofeili will comment, from passages of his books, the places that he mentions in his writings.
- Guided Tours of Zokak el-Blat (To be confirmed)
First departure at 3:00pm. A tour takes around 1h30
To be confirmed – Number of tours to be determined according to attendance
Feel free to share. Hashtags are #WatchDalieh #WatchHeneine
Use of Dalieh is believed to date back to the copper age (5,000BCE) and the site is also reportedly mentioned in ancient Greek myths.