I spent 5 weeks in Beirut, Lebanon to see family and just got back last week. The last week I was there, I went up with my cousin on the French-made Aerophile Aero30 tethered gas balloon located just north of the heart of the Beirut Central District (BCD
). My camera's sensor has a piece of dust on it which is why a black dot appears on the left side of each photo.
The balloon itself is actually capable of rising up to 300 meters, but they only take it up 150 meters as this is the ideal height to enjoy the view of the city.
Supposidly it is the largest of its kind in the world. There are several cities in the world that use it as well More info can be found here:
The balloon, registered OD-RCI:
And now the views...
The Port of Beirut. The cruiseship you can see park is the Orient Queen, owned and operated by the Lebanese cruiseship company, Abou Merhi Cruises. It operates a one week long cruise once a week in the Mediterranean.
The highrises in the distance are in the Ashrafieh district of the city.
Martyr's Square, once the thriving center of the city before the war. All the war torn buildings were demolished which is why it is quite an open space now. Eventually it will be completely built up.
The large building with the red roof is the Grand Serail which houses the Prime Minister's and his cabinet's offices.
Looking down, you can see this development, the Souks of Beirut. The first phase will be completed next year and will become one of the top shopping destinations in the country.
The Beirut Marina area. Two high-rises can be clearly seen rising. The high-rise still rising with the crane attached is the Four Seasons Hotel which is scheduled to open next year. Behind it the highrise that is nearly complete with the crown on top is the Marina Tower residential development. The Beirut Tower residential development can be seen further back. This entire area will be lined with more than 7 highrise buildings in a few years:
This is an area that is being reclaimed from the sea. For now, it is just a pile of rubble.
In 2020, this pile of rubble will look like this. I only wish 2020 wasn't so far away!
After the balloon ride, me and my cousin wondered around downtown taking photos. Here's a selection.
This is probably my favorite street in Beirut, Foch Street. It is so beautifully decorated with flowers in the median:
The Martyr's Square statue that the square is named after with the new Mohammad Al Amin mosque in the background:
The building on the left is the Virgin Megastore. My cousin and I went in as he was looking for a particular George Benson DVD which unfortunately he did not find.
Nejmeh Square with the famous clock tower (currently under renovation). A Starbucks can be seen on the left, more proof that they've invaded the world.
At night, the square is so crowded and it is difficult to find a sea in the cafes.
Here's a photo I took a few years ago at night so you can see what I mean:
The Beirut Municipality, one my favorite buildings:
Busy Weygand street:
These weren't taken by me, but I thought it was worth showing what Beirut looks like from the air:
Look out for a trip report in the Trip Reports forum within a week!
"Generosity is giving more than you can, and pride is taking less than you need." - Khalil Gibran