Ashrafieh is not only “the place where you hang out and party”. It’s not only the neighborhood where “the old meets the new”. It has so much more to offer to anyone who takes time to look at it.
We asked people in Ashrafieh to tell us what they loved about the area. All of them said that there is something special about it. Their words were passionate and sometimes moving as well.
Rita, a 33 years old resident, has been living in Ashrafieh for 10 years. She said: “I love shopping, but not in malls. That’s what I love in Ashrafieh: taking a walk around the neighborhood and shopping in the small boutiques. I follow the streets and find quaint shops with colorful modern trinkets to decorate your home, with accessories to decorate it yourself. There are small jewelry shops featuring original and unique creations. You can also find bakeries offering finely decorated treats.”
Randa, a 60 years old resident, says she loves looking at the flowers. “Check the beauty in the random: flowers blooming, fruits growing on trees… Purple bougainvillea, white gardenia and jasmine run down the walls and climb up balconies along the streets. To me, they’ve always been a mood booster. I check them every morning while taking my grand children to school”.
Sarah works in Ashrafieh every year as a volunteer at a local Summer Camp. She explains: “People don’t always realize that Ashrafieh is a very big neighborhood. You can walk around for hours, getting lost in the mix of old and new, finding hidden treasures like little shops you never saw before.”
Elia, a manager at a coffee shop near Sassine said: “What I really love about Ashrafieh? The mix of people in it. You can see every kind of person that you won’t see anywhere else in Lebanon. We know that Ashrafieh is a Christian neighborhood. But the truth is, this is a neighborhood of true coexistence. You just sit together and enjoy each other’s company. That’s Ashrafieh.”
Lara, a student at the Saint Joseph Universty, said: “People don’t notice the greeneries. But Ashrafieh is green, really. There are plenty of trees along the streets. Several parks. It’s a green neighborhood. It’s a precious thing in today’s urban world”.
Ziad, a musician, added that “Ashrafieh has the best of everything. It’s a cultural hub, you see? It reminds me of the old Beirut, but then I look around and I see a new Beirut. I love it. My neighborhood it’s an inspiration to me.”