What we love about schools in Achrafieh

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2013-09-05

What is it like having a child going to school in Achrafieh? We asked a mother: Rita, a communication professional, mother of 2, tells all!

“Achrafieh is our neighborhood, so having our 6 year-old daughter here is absolutely great, we’re so close to everything, we can pick her up and take her home by foot! It’s possible because my husband and I work near the school. At 2 pm we take her to an afterschool program where she can have lunch and do her homework. If we could not do that, the schools offer a transportation service.”

Designers Struggling to Swim

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2013-07-30

Saifi Village might have started out as a prime center for local Lebanese designers, but now, every other store front has a “for rent” sign, and beyond the dusty windows

Local Lebanese designers in Saifi Village speak their minds on the rises and falls of business and how they cope.

“Saifi Village opened up as a center for local Lebanese designers, and although it’s a beautiful and quiet family oriented residential area, business is slow,” said Nivine Maktabi, owner of Oumnia, where she sells her carpet designs.

Less sales means less creation and less possibility for progress; especially for designers.

Ashrafieh: One of the safest places in Beirut according to its residents

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2013-07-04

A good home is often characterized with a sense of security. Residents of Ashrafieh said that they feel safe walking the streets at night, not worrying about getting robbed or witnessing sketchy business deals in a dark corner. How come? According to the locals, the people themselves are making the community safe.

Malak Abboud, a man in his sixties who have been living in Ashrafieh for decades, said that the fact that this is a homogenous area makes it safer.

“We don´t have many intruders here, the kind of people who live here hasn´t changed much over the year. This makes you now the area better and you feel safer,” Abboud said.

Georges Hobeika, a student, also pointed to the homogenous factor and said that because the area is Christian, it is more likely for less crime to occur.

Summer heat: Escaping the City

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2013-07-01

The city is heating up and the people are getting out. These last couple of days the sun has been beaming hot over Beirut. Perfect for beach weather, but not so perfect running around town and being all sweaty as the smog seems to lock the heat down, causing us all to drip with sweat. The citizens of Achrafieh are packing up for the summer, escaping to the mountains.

Komar Khoury never stays in Beirut for the summer. As a kid, his family always travelled up north and today he brings his own wife and children off to a nearby mountainside. This first weekend of May, they are making the first trip up there for the year.

“It´s like tradition. When summer comes we need a change of environment, both because it´s just too hot in Beirut but also because it´s nice to get out of the city,” he said.

Lebanese old houses: our memories in peril

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2012-11-17

While the entire world is rediscovering and highlighting its architectural heritage, the Lebanese are once again distinguishing themselves, this time by shamelessly destroying their superb traditional neighborhoods. Constantly higher and more lavish towers are replacing the ancient Lebanese houses, a symbol of our collective memory. And as property developers go greedier and politicians more careless, the beautiful old houses of the early twentieth century slowly and irreversibly disappear. “In Lebanon, peace has been more devastating than war”, comments Fadlallah Dagher, a member of APSAD (the Association for Protecting Natural Sites and Old Buildings in Lebanon) executive committee. Is it still possible to reverse the trend? And what are the possible solutions? Some answers are given below.

Lebanese Old Houses in Figures

Is Lebanese architecture ill ?...

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2012-10-05

Beyond the inherent consequences of any war and namely the controversies related to the reconstruction of Beirut, the question of how not to break the homogeneity of the urban fabric and to encourage the coexistence of the old and the new, of tradition and modernity, of architecture and landscape, is today’s main concern.

According to Richard Mitri, architect and professor at the University of Kaslik " Until the French Mandate, Beirut had a defined style resulting from the combination of European and Oriental influences. Today, Beirut has no more soul, no more place for human beings, it is dry, it is the reign of money and "speed", of mineral to the detriment of the vegetable. Craftsmen are giving way to machines, the know-how relative to each type of construction is disappearing and we are now entering the era of copying. "

Behind the screen with MC Distribution

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2012-08-29

20 days have passed since the music film week « Something Must Break » (27 July- 2 August) came to an end and we still haven’t gotten over this breathtaking journey into the lives of legendary music artists. This festival, which screened top-quality movies, was a great success. But a festival is nothing without its organizers. Let’s have a look behind the screen, where Eva Bader and Omar el Kadi will tell us more about their work at MC Distribution.

MC Distribution, based in Beirut, is a company that promotes independent cinema in Lebanon, in the rest of the Middle East and in some North-African countries. “Our task”, Omar tells us, “is to select movies, buy the copyrights and screen them in cinemas all over the region”. But movies do not appear on screen overnight and this task is far from being easy.

Spending this Summer in Achrafieh? Tips for your kids

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2012-07-07

If you have kids and are going to spend some summer time in Ashrafieh, here is a list of good suggestions for them to have a nice holiday.

The Little Engineer

Villa Sursock: a cultural identity in a place loosing its own

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2012-05-14

It has been said and complained about a lot, the towers rising in Ashrafieh, soon to throne over us like giant monoliths … Ashrafieh some might say is loosing its roots, its links to the past, and with it its identity, soon to be but an empty conformist shell. If this is to be true, for now one monument remains, a monument that captures the Lebanese architectural identity. That monument is known as Sursock palace.

Mussa Sursock built the place in the 1850s. It is now inhabited by the original owner's granddaughter Lady Yvonne Cochrane. It is the largest house in Sursock and the one that remains almost just the way it was when it was built.

The house's architecture is a mix of Lebanese and Italian.

A webpage dedicated to the building evokes east and west towers resembling some Sicilian castles from the same period. Upstairs, the main gate of wrought iron is framed by a finely Neapolitan crafted woodwork from the 17th century.

Villa Sursock: a cultural identity in a place loosing its own

-  
2012-05-14

It has been said and complained about a lot, the towers rising in Ashrafieh, soon to throne over us like giant monoliths … Ashrafieh some might say is loosing its roots, its links to the past, and with it its identity, soon to be but an empty conformist shell. If this is to be true, for now one monument remains, a monument that captures the Lebanese architectural identity. That monument is known as Sursock palace.

Mussa Sursock built the place in the 1850s. It is now inhabited by the original owner's granddaughter Lady Yvonne Cochrane. It is the largest house in Sursock and the one that remains almost just the way it was when it was built.

The house's architecture is a mix of Lebanese and Italian.

A webpage dedicated to the building evokes east and west towers resembling some Sicilian castles from the same period. Upstairs, the main gate of wrought iron is framed by a finely Neapolitan crafted woodwork from the 17th century.