Have you ever wondered where the names of Ashrafieh districts come from? Let us take you on a tour of the area to fill you in.
Let’s start in Sioufi, an area with a large public garden where children can play car-free danger. Sioufi is named after the Sioufi family, who had furniture factories in Ashrafieh in the early 20th century.
Did you know the word “Ashrafieh” comes from “Ashraf”? It means “overlooking” or “nobility” in Arabic. As Ashrafieh sits on a hill, this makes sense. However, some believed the district was named after the Ottoman ruler Ashraf Pasha.
Walk North West, up to Sassine Square, follow Elias Sarkis street West, and then take a right before Sodeco square. Now you are in Monot! Famed for its fancy bars and pubs, the neighborhood was actually named after a priest: Father Monot, who founded in the street the Université Saint-Joseph in 1881. The USJ is now one of the best universities in Lebanon.
Head North, while bearing right: you’re in the swanky area of Gemmayzeh, with its beautiful old houses and numerous pubs and restaurants. One hundred years ago though, Gemmayzeh was not even inhabited. The area gets its name from a type of fig-tree: called the Gemayz, it used to grow in this specific area in abundance at that time.
Finally, a little up the hill from Gemmayzeh, is the very beautiful area of Sursock. It’s the ideal place for a Sunday stroll. It was named after the grand Sursock family, who built the magnificent Sursock Palace in 1860. Today the palace is owned by Lady Yvonne Cochrane Sursock and the great gardens are often reserved for several kinds of events.