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Horsh Beirut: a contemporary secret garden

You can see its green shadows from Sama Beirut’s highest stories: Horsh Beirut is an enchanted forest that invites whoever is in love with the city to unfold the pages of History and breathe pine perfume and secret fragrances…

“Horsh Al-Sanawbar” is a mix of old Beirut’s glory and its contemporary secret gardens. Inaugurated by the President of the French region Ile-de-France, the Pine Woods reflects Beirut’s glorious past and remains its biggest park to date.

Every fairytale has a beginning…

It was Emir Fakhreddin II Maan who planned and executed the making of the Pine Woods. Later on, during the 1840s, Ottoman rulers proclaimed it as a legal public entity. In 1878, it became a municipal property. In 1960, Prime Minister Sami Al-Solh acknowledged it a “Public Park.” Large parts became a Casino in 1915, and a horse race-course in 1921.

Whoever lived at this period of time still remembers when horses competed, carrying people’s ambition, bringing out enthusiasm in each and every person. From children to grownups, each person who attended was screaming the name of a horse… as if this very same horse was the only escape throughout all obstacles, a determined will to win over the past injuries, an endless longing for freedom, and belonging to a sanctified land, Beirut.

Horsh Beirut became also a place for cemeteries, progressively in 1958 and in 1970. It wasn’t until 1950 that 3 new roads were planned and bounded the park. The park was redesigned in the 1990s, offering a wider, yet more distributed space to the public. The first Horsh Beirut festival, held in 2011, lasted three months. The park still hosts nowadays notorious events, among which, ‘The Horsh Beirut Festival,’ and ‘The Garden Show.’

Standing still…

Winning over decades of war, the Pine Woods reveals the very heart of Beirut and touches its visitors’ souls. There, birds breathe and children sing. There, time stands still and life smiles back at whoever dares to believe. An oasis in the Middle East, Horsh Beirut is a song for nature, an ode to Lebanon’s nature, a scream for authenticity. It holds a sacred corner in the hearts of Lebanese citizens, and is a reconnection with the core of Lebanese History.