2,500 year-old Phoenician shipyard destroyed today in Beirut.

By Joey Ayoub

I am sad to report that a 2,500 year-old Phoenician shipyard was completely destroyed today in Mina el-Hosn, Beirut. The ministry of culture has ignored some sort of understanding between their position – a complete disregard for anything that requires the slightest intellectual effort – and that of ‘Save Beirut Heritage’ and ‘L’Association pour la protection du patrimoine libanais’ which aimed to preserve the site for obvious reasons: that a 2,500 year-old Phoenician shipyard obliterated in one day would be a sad day for Lebanon’s culture. The site is now owned by ‘Les Venus Tours’ construction company.

Al-Akhbar reports that

Giorgio Tarraf, spokesperson for the Save Beirut Heritage group, said Tuesday’s shock construction work breached an understanding that was supposedly reached with Layoun to preserve ancient stones while leaving room for development.

“They (government) were talking about some sort of mitigation approach where they move the stones and preserve them in a way that would be leave room for development. Not even that happened – today nothing is going to remain,” Tarraf told Al-Akhbar.

Pascale Ingea, president of ‘L’association pour la protection du patrimoine libanais’ or APPL was quoted in L’Orient-Le-Jour saying:

“Nothing is left. We shout scandal at those who burn tires. But the real vandals wear ties. If we had known earlier, we could have stopped this massacre.”

But nobody told them. The minister of culture, Gaby Layoun, did not announce it and ignored the voices of all those who were fighting against this barbaric scandal. He ignored the activists who were there, on the site, 5 days ago, calling for this disgraceful act to stop. He also forgot or refused to publish in the ministry’s official journal the previous minister’s decision to categorize the site as being part of Lebanon’s protected heritage. He still maintains the position that the site has no historical value whatsoever.
I stand today in utter shame. We have failed where our ancestors have not for 2,500 years. I call for the resignation of Gaby Layoun who deserves nothing less than a complete dishonorable discharge for treason against Lebanon’s culture and heritage. He has failed. And we have failed in letting this happen.

7 thoughts on “2,500 year-old Phoenician shipyard destroyed today in Beirut.

  1. A big F*** you to the government and to all of the media who did nothing (or very little) to help safeguard our cultural heritage.
    It is funny how in countries around the world a 100 years old building would be protected and labeled as historic, whereas we destroy a 2500 years old monument. By the way, stupid Lebanese Government, what you destroyed belongs to the world and not just Lebanon.
    It is not just Gaby Layon who is a failure, it is the whole government. In fact it is the whole system, and we as a nation. We do not deserve the heritage we have.
    I am just sad. I honestly cannot say more.
    F*** me for not doing something to help.

  2. This campaign to no where, and nothing but anti-development policy. Beirut at risk from earthquake and political conflicts, but it is not at risk from any kind of development helping it to recover from its past. The lack of design in this case is the problem, the reality is that if this site is really a Phoenician port, very simple protect it by allowing the construction under a condition of having the ground floor as a Phoenician museum in protection to its founding and open it to the public. Let the economy grow by creating more jobs and at the same protecting the heritage.

    1. There were some thoughts or design ideas on how to include the ruins within the new building similar to what was done in Beirut Souks. No one is against development, but it is not that everyday you stumble upon something so old.
      Beirut is a very ancient city, however, very little remains of its old past. I don’t see how preserving a small part of this heritage can block the economy. In fact, most countries around capitalize on their past to draw tourist and the like.
      The government acted lightly, and was pretty much irresponsible. If the site isn’t worth protecting like Layoun is claiming, he should have waited for more expert opinion on the matter, but instead he acted like a thug and destroyed the site when no one thought they would.

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